Eagles Wake-Up Call: Why Wentz Will Sit
It seems to be 1999 again in Philadelphia, and that’s just the way Jeffrey Lurie likes it. Doug Pederson is now Andy Reid, the first-year head coach; Carson Wentz is Donovan McNabb, the rookie quarterback drafted second overall; and Sam Bradford is Pederson, the veteran who is about to lose his starting job.
17 years ago, McNabb started by Week 10, and he attempted double-digit passes by Week 2. So could we see Wentz early on, even if it’s in a limited role as someone else starts?
“That’s hard to say when I got Chase Daniel sitting there,” Pederson said yesterday.
Daniel is the key cog people forget when making the 1999 analogy, and he’s precisely the reason 2016 is different. The Eagles have every reason to play Bradford for as long as possible this season — they want to compete for the NFC East title and trade Bradford for a meaningful pick to recoup some value they lost in getting Wentz — but it’s not difficult to envision a scenario in which Bradford misses a start, whether it’s due to injury or poor play.
That’s why Daniel, not Bradford, may ultimately be the one keeping Wentz off of the field. Many assume if Bradford is out, Wentz is in. But, at least in the beginning, and conceivably for the entire season, Pederson seems more likely to turn to Daniel.
“My plan is to keep developing Carson. Again: Sam, Chase, Carson,” Pederson said, reiterating the order of the quarterbacks on the depth chart. “Carson has a lot to learn, not only from the playbook, but just how to be a professional quarterback, how to handle the media, how to handle Philadelphia, his teammates, get to know his teammates.
“There’s a lot involved, and that’s the beauty of having two veteran guys in front of Carson Wentz. That’s the plan. Keep developing Carson and keep developing Chase and get Sam ready to go for opening day.”
Pederson often talks glowingly about Daniel, whom the head coach says he sees himself in, and he’s made it clear how comfortable he is with Daniel playing if need be. Pederson also noted yesterday that the backup “knows the intricacies and details that Sam and Carson are learning” because of their three years together in Kansas City.
It’s understandable why Pederson seems so intent on developing Wentz, despite history showing that teams often turn to their highly picked quarterbacks earlier than the Eagles appear likely to. Although Howie Roseman’s job looks to be on the line if the Wentz deal proves unwise, Pederson probably won’t be around long either if the young quarterback doesn’t pan out, which typically leads to losing.
Plus, developing quarterbacks is supposed to be Pederson’s forte.
“It’s one of the things I loved out there today, a chance for me and Carson, when he was down there with the tight ends and running backs, teach him how to slow his drop down, how to be methodical about it,” Pederson said. “Things like that are things that I’ve learned being in the league now 21, 22 years. Those are things you learn to appreciate and then you can pour it into a young quarterback.”
WHAT YOU MISSED
Sam Bradford said his trade request was Tom Condon’s idea.
“He’s a leader, too. You could see it a little bit today.” Doug Pederson on Carson Wentz’s first OTA.
Eagles practice observations: What Tim saw during the first team practice session of the Dougie P era.
“I fully expect him to be here for the mandatory camp.” Pederson on Darren Sproles’ holdout.
Open thread: Live updates from the NovaCare Complex from practice and press conferences.
The Eagles signed two players, including another ex-Bill from Jim Schwartz’s 2014 defense.
Tim previewed the biggest storylines as OTAs continue to roll on.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
You can’t blame Sam Bradford for the business decision he made, writes the Inquirer’s Mike Sielski.
Of course there is. You could hear it in coach Doug Pederson’s voice, in his praise for the way Wentz was clapping and cheering and “rallying the guys” during Tuesday’s practice. “That’s the type of guy Carson is,” Pederson said, elevating Wentz’s banal encouragement of his new teammates into an indication that the kid would soon be capable of leading his dear friends unto the breach. In comparison, Pederson’s repeated characterizations of Bradford as “my number-one guy” came off as hollow. Everyone here knows what the score is. You’d have to be blind and deaf not to.
Maybe that’s why, for all the convenient outrage over Bradford, his teammates seemed less troubled by his actions than anyone. In a league in which no player contract is guaranteed, they understood the reality here. Bradford and his agent, Tom Condon, saw one team – the Denver Broncos – as a possible trade partner for the Eagles. They saw one shot for Bradford to obtain some leverage and improve his situation – a shot that Bradford’s detractors have determined, by the holy and wholly arbitrary standard of What’s Sam Bradford ever done?, he had no right to take. Bradford took it. It didn’t work. But who in that locker room would blame him for trying?
PhillyVoice’s Jimmy Kempski ranked the top 10 players the Eagles can least afford to lose to injury.
2) Fletcher Cox
I’d be mildly surprised if Cox didn’t get a very lucrative contract worked out with the Eagles by the start of training camp. I’d be very surprised if the two sides couldn’t get a deal done by the beginning of the season. Cox is the Eagles’ best player. He’s a legitimate star who they can build their defense around. Seeing Cox suffer some kind of serious injury after signing a long-term deal would be disastrous.
1) Carson Wentz
I mean, Wentz is only going to determine the fate of a whole lot of jobs in the Eagles’ front office, as well as the general happiness of the fifth-most populous city in America.
Yes, I’m well aware the plan may be for Wentz to sit for a year. Still, it’d be nice if he can steer clear of some kind of devastating long term injury and become the next, uh, Sam Bradford.
We’ll feature the best sights from the first day of OTAs.