As the Philadelphia Eagles jogged back out onto the practice field for another summer of suspense, all eyes were on the face of the franchise. It feels like only yesterday that Carson Wentz went down in a week 14 clash against the L.A Rams with a torn ACL and MCL, but as he walked out of the NovaCare Complex donning the red practice jersey once again, it was a firm reminder of how far he’s come.
The player who many deemed to have an MVP-worthy season prior to his injury took part in some 11-on-11 drills during the first day of Training Camp, wowing those in attendance once again. Back in May, Wentz partook in 7-on-7’s, leaving many stunned at just how quickly he’s getting back into the swing of things. For his Head Coach though, it’s all a game of balance.
Wentz is a competitor and will naturally want to be back on the field as soon as possible. His aggressive playing style is almost an extension of his hungry mentality, which can make a program reliant on patience a little difficult. The North Dakota State product spoke with the media after yesterday’s practice to reaffirm the Philadelphia fans that a week one return is at the top of his priority list.
“Im going to be smart with it.” Wentz said. I know Ill be out there when Im ready, I wont rush it, but so far so good.
Finding that middle-ground is crucial for both Wentz and Pederson and will no doubt be a priority this offseason. There’s no real need to rush Wentz along or force him back earlier than scheduled, especially with Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles still in the wings as a backup.
“I’m listening to [QB] Carson [Wentz] and his body.” Said the Eagles Head Coach. “I’m also listening to our medical staff and our doctors. Its a lot like, really, with any injury. I want to make sure he’s really comfortable and we’re not pushing the envelope with it; be patient with it. But at the same time, just give him enough work that he feels comfortable when that time comes to move into that spot.”
Despite a brief bump from Josh Sweat that rose blood pressures just about everywhere, Wentz handled his workload as one would expect the face of a franchise to. The scripted 10/10/10 format favored a rehabbing Wentz by keeping the first day of Camp relatively light in terms of physical demand. That won’t stay the same as the Summer intensifies, but these practices give Wentz a chance to spend a little more time with the offense than he usually would, not that he needs it.
“He did some nice things today.” Pederson explained. “It was very, very limited obviously, but we didn’t do too much. I think we had 30 offensive plays. It was good. It was a good first start for everybody. I think going back to the offseason, OTAs, and what we did with some of the 7-on-7s and individual work and things like that. Just wanted to progress him, especially when we’re not in pads and there is no contact, things like that. It’s just all part of his progressions, all part of the rehab process still. We’ll just continue to monitor how he is day by day.”
Wentz is one of the most electrifying players in the NFL and while it’s exciting to see him back on the field in the early stages of Training Camp, there’s been no expressed devotion to a preseason appearance. The aim for both player and coach is a week one return and as Wentz stated in his press conference yesterday, the only hurdle left is full contact. With Pederson and Wentz clarifying that everything we’re seeing is simply a part of the process, it’s once again time to trust it, knowing that although it seems a little unlikely now, the long-term aim is for Wentz to be back on the field to face the Falcons in week one.
Mandatory Credit: James Lang-USA TODAY Sports