Carson Wentz Will Start Against the Browns
Doug Pederson announced Carson Wentz will start at quarterback on Sunday when the Eagles open up the regular season at home against the Browns. Wentz, who missed three preseason games due to a rib injury, is now 100 percent recovered, according to Pederson.
“We made this decision and I spent [time] over the weekend with my offensive staff, with Frank [Reich] and [John] DeFilippo and really the entire staff and everybody feels like this kid’s ready to go,” Pederson said. “We drafted him to take on the reins and it’s something now that we’re prepared to do and looking forward to Cleveland and one day at a time with him. And at the same time, we’ve got to be smart in how we handle it, but at the same time, fully expect him to perform like he’s capable of performing and what we’ve seen throughout OTAs and Training Camp.”
Pederson has thought Wentz would be “special” since rookie minicamp because of the unconventional throws and plays he can make.
“The plays he’s made in practice, in the one preseason game, has given me confidence that he can lead this football team,” he said. “And I’m excited, I’m thrilled that this is an opportunity for him, it’s an opportunity for our organization, our team, and we’re going full steam ahead. I feel fully confident that we’ll be able to get the job done.”
Naming Wentz as the starter comes two days after the Eagles traded Sam Bradford to the Vikings for a first- and conditional fourth-round picks. Pederson, who was with his ailing father at the time of the trade, signed off on the trade because he feels Wentz is “ready to go.”
“We were fortunate to get some draft picks back that we gave up for the trade for Carson,” he said, “and it was right for this football team. And it’s something that we believe in, I believe in, this is why we drafted him. Would the ideal situation be later than sooner? Sure. But right now where we are, we got a good football team around him, we got a great defense, special teams, good offensive line, good runners. All the pieces are here for him to be successful and for us to win some games.
“He’s such a special guy that this doesn’t bother him, the stage is not that big and he can handle this. That’s why making this decision is very comforting for me and really easy to make. Just knowing him and how he prepares and knowing what he’s done in the past and this guy is a proven winner. He’s proved it all the way up through college and fully expect him to do the same thing at this level.”
Pederson stated that when a team trades their starting quarterback, there can be mixed emotions in the locker room. But like the head coach, the rest of the team is excited for Wentz to start.
“The guys were 100 percent behind it and thrilled that Carson’s going to be the guy,” Pederson said. “They’ve seen him day in and day out like we’ve seen him and they know he can be a special player in this league and they’ve embraced it and supported him 100 percent.”
Wentz has worked in the past with Jason Kelce on the center-quarterback exchange, but he’ll play behind the first-team offensive line for the first time this week, which will include Lane Johnson at right tackle and Allen Barbre at left guard. With a much better line in front of him, compared to the preseason, Pederson plans to speak to Wentz about protecting himself. But he doesn’t want his QB to be less aggressive.
Pederson is also looking for a third quarterback, who would likely play on the practice squad. Currently, there are nine players signed to the practice squad.