The Philadelphia Eagles have experienced the most change in the NFL since 2016 began. The change continues six days before the team kicks off the regular season versus the Cleveland Browns. Doug Pederson announced in his press conference today that No. 2 overall pick, Carson Wentz, will start at quarterback for the Eagles on Sunday.
The trade of quarterback Sam Bradford to the Minnesota Vikings opened up the starting job for Wentz. There’s questions if Wentz is even ready to take over the starting job for the Eagles, given his lack of preseason snaps due to a hairline fracture to his ribs, but rest assured – Wentz is ready.
“The whole time, all along, it was just getting ready for whenever this time would come,” Wentz said, while addressing the media after being named the Eagles starting quarterback. “I knew I was ready. I knew I was taking the mental reps being out the last couple weeks. Even going into the first preseason game I felt very confident, felt like I’ve developed at a fast pace. Now it’s here and I’m really confident in myself and confident in this team.”
Wentz’s rise from third string, where it was assumed he’d stay all season, to the team’s starting quarterback is a remarkable shift in the team’s development plan for the rookie quarterback. As shocking as the Eagles moves this week have been, the faith the organization has in the rookie quarterback should be very encouraging.
Chris Klieman, Wentz’s coach at North Dakota State, echoed sentiments about Wentz’s overall confidence level and why he’ll thrive in the NFL in his opinion.
“The stage won’t be too big for this young man. He’s a really confident guy but not cocky or arrogant,” Klieman said.
Wentz thrived in Klieman’s west coast offensive system and was drafted into the same system here with the Eagles. Pederson’s faith in Wentz grasping the system already isn’t much of a surprise.
There will be bumps in the road for Wentz during his rookie season. Every rookie quarterback goes through the learning curve and adjusting to the NFL. Wentz is making the jump from FCS level of talent to NFL competition. Pederson acknowledged during his press conference today the bumps, but still expressed his full confidence in Wentz and his ability to lead the Eagles this season.
The thing to takeaway from the Eagles decision to roll with Wentz way earlier than many assumed – he’s exceeded the Eagles’ expectations for him already. The Eagles received a first-round pick in 2017 and a conditional fourth-round pick in 2018 for Bradford.
The Eagles and Howie Roseman would’ve been foolish to turn that down for a quarterback who wasn’t in their long term plans. But what’s more telling is how much confidence they have in Wentz to roll with him day one of his rookie season.