HomeNewsPederson relieved to have Wentz healthy

Pederson relieved to have Wentz healthy

“He’s cleared, he goes.”

Back in the nest: For the first time since December, Doug Pederson (left) will have Carson Wentz playing quarterback for the Eagles. SOURCE: ANDY LEWIS / PHILADELPHIA EAGLES

By Al Thompson

Doug Pederson is finally free. He is free from answering any more questions about his Pro Bowl quarterback’s knee and when will he play again. Carson Wentz is scheduled to start against the Indianapolis Colts Sunday at the Linc (1 p.m., Fox).

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For Pederson, his offseason has been one for the books. The Eagles head coach really piled up on the positives: A Super Bowl trophy, a lucrative contract extension, a book release about his experiences, plus the coach made the rounds of appearances that players and coaches only dream of.

For all the adoration he has received, Pederson has been stuck this offseason in a scenario that must have made him feel like “Phil,” the weatherman from the movie Groundhog Day.

Every day he wakes up and it is exactly the same scenario, whether it’s a news conference, a radio or television show, personal appearance or just people on the street, it was the same thing.

“When is Carson Wentz coming back?” he would be asked.

As the season opener approached, a national pundit announced Nick Foles was the starter against the Atlanta Falcons Sept. 6 at the Linc.

On Sept. 2, four days before opener, and his first presser since the leak, Pederson arrived in ill humor. He had enough.

The first question again was, has he made a decision on whom his starting quarterback will be? If so, who is it?

“First of all, I appreciate y’all putting words in my mouth this week,” Pederson growled. “Therefore, I’m not going to discuss it.”

How were words put in your mouth, a reporter asked?

“You saw the reports,” Pederson growled again. “Next question.”

Another reporter asked who here put the words in his mouth?

“Next question.” It went on like that for a few more minutes.

But this week, Pederson could finally utter the words he had been longing to say for months. On Monday, the day after the Birds dropped a 27–21 decision to red-hot Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Pederson was ready for “the question.”

Again, a reporter asked what did the doctors say about Wentz for this week?

“You’ve been waiting for this day forever,” Pederson said with a smile.

“For nine months,” a reporter answered.

“I know, for nine months; right?” Pederson said. “No. He has been cleared. He has been cleared. So we’re all excited about that.”

Pederson did not want to get into specifics about what transpired for Wentz to be cleared to play.

“I’m not going to get into the whole report, it’s lengthy,” he said. “Just medically from the date of surgery to where he is as of today. Through all his rehab, through 11-on-11, through everything he did in the weight room, everything. Everything about it was a big part of getting to this point.”

Pederson was asked if he has any hesitation putting his franchise quarterback out there just a few days after being cleared.

“I mean, he’s cleared, he goes,” Pederson said. “I’ve said all along that he’s our guy. We drafted him to be our guy. It’s kind of like Week 1. I mean, a lot of your starters, guys like Jason Peters, {Darren] Sproles, haven’t been used to a lot of contact, a little bit in camp. But, yeah, we’re cleared to go, and we’ll go.”

While Wentz is back, there are still a number of key players still on the mend. Sproles is still a question mark with a hamstring injury. Wide receivers Mack Hollins and Alshon Jeffery are still out and no date has been set for their return.

Peters left the game against Tampa Bay several times, and wide receiver Mike Wallace was hurt during the first half against the Buccaneers, did not return, and is out for a while.

Pederson talked about the latest setbacks on offense.

On Mike Wallace:

“Mike suffered a fibula fracture in the game and will miss the next few weeks, obviously”

Peters’ status?

“Jason Peters, let’s see. He had a quad in the game,” Pederson said. “Happened about the third or fourth play in the game, tweaked it just a little bit. And so just couldn’t put the pressure on it that he felt he needed to in the game.”

Pederson admitted that although there are no restrictions, Wentz taking part in many live drills during OTAs, mini-camps and training camp, is not the same as live action. He said he expects Wentz may need a little time to get used to the regular season pace.

“I think there’s going to be maybe an issue or two,” Pederson said. “It’s going to take some time to get back into the rhythm and the flow of the game. The speed of the game is different than the speed of practice. We do everything we can to try to simulate that during the week and try to prepare him that way. And listen, he’s a guy that will be totally prepared. He comes in early, studies the tape as do all the quarterbacks, stays obviously late in the day, asks a lot of questions, and has a lot of ideas. He’s going to be prepared mentally. Now it’s just a matter of the physical part taking over.”

Eagles fans can’t wait to see Wentz take over again. ••

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