Eagles

Doug Pederson discusses plan for Carson Wentz, young QBs in preseason

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USA Today Images/Bill Streicher

Doug Pederson discusses plan for Carson Wentz, young QBs in preseason

There’s a good chance Carson Wentz won’t play in the Eagles’ first preseason game, and he doesn’t seem all that broken up about it.

Eagles head coach Doug Pederson wouldn’t say after practice Tuesday whether Wentz will play, but everything points to Wentz sitting Thursday night against the Titans at the Linc.

If he does play it will be brief.

"Preseason’s helpful, but I don’t think it’s a necessity,” Wentz said after practice. “No matter how much I’m out there I’ll be confident in Week 1. … I think a little bit is helpful. But it’s definitely never needed.”

Wentz didn’t play in the preseason last year as he rehabbed from knee surgery, but Pederson didn’t have opening-day starter Nick Foles play in last year’s preseason opener. Wentz played one drive in the 2017 opener. Sam Bradford was still the starter when the 2016 preseason started, and he played three snaps in the 2016 preseason opener.

“It’s his decision,” Wentz said. “I’ll be ready either way. Whenever it is we get out there I’ll be ready and I’m excited for it.”

Wentz hasn’t played since the overtime loss in Dallas on Dec. 9. 

Nate Sudfeld is now the Eagles’ No. 2 with Foles in Jacksonville, and the Eagles have two new quarterbacks in rookie Clayton Thorson and fourth-year veteran Cody Kessler.

Pederson said there are positives to playing Wentz and positives to not playing him.

Obviously, (the reason) for (playing him) is it’s been a while since he’s been on the field and want to get him that feel of being back on the grass again in a competitive live situation,” he said. “And then obviously the reason for holding him is (to) still evaluate Nate and some of the other quarterbacks with Cody and Clayton, so those are the things we’re working through.

Pederson said he wants to get a long look at Sudfeld, who's in his fourth season but only thrown 25 regular-season passes, none of them in a game that meant anything.

Sudfeld doesn’t have the No. 2 job locked up, but it would take a combination of an exceptional preseason performance by Kessler and a disappointing one by Sudfeld for them to switch places.

Since Wentz will almost certainly play in the second preseason game next Thursday in Jacksonville against the Jaguars and on Aug. 22 at the Linc against the Ravens, this Thursday would seem to be a great opportunity to start Sudfeld and get him a significant number of reps, perhaps against at least some of the Titans’ first teamers.

The goal would be to get him as much time as we can under center in these four games, and I don’t want him to feel there’s any kind of pressure, but there is pressure to perform and just play," Pederson said. "He is very comfortable with the offense. … I want to see him just manage the team, manage the offense, execute the offense, get us in the end zone, and do the things he’s capable of doing, and that there shows what he can possibly do in the regular season.

No matter what else Pederson decides to do, Thorson will probably get the fourth quarter.

The rookie fifth-round pick from Northwestern has bounced back a bit the past few days after a shaky first week. Which is to be expected.

“It’s a slow progression with young quarterbacks and really young players in general, but he’s getting real comfortable with what we’re doing,” Pederson said. “You have to remember that every time he steps out here it’s a little bit of a new day with what we’re throwing at him situationally and he’s handled it really well, and we want him to carry it over into the game.”



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What the Dak Prescott drama means for the Eagles

What the Dak Prescott drama means for the Eagles

The Cowboys just can't help themselves.

They bungle everything.

It’s comical, really. 

The Cowboys had the entire offseason to work out a long-term deal with their franchise quarterback. They reportedly didn’t make a single offer from late March until a few hours before Wednesday’s deadline and then they scrambled in the closing minutes to try to work something out before running out of time.

The NFL Network’s Jane Slater reported just after the 4 p.m. EST deadline for tagged players to get long-term deals that the Cowboys’ last-minute offer — after months of inactivity — included $70 million over the first two years of the deal, with $50 million guaranteed. Slater reported that Dak “wanted to get the deal done but it was just too late.”

Oops.

Either you want the guy or you don’t.

Seems like the Cowboys had no idea what they wanted. Had no idea whether they wanted to commit long-term to Prescott or not.

Now the Cowboys are stuck in a position where Prescott is going to play on a $31 million one-year tag, which isn’t ideal for a couple reasons. 

That $31 million counts entirely against this year’s salary cap, because one-year deals don’t pro-rate . When you sign a player to a long-term deal, you spread the signing bonus up to five years, and you control what years have the biggest cap hits. 

Also, it means the Cowboys are going to have to revisit this again in a year. Prescott has all the leverage because the tag is expected to go up to about $38 million next year and after that the Cowboys can’t tag him anymore. 

On one level, it means the Cowboys are in danger of losing Prescott in a year or being forced to pay him $69 million over the next two years without anything pro-rating and then losing him. 

This isn’t the time to be thinking about finding a quarterback, not with the college football season being curtailed and in jeopardy of being cancelled. If Dak leaves in a year, the Cowboys will either have to scrounge up a free agent or draft a quarterback who may not have played a snap in almost two years.

But really the big picture is what really makes the Cowboys look bad here.

The most important thing for any football team is finding a young, elite franchise quarterback, and the next-most important thing is keeping him.

Because they’re really hard to find.

You would think a team that’s used Brandon Weeden, Anthony Wright, Chad Hutchinson, Kellen Moore, Stephen McGee, Vinny Testaverde, Quincy Carter and Ryan freaking Leaf as starting QBs over the last 20 years might realize it’s kind of an pretty important position

Say what you want about Prescott, he’s 40-24 as the Cowboys’ QB with the 7th-highest passer rating in NFL history, and the Cowboys really can’t afford him.

Compare all this to the Eagles, who seamlessly got Carson Wentz signed to a long-term deal a year ago that’s fair to both sides with no hard feelings, no stress, no ill will on either side.

Kind of gives you a good idea why the Cowboys have won three playoff games since 1997.

All of this is good news for the Eagles, since their only real competition in the NFC East now faces a year of distraction and a year of unknown involving its quarterback. 

And that’s the last thing any team needs.

The Cowboys mishandled one of the most critical decisions facing any football team.

Bad look for the Cowboys. Bad day for the Cowboys.

Good day for the Eagles.

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Dak Prescott's brother is really mad the Cowboys didn't lock their QB up

Dak Prescott's brother is really mad the Cowboys didn't lock their QB up

Wednesday's deadline for the Cowboys and Dak Prescott to reach an agreement on a long-term deal came and went, and now Prescott will head into free agency again after the 2020 season.

It's a fascinating development, especially after it seems Prescott himself tried to expedite the negotiations at the last minute and find common ground:

Ultimately, Prescott will play out 2020 on the franchise tag.

And it seems his brother Tad is none too happy about this fact.

Tad Prescott took to his personal Twitter account on Wednesday afternoon, just after the deadline, and shared his frustrations with the Cowboys organization in a very spicy tweet:

Yeesh. Not exactly the kind of atmosphere you want around your franchise quarterback, eh, Dallas?

The Cowboys' front office swore up and down, all offseason, that a deal was going to get done, and that the team is committed long-term to Prescott. But talk is cheap in the NFL, and when you really value a player, you make it clear with dollar signs. You know, like the Chiefs did with Patrick Mahomes this offseason.

Prescott had the best season of his career, statistically, in 2019, throwing 30 touchdowns to 11 interceptions, completing 65.1% of his passes, and averaging 8.2 yards per attempt. It was a great season.

But, for whatever reason, it wasn't enough to force Dallas's hand at the negotiation table. Very interesting.

Meanwhile, here in Philadelphia, Carson Wentz is locked up on a relatively team-friendly deal - the 17th-highest cap hit among quarterbacks in 2020 - through 2024.

You've just got to love what Jerry Jones is building down there in Dallas.

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