After missing the first two weeks of the regular season and Philadelphia’s playoff run last year due to injury, Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz is getting set to return to the field.
The team announced on Monday that Wentz has been cleared for action and as such, will immediately reclaim his job as starting quarterback. The announcement means that Wentz will make his 2018 debut in a home game on Sunday against the Colts.
“He has been cleared and we’re all excited about that,” Eagles coach Doug Pederson said on Monday.
Wentz seemed pretty excited to hear the news.
For Wentz, the start will come nearly nine months after he suffered a gruesome knee injury in a 43-35 Week 14 win over the Rams last season. Not only did Wentz tear his ACL in the game, but he also tore his LCL. The Eagles quarterback also had a partially torn IT [iliotibial] band, and he had to have some meniscus damage cleaned up during his Dec. 13 surgery. Due to all the damage, the Eagles always knew there was a chance that Wentz wouldn’t be ready to play early in the season.
“I was impressed with how well he attacked his rehab throughout the offseason,” Pederson said, via the team’s official website. “He’s done everything we’ve asked him to do and he’s ready to go.”
With Wentz out, the Eagles moved forward with Nick Foles, who led the team on an improbable playoff run that included a 41-33 win over the Patriots in Super Bowl LII. In that game, Foles was named Super Bowl MVP after throwing for 373 yards and three touchdowns.
Although Foles had an impressive playoff run, the Eagles offense has struggled through the first two weeks of the season. In two games, the Eagles have gone 1-1 and averaged just 322 yards of offense after averaging 365.8 yards per game last season.
As for Wentz, he was putting together an MVP-like season before going down with his injury in December. In the 13 games where he played last year, the Eagles went 11-2. During his time on the field, Wentz threw for 3,296 yards and 33 touchdowns. Wentz finished second in the league in touchdown passes despite the fact that he didn’t even play in all 16 games.
Even though Wentz is coming off such a huge season, Pederson isn’t expecting his quarterback to put up MVP numbers in his first game back after nine months off.
“It’s going to take some time to get back into the rhythm and the flow of the game,” Pederson said. “The speed of the game is different than the speed of practice.”
The Eagles have been slowly bringing Wentz along all offseason. The quarterback was cleared for 7-on-7 drills in June, and then, in mid-August, he was cleared to participate in 11-on-11 drills. According to Pederson, the last hurdle is going to be getting Wentz prepared for the physical rigors of an NFL game. Basically, he’s going to be getting hit a lot after not taking any hits this offseason.
“He’s a guy that will be totally prepared,” Pederson said. “He’s going to be prepared mentally, it’s just a matter of the physical part taking over.”
After playing his first home game on Sunday against the Colts, Wentz will get his first road test in Week 4 when the Eagles travel to Tennessee.