Doug Pederson will know this Friday who his starting quarterback for the season opener against Atlanta will be.
Just don’t expect him to announce it.
Pederson, at his press conference Tuesday morning, admitted he’ll know on Friday whether it’ll be Carson Wentz or Nick Foles playing in Week 1 against the Falcons on Sept. 6.
As for the rest of us?
“Deadline? 90 minutes before kickoff,” Pederson said.
That, of course, is when the Eagles will have to announce their inactive players and starter changes before the game against the Falcons. It’s hard to imagine no one will find out until then.
The Falcons’ not knowing which quarterback they’re going to face, is a clear advantage for the Eagles. It’s an advantage the Eagles and Pederson aren’t going to give away freely until they absolutely have to.
The Friday date makes sense because Pederson will need to go forward with a game plan for Week 1 when practice begins on Sunday. This week, Foles and Wentz have evenly split first-team reps with the starting offense. That’s fine for now, but in a real game prep week, the starting quarterback needs to get those valuable first-team reps in practice.
Pederson admitted as much.
“Obviously, when you get into the regular season and start game-planning, you want whoever that gentleman is going to be to take the full complement of reps,” he said.
As Wentz recovers from his torn ACL and LCL, the last hurdle for him to get over is to be cleared for contact. If the doctors don’t clear him, he won’t play. And then the Super Bowl MVP starts the season.
But all signs have been positive recently for Wentz. After a long layoff from doing 11-on-11s, Wentz returned to full-team drills last week and has resumed them this week.
Pederson was asked if he noticed the difference in Wentz from early in training camp in full-team drills and now.
“His arm, I made a comment that his arm was live and throwing some really nice throws and strong,” Pederson said. “And when he came back into the 11-on-11, one of the noticeable changes or differences, was just his lower-body strength and how well he’s progressed through his rehab and conditioning.
“Those are things … I would say he’s physically stronger than, say, Nick (Foles) or Joe (Callahan) or even Christian (Hackenberg) because those guys have been practicing and getting all the time. I think it’s realistic to say he’s probably a little more conditioned at this point in camp than the other guys.”
It seems like Wentz is on a good path to be ready for the opener.
But Pederson won’t know until Friday. The rest of the world, if things go the way the head coach wants, won’t know until the day of the game.