"This is a long process. We're right here at the end of April right now. We get a chance to work with him a little more coming up in the next couple of weeks and try to get him caught up."
Those were Doug Pederson’s words as he stood at the podium in the auditorium of the NovaCare Complex on Thursday and explained how he and the Eagles’ coaching staff will handle getting Carson Wentz up to speed in his offense.
That specific answer caught my ear — the way it was phrased, the way it was framed, and what it implied.
"We’re right here at the end of April right now. We get a chance to work with him a little more coming up in the next couple of weeks."
This was a man speaking not in terms of years, but in terms of months. In terms of weeks. In terms of a linear plan, stretching from April to September.
Call me crazy. Yell at me on Twitter dot com. Save this link for August, when the depth chart slots Wentz as the No. 3 quarterback, and then tweet it at me.
For some reason, I have a feeling Carson Wentz is going to be the Eagles’ starting quarterback when they face the Cleveland Browns in Week 1.
On Thursday, the mood around the Sam Bradford conflict spoke the loudest to me. Pederson and Roseman, for their deflections and overtures of "open arms," did nothing to convince me they truly want Bradford as their guy.
"[Bradford’s] the quarterback," the head coach said at one point. "I’ve said all along, he’s the quarterback."
But not there minutes earlier, Pederson said there’s going to be "competition in the [quarterback room], which is great, which I’ve said all along."
So, which one is it? It seems Pederson is selling two visions of what this offseason is going to look like, and they're not mutually exclusive. Right now, Sam Bradford is the Eagles’ quarterback. As of April 29, he is "their guy." But it also sounds like the team expects a competition to be part of this process, and a true competition doesn't begin with a determined ending.
For his part, the North Dakota boy is handling walking into a quarterback controversy as well as he can.
"I'm not really sure how it'll transpire," Wentz said Thursday evening, when asked what he thinks will happen with him and Bradford this offseason. "I've been an Eagle now for about an hour, so we'll kind of see how that transpires. But it's out of my control. I'm not going to worry about it, and it'll all work out."
Wentz was pressed on how he thinks he’ll handle meeting Bradford for the first time, and didn't sound too intimidated.
"Professionally," he said, without hesitation. "I think we're both professionals now, and it'll just be -- it'll be what it is. I won't make it bigger than it needs to be. I'm just going to go in there and focus on what I can control and learning as much ball as quickly as I can."
We’ll meet him in person this afternoon, where it will be easier to take his temperature and read his emotions. But the way Wentz spoke Thursday night, it didn’t sound like he was terribly concerned with Sam Bradford.
I find it hard to believe that when training camp is rolling full-swing, if Wentz is throwing the ball just as well as Bradford, Pederson and the Eagles will feel any reason to give Bradford the job over their quarterback of the future.
We understand who Bradford is. Wentz is still an unknown commodity. If he’s the one, you’d like to start him and let him develop, akin to the Jaguars and Blake Bortles. And if he’s a bust, it’s better to know by the end of 2017 instead of the end of 2018.
If the quarterback room competition is even remotely close as preseason games approach, Wentz should be the guy. From where I stand, it doesn’t sound like the idea is too foreign to the men making the decisions.