ORLANDO, Fla. — Doug Pederson wouldn’t give a timeline for Carson Wentz’s recovery but said he’s “very encouraged” by the progress Wentz has made.
As Pederson spoke to reporters at the NFL league meetings on Tuesday morning, it had been three months and 17 days since Wentz suffered a torn ACL and LCL against the Rams at the LA Coliseum. But who’s counting?
“He’s working extremely hard, obviously, trying to get himself ready to go,” Pederson said. “But really no timetable. I’m not going to push him out there if he’s not ready.”
Pederson said he’s encouraged by Wentz’s progress based on what he’s seen firsthand and what he’s heard from those around the 25-year-old franchise quarterback. Wentz has been at the NovaCare Complex every day, in the weight room, in the pool, as he works to get back on the field after his possible MVP season was cut short in 2017.
It’s unlikely Wentz will be ready to do any individual work in practice when OTAs begin this spring. That means Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles will take first-team reps, while Nate Sudfeld will get the rest, much like how the Eagles operated down the stretch of the 2017 regular season.
While there was plenty of trade speculation swirling around Foles this offseason — Howie Roseman explained the high price-tag (see story) — Pederson is “ecstatic” to have Foles back and is happy the quarterback room is still intact.
At some point, though, Wentz is going to return to his spot as the Eagles’ starter. And that will mean the Super Bowl MVP is going to trade in his starting gig to hold a clipboard again.
Is Foles going to be OK with that?
“I think so,” Pederson said. “That’s obviously probably a Nick question, but I just kind of know Nick and his mentality and I think he’s fine with that. He understands it’s Carson’s team. He knew that last year, but he did embrace his role and did it superbly. Moving forward, I think he’s going to be OK.”
Even as Foles led the Eagles to their first Super Bowl win in franchise history, the team did everything in its power to make it clear there was no quarterback controversy. Even in the team photo during Super Bowl week, the entire roster was ordered numerically except for Wentz, who was positioned in the direct center.
When Wentz finally returns, perhaps during training camp, Pederson said it will be a slow process to ease him back into action. Pederson said he doesn’t need Wentz to play in the preseason and he doesn’t think Wentz will need it either. It’s all about getting him ready for Week 1.
There’s a good chance that even when Wentz does return, he won’t be the same player at first. When asked how tough he thinks it’ll be for Wentz to learn how to play without all of his mobility, Pederson said he didn’t know.
For now, though, the head coach is happy about his the progress of his franchise quarterback. He just doesn’t want to rush it.
“You guys know Carson, you know his demeanor, you know his mentality, he’s aggressive, he’s going to want to push the envelope a little bit,” Pederson said. “We’re going to be smart with it. I like where he’s at, but again, not going to push him.”