Carson Wentz's 1st NFL road test will be unlike anything he's experienced

Carson Wentz's 1st NFL road test will be unlike anything he's experienced

Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz wasn't nervous about making his NFL debut, so why should Monday Night Football in Chicago be any different?

After all, the rookie signal-caller played in his share of big road games while at North Dakota State. There's Northern Iowa, Montana, oh, and don't forget South Dakota State. So which was the toughest?

"Probably the University of Montana," Wentz said. "Out there is a pretty cool environment, pretty loud atmosphere."

Washington-Grizzly Stadium, home to the University of Montana with its capacity for 25,217 spectators, is downright quaint compared to the 61,500 hostiles who will pack Soldier Field when the Bears host the Eagles. Wentz realizes it's not the same, but is there anything in his entire football background that can truly prepare him for this?

"Obviously it will be a little different," Wentz said. "I'm not naive to think that, but we'll be ready for it."

And how exactly does one go from Montana to preparing to play in front of one of the great die-hard fanbases in the NFL, an intense, passionate crowd that is sure to make the 24-year-old Wentz feel unwelcome?

"We expect it to be a loud environment," Wentz said. "We're going to have to work on a silent snap count and some different things, and it's going to be Monday Night Football. Everybody is going to be pretty hyped and ready to go, so we've just gotta focus in and we'll be ready."

All questions about Wentz's preparedness aside, if there's one thing he showed in the Eagles' Week 1 victory over the Browns, it's that he truly isn't afraid of the big stage. That much was apparent right away when he led a nine-play, 75-yard scoring drive capped off by a 19-yard touchdown to Jordan Matthews on his very first series in the NFL. 

Clearly nerves weren't an issue then, granted Monday night could be a little different. 

"Without a doubt, there's going to be a lot of excitement for me and for a lot of these guys playing prime time football," Wentz said. "When you grew up as a kid, you watched Monday Night Football all the time, so without a doubt it will be exciting.

"I find every game exciting. I don't take them for granted, so I'll be sure to have some fun out there."

Nothing seems to rattle this kid.

Wentz had the top selling jersey in the NFL this week. Even President Barack Obama is talking about jumping on the "Wentz Wagon." Oh, and the Eagles won this past Sunday, so there's that.

All of it figures to serve as one big confidence boost. Yet naturally, there is only one aspect of that which provided Wentz with any real assurance.

"I think the win does," Wentz said. "That other stuff is all kind of cool and it's all exciting, but at the end of the day, you kind of isolate yourself and block it out. But the win, I think getting that first start out of the way, getting the first win out of the way definitely helps my confidence going forward."

Despite the praise and attention his debut has drawn, Wentz sounds like he's managing to keep everything in perspective.

"It goes back to how I've kind of approached this all the way back since the draft process," Wentz said. "You just have to block out the noise — the good, the bad, whatever it may be — and just focus on ball, and just focus on getting better every week.

Can Wentz honestly be as cool as his attitude and performance on the field this past Sunday suggest? There go the questions again.

Wentz passed his first test with flying colors, but it was only one of 16 for this year. The Bears present a whole different challenge from the Browns, and the success he achieved last week won't dictate how he fares on Monday at Soldier Field.

And it might be important to remember the outcome when Wentz visited Montana.

"We lost," Wentz said. "We didn't lose many, but we lost that one."

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Eagle Eye podcast: Another injury the Eagles couldn’t afford

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Eagle Eye podcast: Another injury the Eagles couldn’t afford

On the latest Eagle Eye podcast presented by Nissan, Reuben Frank and Dave Zangaro are joined by Ray Didinger to look at the loss of Tim Jernigan and other takeaways from the loss to the Falcons. 

Why hasn’t Miles Sanders started faster? Was that really Jim Schwartz blitzing that much? 

And Roob and Dave’s bold predictions aren’t looking great so far. 

• Tim Jernigan reportedly has a broken foot
• Other injured players leave questions
• Miles Sanders is looking like a rookie
• What made Jim Schwartz blitz so much? 
• Isaac Seumalo struggles big-time vs. Atlanta 
• An early look-ahead to the Lions 

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Eagles' Tim Jernigan reportedly broke his foot vs. Falcons

Eagles' Tim Jernigan reportedly broke his foot vs. Falcons

Updated 2:30 p.m.

Tim Jernigan has a small crack in his foot, confirmed by NBC Philadelphia's John Clark. While he does not require surgery, he is expected to miss about a month.

Jernigan played only 26 snaps before leaving the Eagles-Falcons game in Atlanta.

It’s the latest blow to the talented but oft-injured 26-year-old defensive tackle, who has played only seven games since the Super Bowl.

Jernigan is the second defensive tackle the Eagles have lost in two weeks, and a position of tremendous depth is now dangerously thin. Malik Jackson, who signed a three-year, $30 million contract, and was starting opposite Fletcher Cox, is out for the year, also with a foot injury. He went on Injured Reserve after the Redskins game.

The Eagles cut ties with Jernigan after last season by declining the option in his contract and then brought him back at a bargain-basement price of $1.25 million in an incentive-laden deal. Jernigan was originally scheduled to make $11 million this year, $12 million the next two years.

Jernigan missed most of the 2018 season with a mysterious back injury that he suffered during the offseason that neither he nor the team has explained.

Jernigan had one of the Eagles’ two sacks so far this year, against the Redskins.

With Jernigan and Jackson both out, the Eagles currently have just Fletcher Cox, who is playing but still working back from a foot injury from the Saints playoff game, and Hassan Ridgeway at defensive tackle, along with Akeem Spence, who just joined the team last week and played 21 snaps against the Falcons.

Bruce Hector, who played in eight games last year, is on the practice squad. Hector played 82 snaps on defense a year ago. He joined the Eagles last year as an undrafted free agent, was traded to the Cards for safety Rudy Ford last month, then signed to the Eagles’ practice squad on Sept. 1 after the Cards released him. Ford remains on the Eagles’ 53-man roster.

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