After an offseason in the shadows, the Eagles may see a very different side to Carson Wentz

Eagles Rams Football
Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz, right, is tackled by Los Angeles Rams linebacker Samson Ebukam during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 10, 2017, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

It’s been a bumpy start to the year for the Eagles, but it was always going to be. As injuries began to mount and the pressure started to build, the wait for Carson Wentz turned into longing for Eagles fans and the NDSU star himself. The franchise quarterback who set the NFL on fire one year ago had to sit on the sideline and watch on as Nick Foles led the team through a miraculous and fairytale-like playoff run, ending in a Championship. The road to recovery through Training Camp was a grueling one. But now, with week 3 on the horizon, Carson Wentz is back.

Excitement is at an all-time high, but leveling expectations will be key. As his favorite target, Zach Ertz, stated at the start of the week, ‘he’s not Superman.’

“It’s going to take all 10 other guys around him to get it done.” Pederson said, building on the comments of his electric tight end. “Listen, as far as the execution, I mean he’s going to see the same things that Nick was seeing, from defensive structure, to blitzes, protection, the whole thing. So we just have to make sure that we have those guys coached up, and that he’s going to the right places with the football and making the right decisions in the run game. But I don’t think it’s an attack one way or the other on the quarterback position.”

Those ten guys also carry some considerable weight. There could well be a possibility in which there is no Jay Ajayi, no Darren Sproles and potentially no Jason Peters. That leaves the Eagles backfield fighting against the current and their offensive line in a wobbly situation, especially given the recent breakout of Margus Hunt and rookie linebacker Darius Leonard. This game could turn into a shootout with relative ease and although Wentz has some comfort in the return of close friend Jordan Matthews, the fact it’s his first game back is going bring some inevitable rust.


“Well, last year I thought he took a really big step forward in the situational aspect of the games, knowing the down and distance [and] knowing where he is on the field.” Pederson continued. “He took a big, big step forward last year. Obviously, with every year we can continue to get better in those situations from a quarterback standpoint. I think just watching him move around physically and some of the things he’s done; he’s ready. He’s ready to take the reins again and move forward.”

The lone ‘knock’ on Wentz has been his tendency to expose himself to injury risks when carrying the Football. Not knowing when to slide partnered with his aggression as a quarterback turned out to be his worst enemy when all was said and done. Nobody is expecting Wentz to go out and perform the ‘Houdini’ like moves we’re used to seeing right away. In fact, his time away, sudden return and time watching Foles in the offense may just bring a slightly different mindset. Only will tell, but this could see the emergence of an even more dangerous Carson Wentz.

As Wentz begins to settle into the game and the offense, progress is bound to happen. Then, in one week’s time, we may even see the return of Alshon Jeffery. In another, we may even see Peters fully healthy. The offense is slowly reassembling and there’s a strong chance it becomes even more dangerous than before. If Ajayi can overcome his back injury and balance the offense, if Jeffery can open the offense and give opportunity to someone like Jordan Matthews, there’s no reason why Wentz, who is still months removed from a potential career-changing injury, can’t elevate himself even further in the list of elite NFL talents.

The fire inside Carson Wentz will be burning brighter and more violently than ever. Having spent an offseason doing all he can to get back on the field after watching his team complete the Super Bowl dream he created, there is no questioning that the raw, competitive quarterback who was drafted in 2016 will be attacking this weekend with all he has. But there is every chance that those months in the dark have molded him into a more situationally aware quarterback. There’s every chance those months under the radar have helped Wentz see the game, the risks and the potential from a new angle, refreshing his mindset and presenting a dynamic threat the NFL is yet to see.