Eagles

Doug Pederson continues to assure Carson Wentz he's The Man for Eagles moving forward

Doug Pederson continues to assure Carson Wentz he's The Man for Eagles moving forward

Doug Pederson said he’s continued to meet with Carson Wentz to assure him he’s the Eagles’ quarterback when healthy, no matter what happens in the meantime.

Wentz, who went 5-6 in 11 starts before being sidelined indefinitely by a fracture in his back, watched as Nick Foles replaced him last year and led the Eagles to a Super Bowl championship and was on the sideline again Sunday night in Los Angeles as Foles led the Eagles to an upset win over the Rams.

Foles will make his fourth start of the year Sunday afternoon at the Linc against the Texans.

Pederson has made it clear publicly that Wentz remains the Eagles’ quarterback when healthy, but he said it’s important that he continues to make that clear to Wentz:

I think No. 1, I can stand here and say that Carson is our quarterback. He’s our quarterback of the future. That’s why we drafted him. That’s also why we have Nick here as a backup, as a veteran player, I don’t want to say to bail us out, but to come in and execute the offense, and I think we just continue to re-confirm that with Carson and let him know that and continue to say, ‘Hey listen, you’re going to be here for a long time and have a long career,’ and we just have to commit to that and communicate that to him and let that kind of sink in.

Wentz’s status beyond Sunday is unknown. He remains on the 53-man roster but was inactive for the win over the Rams and is expected to be inactive Sunday.

The Eagles haven’t made Wentz available to reporters covering the team since immediately after the Cowboys game.

Pederson indicated Friday that Wentz wants to play.

“Does he want to play through it? I would say this — and not speaking for Carson, I don’t want to put words in his mouth — but I think as an athlete who has an injury this time of year, if it’s not going to set them back, then yeah, I would say that everybody wants to play through injury,” he said.

“You see it around the league, not just with Carson, Avonte Maddox, Jordan Hicks, I think these guys have enough pride and want-to to try, but we’ve got to make sure they’re 100 percent. That’s kind of been our philosophy around here.”

This is a tricky situation.

The Eagles are 21-5 since 2013 when Foles starts and plays more than a quarter. The combination of his success and Wentz lacking some of the consistency of last year as he comes off his ACL injury has turned a segment of the fan base against Wentz.

So Pederson has to juggle two quarterbacks, one who was the second pick of the 2016 draft and played at an MVP level last year and the other who was the Super Bowl MVP.

But Pederson said this is really simple.

When the doctors say Wentz is ready, Wentz will play.

“Listen, it kind of goes back to the beginning of the year,” he said. “We’re going to trust the medical staff. It’s one of those deals, and you’ve got to make sure there won’t be any setbacks when you put him back out there.”

But Pederson acknowledged that it can be tough to keep Wentz on the bench when he wants to be out there.

“It can be,” he said. “But, listen: As long as we communicate and we’re up front and honest with him and have tough conversations — which we’ve had, not just me and him but the doctors and the medical staff — and he understands, I think we’re OK.”

What if Foles leads the Eagles back into the playoffs? What if Wentz replaces Foles going into the postseason and the Eagles lose? What if Foles gets the Eagles to the NFC Championship Game? Do you still change QBs?

Pederson is facing a complex issue. But one thing is certain: Having two quarterbacks capable of greatness is a much better dilemma than having none.

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Eagles 2019 training camp battles: Are Eagles deep enough at DE?

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Eagles 2019 training camp battles: Are Eagles deep enough at DE?

As we near the start of the Eagles’ 2019 training camp, we’re taking a closer look at some key position battles to watch this summer. We already looked at cornerback, running back and linebacker.            

Up today: Defensive end 

Names to know 

Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett, Vinny Curry, Josh Sweat, Shareef Miller, Daeshon Hall, Joe Ostman 

What to watch 

While the Eagles have much more depth at defensive tackle heading into the 2019 season, there’s some reason to worry about their depth at defensive end. Last year, they began the season with the same starters but had Michael Bennett and Chris Long as rotational players. This year, they’re not that deep. 

The starters are the same this season: Brandon Graham and Derek Barnett. Even though he’s over 30 now, we all know what kind of player Graham has been and will be in 2019. He was hobbled by a lingering ankle injury early last season but was back to himself later. Barnett got off to a quick start in 2018, but then hurt his shoulder and eventually needed surgery. He wasn’t a full participant in OTAs this spring, but should be ready for the start of the season. Those two are set and should be pretty good. 

After the starters? That’s where some questions start to form. Curry is back on a much cheaper deal than the one he made it through just one year of in Tampa Bay. Curry is a solid player but he’s 31 now and since he had 9 sacks in 2014, he hasn’t gone over 3 1/2 in the four years since. In an injury-shortened season in Tampa Bay, he had 2 1/2 sacks in 2018. And now, he’s the Eagles’ top rotational end. 

But at least Curry has proven to be an adequate player in the NFL. Sweat, Miller, Hall and Ostman haven’t proven much in their short careers. Sweat certainly looks the part and will get a chance to be a part of the rotation, but last year’s fourth-rounder played just 68 snaps last season. Miller was the last pick of the fourth round this year, so it would be unfair to have immediately high expectations of him. Hall was a third-round pick in 2017, but didn’t last in Carolina and has struggled to find a home in the NFL. Ostman is a hard-worker whom the Eagles love, but is he really the answer? 

Perhaps the Eagles bring in a veteran — Connor Barwin would like to come back — to fill out the rotation, but if they don’t, we’ll need to watch Sweat, Miller, Hall and Ostman closely this summer. One or two of them will likely make the roster and then fight for playing time. Because Malik Jackson will probably stay on the field for third downs, the depth at defensive end isn’t as important, but the Eagles are one injury away from one of those guys playing a significant role in 2019. 

Prediction 

Graham and Barnett start and Curry is the first guy off the bench. Sweat will be the team’s fourth option, but will have to earn playing time. I don’t think Miller is ready to be a significant contributor as a rookie. Keep an eye on Hall, who is a dark horse candidate to make the team.

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Eagle Eye podcast: Wentz out of the shadow; Peters back to dominating?

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Eagle Eye podcast: Wentz out of the shadow; Peters back to dominating?

On this edition of Eagle Eye, Reuben Frank and Dave Zangaro are getting ready for training camp. 

The guys break down a few things Doug Pederson said before the team broke for summer, take a look at position battles and list former Eagles who squandered their talent. 

Also, wishing Chris Maragos the best as he retires. 

2:00 - Getting ready for training camp 
8:00 - Doug Pederson on Carson Wentz 
12:00 - Can Jason Peters be dominant again? 
19:00 - Position battle: CB 
24:00 - Position battle: RB
28:00 - Position battle: LB
32:00 - Position battle: DE
35:00 - Position battle: WR
40:00 - Eagles who squandered talent 
51:00 - Chris Maragos retires 

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