McMullen: Ask as Much as You Want but the Eagles Remain Carson Wentz’s Team
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - Sal Paolantonio was pushing hard and the head coach of the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles wasn't biting.
There is no quarterback controversy in City of Brotherly Love no matter how many people want to see Nick Foles take a bow on Sept. 6 against the Atlanta Falcons.
Paolantonio, the intrepid ESPN reporter and friend of The Sports Bash, believes Foles should have the opportunity to be the Eagles' opening-day starter in 2018 as sort of a thank you for what he did earlier this year, taking the baton from an injured Wentz to give the franchise the glory it had never achieved before.
“Well, right now today, that’s the case, because Carson is not ready,” Pederson explained before mandatory minicamp began on Tuesday. “I can’t speak for September when we open up against the Falcons."
Not many in the NovaCare Complex agree with SalPal's thought process for rather simple reasons: namely that Wentz is the superstar in this conversation, the face of the franchise who could turn a special year into a dynasty if everything falls correctly.
Since Foles came up on the winning end of a duel with Tom Brady back in February, Pederson has done his best to walk a tightrope that pays deference to what Foles did for the organization yet also points to the obvious conclusion here: when the doctors give the all clear to Wentz, who seems way ahead of his rehab schedule stemming from ACL and LCL surgery last December, the Eagles are his.
"I think on the outside world people looking at the Philadelphia Eagles, they would probably say, ‘Yeah, Nick deserves an opportunity.’ But this is the offseason still," Pederson explained. "We’re working a lot of people. Obviously encouraged with Carson’s progress on the field right now. He’s obviously very limited, as you know, just working through some seven on sevens."
And when he's no longer limited?
"I think inside, he’s very hungry [to get back]," Pederson said. "I would be, you know. As a leader of the team, face of the franchise, he was drafted to be our guy long-term, very hungry. Listen, I still believe this is Carson’s team. I don’t think differently about that."
And according to the coach, neither does Foles.
“For sure,” Pederson said when asked if Foles agrees with that sentiment. “For sure.”
As the spring turns to summer, Pederson will continue to hear similar takes from many others but he's not concerned that it will fuel any acrimony between two players who are friends before teammates, never mind competitors.
"I just think there are no egos involved,” Pederson said. “They’re in this thing together. Both support each other. Nick supported Carson during the season last year, and then Carson turned around and supported Nick at the end of the year. Their relationship has carried over into this spring and summer, and it’s really good. I see them working in the classroom. I see them working on the field. They keep talking. They want to get better individually. They want to get our team better. And so it’s been a really good, really good dynamic between those two.”
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen
Want more NFL? Check out John's piece on why the Colts putting all their eggs in the Andrew Luck basket at GetMoreSports.com