Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz spoke to the media on Tuesday ahead of the team’s first OTA of the year. Dressed in his red no-contact jersey, and his knee brace hidden by the podium, it was easy to forget that his participation in this year’s spring workouts will be severely limited.
To open his session with reporters, Wentz was asked if he was getting antsy to get back onto the field, “I’m always antsy this time of year, honestly. Just to get back to all the guys.”
While he still isn’t cleared to participate in practice, the quarterback noted that he’ll still be in the mix, helping his teammates along the way. “I’ll be involved in a handful of things,” Wentz explained. “I’ll be involved when I can.”
He was asked if he feels an extra need to be involved and to show leadership despite his injury given his role as the team’s starting quarterback. It should come as no surprise that Wentz’s desire to help his fellow QBs and the offense as a whole goes beyond a feeling of obligation. He -- along with the other guys he’s rehabbed with this offseason — is chomping at the bit to get back on the field, and helping his teammates is one way to stay involved.
How is recovery going?
Wentz spoke at length about having to be careful not to push too hard when recovering from his kind of knee injury. He noted that some days he feels great and wants to push things a bit, and others he’s tight and sore, but that it’s all “just part of the process.” He’s relying on what the trainers and doctors are telling him, and is just trying to be smart about all of it.
Heading into his third year in the league, Wentz was asked how this injury and rehab process differed from the injury he sustained his senior year in college. The biggest difference is the return timetable he was given — at North Dakota State he returned in time to compete in the National Championship game, and this year, he didn’t get that chance.
Despite the differences, he’s still confident in his rehab and has learned a lot personally going through the process. Wentz explained, “on a personal level, when you’re injured, is really when you find what type of man, the type of character that you’re made of.”
He was later asked about the mental side of recovering from an injury, which Wentz admitted was just as important as the physical side of things. As he gets stronger, he’ll get more confident in relying on his legs again, and is learning to trust it.
“I feel like I’ve made great strides both mentally and physically.”
One thing that has helped the QB stay so positive, is not falling into the trap of comparing himself to other players. He was asked about other guys around the league who have similar injuries and whether or not he tries to use their return to gauge his. His reply was short and sweet, “not really,” explaining that even similar injuries aren’t identical, and it’s fruitless to compare himself to others.
Wentz reiterated he’s taking a “one day at a time approach” to his recovery. Once he does return to the field, he will be using a brace, at least in the beginning, but he wants to be careful it doesn’t become a sort of crutch for him in the long term.
- Wentz spoke about working closely and brainstorming sessions with Coach Pederson, “They’re always great. Coach does a tremendous job of just being open to ideas, open to new things.”
- While Pederson mentioned veterans missing their opportunity to play in the Super Bowl being used as motivation for this season, Wentz picked that as only one piece of the puzzle. Sure, an injury will be used as the chip on their shoulder, but ultimately, he wouldn’t have expected a lull coming off their SB win, anyway. With the veterans in that locker room, he would have expected the same type of motivation this offseason whether or not they played in the big game.
- On the Eagles third-down and Red Zone improvement from 2017 to 2018, Wentz chalked it up to a lot of empashis on the two aspects of the game. From spending extra time in the film room to running plays more often in practice, the QB also noted, “putting the right guys in the right spots was a huge part of our success.”
- Working with Coach Rowe “has been rock solid” so far this offseason, and all four QBs love working with him, according to Wentz. He described it as a smooth process so far.