Rather than just write the same thing in my Eagles training camp practice notes for the third day in a row, I’m going to slap it on a headline and write an entire article about it instead so that you don’t miss it. I’ll even bold it for you.
Barring an unforeseen setback, Carson Wentz is going to be your Philadelphia Eagles starting quarterback in Week 1 against the Atlanta Falcons, folks.
I’ve maintained this belief throughout the offseason, especially since we’ve been hearing that Week 1 was possible all the way back in January. The exact phrasing in the report was “they’re confident he’s going to be back well ahead of Week 1.”
And here we are on July 28, just under six weeks away from the Eagles’ home opener on September 6, with Wentz looking great during Eagles training camp practice.
The Eagles’ franchise quarterback took another step forward in his recovery on Saturday by getting some full team 11-on-11 reps during a padded practice. Wentz worked with both the first team and the second team at various points, rotating with Nick Foles at times.
At no point has Wentz looked not ready to play. Instead, he’s dropping dimes all over the field.
During one of his first 11-on-11 reps, the third-year passer scrambled to his right and floated a ball above a defender’s head to Corey Clement along the sideline. (Shades of his rookie touchdown pass to Darren Sproles against the Steelers.) Another rep featured Wentz rolling out to his left and completing a pass to Nelson Agholor despite having Chris Long ‘bearing down’ on him.
Speaking of facing pressure, there was a rep where a defensive lineman drove Chance Warmack into the backfield and very close to Wentz’s legs. Another defensive lineman also fell near him. That sight caused some Eagles fans standing near me on the sideline to let out a gasp. No big deal to Carson, though, who side-stepped the defenders and got out of harm’s way while keeping his eyes down the field.
Wentz also shined while throwing from the pocket. He split two defenders with a strike to Shelton Gibson around 25 yards down the field and along the sideline. He also had a sweet back shoulder completion to Dallas Goedert despite the fact the rookie tight end had a linebacker draped all over him.
For those who are worried that the Eagles might be overworking him or that Wentz is pushing himself too hard, do note that he’s not getting his regular amount of reps just yet. The Eagles did skip over his turn in one of the early 11-on-11 sessions.
But it feels like it’s only a matter of time until Wentz is back working exclusively with the first team. We’ll have to see how Wentz’s knee reacts to the workload he got today, for sure, but if everything holds up, he’s going to keep progressing as the season draws closer.
Following Saturday’s practice, offensive coordinator Mike Groh said the Eagles are “very happy” with where Wentz is at right now. Doug Pederson even interrupted Groh’s press conference to jokingly ask if No. 11 is going back ready for Week 1. Maybe it’s me but I feel like Pederson doesn’t handle that topic so lightly if it wasn’t looking good for Wentz.
I know this article is going to draw some worry about the Eagles rushing him or him rushing himself. I know this because I’ve seen this sentiment expressed in the comments here at Bleeding Green Nation, among other places, throughout the offseason.
I’m here to tell you that that’s not the case. The term “rush” is relative. You might think it’s a “rush” for Wentz to return for Week 1 because it doesn’t align with a “normal” ACL recovery timeline of nine to 12 months. You might bring up how you (or someone you know) had an ACL recovery and it took that long.
The thing is, though ... Wentz’s recovery timeline isn’t necessarily beholden to a somewhat arbitrary number. I mean, is “nine to 12 months” supposed to invalidate all the positive signs we’ve seen from his thus far? Is it supposed to ignore that Wentz is a genetic freak with an insane work ethic and that he could be one of those guys who heals faster than the average case?
All I know is what I’ve seen and heard all offseason is that Wentz is starting Week 1 and I don’t have any hard evidence that suggests otherwise. And that’s a very good thing for the defending Super Bowl champion Eagles. We know they have fantastic potential when their 2017 MVP-caliber quarterback is under center.