Carson Wentz

Carson Wentz On Week 1: “It’s Going To Be Close”

Carson Wentz is already likely to sit out the entirety of the preseason as he recovers from a December ACL injury, but the Eagles quarterback today admitted that he may not be ready for Week 1 of the regular season, either.

[RELATED: Alshon Jeffery To Miss Games?]

“I obviously would love to be out there,” Wentz said, per Dave Zangaro of NBC Sports Philadelphia. “That’s been my goal all offseason ever since the injury. It’s going to be close. It’s going to be close. I’m still eyeing that date. At the end of the day, it’s not just my decision. There’s coaches and doctors that really have the final say. I really like where I’m at and time will tell here.”

Eagles head coach Doug Pederson would prefer Wentz handles a week of 11-on-11 work before playing in a regular season game, tweets Les Bowen of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Wentz, for his part, told reporters he expects to be cleared for 11-on-11 sessions next week, although that won’t entail him being cleared for contact, according to Zach Berman of the Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter link).

Heading into Week 1 without Wentz, who was playing at an MVP-caliber level in 2017 before injuring his knee, clearly isn’t preferable, but the Eagles do have Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles in tow as a more-than-capable reserve. Other quarterbacks on Philadelphia’s roster include Nate SudfeldJoe Callahan and the recently-signed Christian Hackenberg.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Carson Wentz Unlikely To Play In Preseason

The general feeling in Philadelphia is that Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz will not appear in any preseason games as he recovers from a torn ACL, according to Reuben Frank of NBC Sports Philadelphia and Zach Berman of the Philadelphia Inquirer. However, Wentz is still expected to be ready for Week 1 of the regular season.

“I don’t think it’s a big hurdle for me,” Wentz said of not playing in any exhibition contests. “Would I love to be out there on Thursday? Absolutely. I’d love to be out there every day. But I think for me personally, I think I’ll be fine if I don’t get out there for preseason.”

Wentz has been a limited participant in Eagles’ training camp, per Berman, as he’s performed in seven-on-seven drills but hasn’t practiced in full-team workouts. That regimen will continue until Wentz is given a full medical clearance, something that should be on the horizon. Until then, Philadelphia won’t place Wentz in any situation where could collide with other players.

“It can be a rhythm game, you kind of get in a groove and everything,” Wentz said. “But that’s kind of the challenge I have right now. It’s kind of like being on the sideline for a long period time in a game, a long drive from the other team or something like that. Sometimes it just helps to find the rhythm, and right now I’ve got to get the most of it.”

Missing the majority or the entirety of the preseason shouldn’t be much of a problem for Wentz, as he likely would have sparingly played even if he’d been at full health. The Eagles could use exhibition season to get extra repetitions for fellow quarterbacks Nick Foles (who could be called on in the event Wentz misses regular season action) and Nate Sudfeld.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC East Notes: Eagles, Redskins, Cowboys

Although Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz wasn’t placed on the physically unable to perform list to start training camp, Philadelphia’s plan for its signal-caller — who tore his ACL in December — isn’t exactly clear, as Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer details. Wentz participated in last Sunday’s workout in a limited fashion, and then wasn’t involved in on-field activities for the remainder of the week. Although both Wentz and the Eagles have maintained the third-year pro hasn’t suffered any setbacks, Philadelphia will need to balance its attempts to get Wentz ready with the requirement of preparing backup Nick Foles in the event Wentz isn’t ready for Week 1.

Here’s more from the NFC East:

  • Cornerback Josh Norman‘s future with the Redskins hinges on a number of factors, as John Keim of ESPN.com explains in his latest mailbag. Washington had added depth to its defensive backfield recently, and if Quinton Dunbar or 2017 third-rounder Fabian Moreau proves capable of starting this season, the Redskins could move on from Norman, who inked a five-year, $75MM deal in 2016. Financials, then, play another role in Norman’s fate in the nation’s capital. After counting for a massive $20MM on the Redskins’ salary cap in 2017, Norman’s charge will decrease to roughly $17MM this year and $14,5MM in 2019. Washington would save $8.5MM by cutting Norman before June of 2019, and $11.5MM by designating him a post-June 1 release.
  • Tavon Austin has been a jack-of-all-trades for the Cowboys since he was acquired via trade during the draft, but there’s one area of his game that hasn’t yet been utilized. “All the things you see me doing out here is pretty much what I’ll be doing,” Austin said, per Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News. “I ain’t touched the backfield yet, but hopefully, eventually if they need me back there, I’ll be back there too.” Dallas picked up Austin, a disappointing former first-round pick, from Los Angeles in exchange for a sixth-round pick, and he’s now expected to be the club’s primary punt returner.
  • The Giants are experimenting by using longtime cornerback William Gay at safety, writes Ryan Dunleavy of NJ.com. Gay, who spent most of his time at corner over an 11-year career mostly spent in Pittsburgh, would give New York another option alongside Landon Collins and Darian Thompson. Gay, 33, saw a bit of action as a linebacker/safety with the Steelers, and also has experience in the slot, so a move to safety shouldn’t be all too challenging.

Eagles QB Carson Wentz Won’t Go On PUP

After suffering a torn ACL last December, Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz will not be placed on the physically unable to perform list to begin training camp, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link).

Clearly, the news is positive for Wentz, as he’ll now be able to stay on the field while his recovery progresses. Starting on the active/PUP list wouldn’t have been the end of the world, as Wentz could have had that designation removed at any time. But beginning camp on active/PUP could have conceivably led to Wentz being placed on reserve/PUP, which would have cost him the first six games of the regular season.

Philadelphia did consider placing Wentz on the PUP list, tweets Rapoport, especially given that he’ll be ramping up slowly and won’t participate fully in drills. But as Chris Mortensen of ESPN.com notes (Twitter link), the Eagles want to get a sense of Wentz’s progess while he competes in seven-on-seven drills, something that wouldn’t have possible if Wentz was sidelined.

Wentz, 23, was playing at an MVP pace when he went down last season, as he’d already amassed more than 3,200 yards, 33 touchdowns, and just seven interceptions through 13 starts. Nick Foles, of course, won the Super Bowl in relief of Wentz, and will be available in the event Wentz needs a regular season game or two to get up to speed.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Eagles Notes: D-line, Wentz, Foles, Sudfeld,

The Eagles‘ defensive line is the best position group in all of football, opines Chris Wesseling of NFL.com. Wesseling makes his case for the Eagles’ line as the best unit in the NFL by highlighting all the big name talent it has. Fletcher Cox may be the best interior lineman in the league after Aaron Donald, Super Bowl hero Brandon Graham is returning, as is promising second-year edge rusher Derek Barnett, and the team added “three-time Pro Bowler Michael Bennett and former All-Pro Haloti Ngata” this offseason.

The Eagles’ ability to win in the trenches was a huge part of the team’s success last season, and it should continue in 2018. They constantly reset the line of scrimmage and practically lived in opposing teams’ backfields. Wesseling says that what the Eagles have been able to do with their defensive line has been so impressive that other teams have started “copying Philadelphia’s blueprint up front.”

Here’s more from Philadelphia:

  • “One of the biggest surprises” of the Eagles‘ offseason workouts, OTAs, and minicamp was how healthy Carson Wentz looked, according to Eliot Shorr-Parks of NJ.com. Shorr-Parks writes that the “only sign” Wentz was even recovering from an injury was the brace he was wearing on his left leg. It sure sounds like Wentz has a very good shot at being 100% healthy by the time week 1 rolls around.
  • Speaking of Wentz’s health, it might be a factor in whether or not the team decides to trade Nick Foles, but Nate Sudfeld‘s development might be too. Shorr-Parks notes that if Sudfeld “really impresses” this summer, it could make a deal more likely. However, “short of the Eagles acquiring a first-round pick”, he writes, a trade is still “unlikely.”
  • Shorr-Parks thinks Jalen Mills will wind up as the team’s slot cornerback and that last year’s second round pick Sidney Jones will be moved outside. He thinks Mills will for the second year in a row “lead the Eagles‘ cornerbacks in snaps.”

East Notes: Pryor, Eagles, Giants, Bills

Terrelle Pryor and Todd Bowles have a slight difference of opinion when it comes to the wide receiver’s timetable. Though, maybe the Jets‘ fourth-year head coach doesn’t want to make an unnecessarily bold proclamation in this case. Bowles is not certain the recently signed wideout will be available when training camp begins. Pryor did not practice this week. After encountering more ankle trouble in the spring, Pryor underwent surgery earlier this month. Despite the ankle trouble limiting him this offseason, one that’s involved a boot on Pryor’s right foot at minicamp’s outset, Pryor believes he’ll be available on Day 1 of camp.

For now, in my mind, I’ll be there the first day,” Pryor said, via Zach Braziller of the New York Post. “Right now, I’m healthy and I’m ready to get back to form and have a dominant year.”

Pryor also said the injury he suffered early last season — a torn deltoid ligament in his right ankle during Week 1 — affected him throughout his woeful Washington campaign. The veteran was not able to practice much due to the malady and ended his Redskins season on IR.

I just really couldn’t focus on my game because I was too worried about my foot,” Pryor said. “It kind of took control and controlled my mind.”

Here’s the latest from around the East divisions:

  • Doug Pederson said this week (via Kalyn Kahler of SI.com) he’s considering splitting first-team reps evenly between Carson Wentz and Nick Foles during training camp. Although the Eagles‘ franchise centerpiece has not been cleared for 11-on-11 work, he continues to progress and is expected to be ready by September. But an even split — similar to how Pederson handled matters in 2016, when Sam Bradford was still on the team — puts Foles in better position to lead the offense if Wentz endures a setback.
  • The Giants may have a new contender for the center job. Jon Halapio is making a strong push to be the starting snapper, with Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com reporting the fifth-year player has emerged in this role after an “extremely strong” spring. Brett Jones entered the offseason as the player most observers assumed would succeed Weston Richburg as Big Blue’s full-time center, and the Giants tendered him at a second-round level. Halapio, once a sixth-round Patriots pick, re-signed as an ERFA. He started six games last season as a guard, his first action as a pro despite being a 2014 draftee, and has now impressed the Giants’ new coaching staff. While that second-round tender should give Jones a good chance come camp, this is an interesting situation on a retooling offensive line.
  • Speaking of unlikely starters, Nathan Peterman may have a reasonable chance of starting for the Bills in Week 1. While A.J. McCarron is the assumed stopgap while Josh Allen learns, ESPN.com’s Mike Rodak calls Peterman a serious contender for the starting job. This would be a strange turn of events after Peterman’s one rookie-year start went so poorly, but it appears McCarron might not have an automatic route to the job.

East Notes: Eagles, Wentz, Pats, Gronk

Good news for Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz. Based on what he is hearing, ESPN.com’s Chris Mortensen (Twitter link) believes that Wentz will be ready for the team’s season opener.

All offseason long, the Eagles have been hoping that Wentz would be ready for Week 1. Of course, after his late-season ACL and LCL tears, the team is taking a cautious approach to his recovery. So far, Wentz has looked sharp in OTAs, so he should be ready to retake his spot as the team’s starting QB in September.

Here’s more from the East divisions:

  • There was a great deal of retirement talk surrounding Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski this offseason, but that’s all in the rear view mirror now. “I had to see where my body was at and where my mind was at. But now I’m out here, and I feel good,” Gronk said (Twitter link via ESPN.com’s Jeff Darlington). “I feel like I definitely made the right decision coming back out. Mind and body. That’s what it has always been about. Nothing wrong with that, in my opinion. On Tuesday, Gronk and Tom Brady both reported to the Patriots for OTAs.
  • Jets tight end Chris Herndon, who was arrested Saturday, was on the practice field on Tuesday (Twitter link via Brian Costello of the New York Post). It remains to be seen whether he’ll face league discipline or whether the DUI charge will impact his status with the team.
  • The Giants announced that GM Dave Gettleman is set to undergo treatment for lymphoma. “Recently, I underwent an annual physical, during which it was discovered I have lymphoma. Over the past week, I have undergone more testing to determine the course of treatment, which is scheduled to start in the very near future,” Gettleman said in a statement. “The doctor’s outlook for the treatment and the prognosis is positive, and so am I. I will continue to work as much as the treatment process will allow, and as they know, when I am not in the office, I will be in constant communication with Pat (Shurmur), Kevin (Abrams) and the rest of our staff.”

NFC Notes: Cowboys, Giants, Eagles, Wentz

Following the Cowboys’ decision to move on from Dez Bryant, the offense was left with only two wideouts from last year’s roster: Cole Beasley and Terrance Williams. The team did an admirable job of adding Allen Hurns and Deonte Thompson via free agency, Tavon Austin via trade, and Michael Gallup via the draft, but none of their options profile as a top-tier wideout.

While the team’s depth chart may be lacking, quarterback Dak Prescott believes the Cowboys’ offense will be just fine.

“I don’t know if any team in the league necessarily needs a No. 1 receiver,” Prescott said (via Charean Williams of ProFootballTalk.com). “It’s about getting the ball out, spreading the ball around, keeping the defense on its toes.”

Of course, while Prescott is confident in his ability to lead the unheralded offense, he understands that there’s still work to be done.

“I mean the only thing you can do is just get out there with routes on air, things like that,” Prescott said. “We did a bunch together. Me and these young guys have been here before we even started OTAs, getting that timing down so we can get in OTAs and have good feel for each other and now with the defense in front of us, grow off of that and grow from what we’ve already accomplished. That’s the best thing I can do.”

Let’s take a look at some more notes out of the NFC…

  • After having seen several Giants practices, Matt Lombardo of NJ.com opines that 2017 third-round pick Davis Webb has been the team’s most impressive signal-caller. However, the writer emphasizes that there isn’t a quarterback controversy, noting that the team’s offseason moves indicate that the front office wants to make a playoff push with Eli Manning. Still, since the Giants weren’t sold on any of the top quarterback prospects in the draft, Webb has been doing a nice job of making his case to be Manning’s heir apparent.
  • Eliot Shorr-Parks of NJ.com takes an early look at the Eagles projected depth chart. The writer’s opinion of the offensive tackle position is of particular note, as Jason Peters and Lane Johnson are currently slotted in as starters. However, Shorr-Parks wonders if Halapoulivaati Vaitai could take over as the starter for Peters if the veteran doesn’t recover from his major knee surgery. The writer also notes that there will be a battle between Josh Sweat and Steven Means for third-string defensive end reps. If Means earns a spot on the active roster, the Eagles could choose to stash the first-year Sweat on the injured reserve.
  • Carson Wentz participated in the Eagles OTAs this week, and reports indicated that he looked good as recovered from an ACL and LCL tear. Still, while there should be optimism around Wentz’s progress, Dr. David J. Chao of the San Diego Union-Tribune writes that it’s too early to “anoint his full return for the season opener.” While the quarterback is on track, he still has plenty of steps to complete until he’s back to full mobility. Wentz will have to focus on running and cutting before he’s ready for regular season action.

East Notes: Eagles, Gronk, Clayborn

Eliot Shorr-Parks of NJ.com does not believe that there will be any tension between Carson Wentz and Nick Foles this year, but he does say that Foles is universally loved in the Eagles‘ locker room. Given that, and given that Foles led the club to its first Super Bowl victory in the wake of Wentz’s ACL tear last season, Shorr-Parks suggests that there is at least a small part of Wentz that feels the need to “re-prove himself” to his team. Shorr-Parks wonders if that desire will impact how quickly Wentz returns to the field and how he interacts with his veteran backup this year.

Let’s round up a few more east notes, starting with several additional items out of Philadelphia:

  • In the same piece linked above, Shorr-Parks says “it appears obvious” that the Eagles do not plan on paying DE Brandon Graham until next offseason at the earliest. Graham will be eligible for free agency at that point, but he is still seeking a long-term extension from Philadelphia prior to that, and Shorr-Parks’ suggestion is somewhat surprising in light of the fact that the Eagles were said to be working on a new contract for Graham in November (and in light of Graham’s on-field performance).
  • In two separate pieces, Shorr-Parks breaks down the Eagles’ current roster into long shots, locks, bubble players, and wildcards, and he also takes a look at some of the biggest names still remaining on the free agent market and whether Philadelphia could be interested in some of those players. He thinks the Eagles could be in play for some of the top available DBs — like Kenny Vaccaro and Bashaud Breeland — but does not see a fit for top WR Dez Bryant or LB Brian Cushing (though he thinks a reunion with Jeremy Maclin should not be ruled out).
  • Ryan Dunleavy of NJ.com evaluates the Giants‘ top positional battles going into OTAs, and he believes the fight for the backup QB job is the most intriguing. Second-year pro Davis Webb has a stronger arm than rookie Kyle Lauletta, but Lauletta receives high marks for his intelligence and accuracy, plus he was drafted by Big Blue’s new regime. Whoever wins the job will be the favorite to ultimately succeed Eli Manning.
  • It is unclear whether Rob Gronkowski will report to the Patriots for Phase 3 of the team’s offseason program, which begins tomorrow, though Mike Reiss of ESPN.com says Gronk is still putting in plenty of time at the TB12 Sports Therapy Center, which he says has him feeling good from a conditioning perspective. Phase 3 will be the last chance for Gronkowski and Tom Brady — who is also yet to attend OTAs — to get some multiple-week football work in with the majority of their teammates before training camp. Brady has frequently touted the importance of Phase 3, so it would be notable if he does not attend.
  • Adrian Clayborn, the Patriots‘ top free agent acquisition this offseason, tweaked his quad during recent workouts, per Reiss. Clayborn could be limited for Phase 3 of OTAs, but he is expected to be ready for the start of training camp.

Extra Points: Kaepernick, Raiders, Greg Little, Cardinals

Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider were deposed in the collusion grievance filed by Colin Kaepernick this week, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter (Twitter link).

Expanding on the subject, Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio recounts that the “Seahawks were planning to bring in the quarterback for a workout, but the team canceled the session when Kaepernick declined to commit to stand for the national anthem.” 

Despite the case, Carroll has not closed the door on the former 49ers quarterback joining the team. As Florio writes, however, “It would be awkward, to say the least, for Kaepernick to sign with Seattle after his lawyers questioned Schneider and Carroll under oath…”

Seattle is still the only team to have brought Kaepernick in for a visit since hitting free agency after the 2016 season. This long saga still appears to be far from a conclusion.

Here’s more from around the NFL:

  • Earlier this week, the Raiders signed longtime Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson to a one-year deal. The details of that contract came out today, with the 13-year pro set to make $1.5MM. The contract includes a $200,000 signing bonus and $500,000 total guaranteed. With incentives, the deal could top out at $2.25MM, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero tweets.
  • Former Browns receiver Greg Little appeared at the Cardinals rookie minicamp, Kyle Odegard of azcardinals.com writes. Little, who hasn’t played a game since the 2014 season, was a promising second-round pick who flamed out after three seasons. The Cardinals offered the 28-year-old wideout a tryout this weekend and impressed new head coach Steve Wilks.
  • ESPN’s Dan Graziano took a crack at projecting the next big-money quarterbacks. To no one’s surprise, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers tops the list in 2020, but the sides are expected to come to a deal before that time. Among the other signal-callers who could surpass Kirk Cousins‘ big deal are Russell Wilson, Carson Wentz and Jimmy Garoppolo.