The Carson Wentz era is underway.
Wentz, the No. 2 overall pick in the spring, will start the season opener on Sunday, according to head coach Doug Pederson.
This news comes days after the team traded away incumbent starter Sam Bradford to the Vikings on Saturday.
“Obviously we made this decision and I spent over the weekend with my offensive staff, with Frank (Reich) with (John) DeFilippo and really the whole staff,” Pederson said.
“And everybody feels this kid is ready to go. We drafted him to take the reigns and it’s something now that we’re prepared to do and looking forward to Cleveland.”
Wentz is completely healthy after suffering broken ribs and worked with the first team in practice on Monday. It was the first time Wentz has taken first-team reps since joining the Eagles, but Pederson said he’s worked with all the receivers and has taken snaps from starting center Jason Kelce.
Because of the injury, Wentz played in just one preseason game -- the opener -- this summer. Wentz was on the field for 39 snaps against the Bucs. He completed 12 of 24 passing attempts for 89 yards and an interception. He also ran three times for 15 yards.
The limited action doesn’t worry Pederson.
“The fact that I had a chance to go watch him and work him out in the spring, meet the kid, a mature individual,” Pederson said. “What he did in all OTAs, what he’s done around this building, the plays he’s made in practice, in the one preseason game, has given me confidence that he can lead this football team. And I’m excited. I’m thrilled that this is an opportunity for him, it’s an opportunity for our organization and our team. We’re going full-steam ahead. I feel fully confident that we’ll be able to get the job done.”
The head coach said the ideal situation would probably be to have Wentz sit for a while, but he thinks this team has the right pieces in place to help Wentz be successful. Pederson said the other players in the locker room are excited for Wentz and were OK with the move.
Despite the obvious notion that Wentz being the starter instead of Bradford might hurt the team in the short-term, Pederson said the expectations for the season don’t change – “not at all,” he said. In fact, Pederson said he challenged the team on Monday morning.
Chase Daniel, who had been the backup is disappointed that Wentz leapfrogged him, but Pederson understands. And the head coach then called Daniel the “ultimate team guy.” Daniel will remain the backup as the team has just two quarterbacks on the roster.
What has Wentz done to impress de facto general manager Howie Roseman, at least enough to pull off a blockbuster on Saturday?
"It starts with his attention to detail; the way he goes about his business," Roseman said. "But at the same time, we rely on the people who are around him all the time. That starts with our head coach and it goes to our offensive coordinator and our quarterbacks coach. They’re in the meeting rooms; they’re with him on the field when our other quarterbacks are playing; they’re in his ear when he’s practicing; they go through the thought process with him; and they’ve been around some great ones.
"We’re fortunate to have those guys, along with our entire coaching staff, and we rely on what they’re hearing and seeing as well. But certainly our interaction with him and our discussions with him, he’s come a long way, even since we got him in April."
The Carson Wentz era is underway.