Eagles Practice Report: Wentz Cleared for 7-on-7 Work
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - Carson Wentz has taken another significant step in his return from a torn ACL and LCL after being cleared for controlled 7-on-7 work at OTAs this week.
The star quarterback, who suffered the injury on Dec. 10 of last year, is now almost six months out from the tears and seemingly on track for Week 1 against Atlanta on Sept. 6, although the Eagles continued to refuse to put a timetable of Wentz's recovery.
"Part of the rehab process with him is just giving him a little more – I don't want to say freedom – but a little more practice time," Eagles coach Doug Pederson explained. "One of the controlled environments that we can obviously put him in is a seven-on-seven situation. Being able to sprinkle him in and just watch him in more of an up-tempo type of a practice in those situations has been good. We'll continue to do that these next two days and next week, and just keep building as we go."
Wentz worked during individual drills as he's done consistently this spring before sprinting off to a far field to work on his rehab and conditioning as team drills started.
After a special teams period later in practice, the Eagles went to 7-on-7s and Wentz got four reps, the same as Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles and one less than third-string QB Nate Sudfeld. South Jersey native Joe Callahan also got two reps during the period.
For what it's worth the ball isn't supposed to hit the ground much in 7-on-7s and Wentz completed all four of his throws -- three to Zach Ertz and one to Mike Wallace.
When asked if Wentz was ahead of where the Eagles expected him to be at this point, Pederson demurred.
"I'm not a doctor. I can't really answer that," the coach said.
When pressed Pederson just said he was pleased with Wentz and a number of other players returning from injury.
"I didn't think Jason Peters and Darren Sproles and Jordan Hicks and the guys would be doing," Pederson said. "… But again, I'm very pleased and very encouraged with all those guys, where they are physically right now. And listen, we're going slow. We're not pushing any one of these players to get back. We're taking it slow and we're going to make sure they're a hundred percent."
OTA PRACTICE NOTES:
-Wednesday was another big day for emerging cornerback De’Vante Bausby, who picked off both Nick Foles and Nate Sudfeld in the session. Bausby was again the slot CB with the first-team defense.
-Nate Sudfeld was impressive slinging the football today, finding both Shelton Gibson and Markus Wheaton on bombs.
-Rookie left tackle Jordan Mailata had a big brace on his left leg today. Anything the 6-foot-8, 350-pound Mailata is wearing by definition is big, however.
-Among those not practicing were cornerback Sidney Jones, running back Donnel Pumphrey and receiver Marquess Wilson. Those who continued to be sidelined were safety Chris Maragos (rehabbing from knee surgery), defensive tackle Haloti Ngata (still working his way back from a biceps tear), linebacker Joe Walker, linebacker LaRoy Reynolds, and running back Josh Adams (stress fracture). Linebacker Jordan Hicks (Achilles) and left tackle Jason Peters (ACL) continued to do individual work and group install.
Defensive end Brandon Graham (ankle) and defensive tackle Tim Jernigan (back surgery) also continue to rehab and 973.espn.com spotted Jernigan walking to his car after locker-rrom availability.
Veterans Fletcher Cox and Nigel Bradham were not at practice and were more than likely excused absences because Pederson did not mention them as absences.
With all the loving parts the front seven on defense did not incluse one projected starter with Chris Long and Derek Barnett working at defensive end outside the interior of Destiny Vaeao and Elijah Qualls with the linebackers being Nate Gerry, Kamu Grugier-Hill and Corey Nelson.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen
Want more NFL? Check out John's piece on why 'The Cleanse' in Cleveland was about more than losing at GetMoreSports.com