Eagles Aren’t Expecting Carson Wentz to be ‘Superman’
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - Faster than a speeding linebacker. More powerful than a nose tackle. Able to leap lengthy corners in a single bound. Look, up Philadelphia. It's a bird -- it's the bird. It's Carson Wentz.
It isn't Superman, however.
“We can’t expect him to just put his Superman cape on and be his old self,” Pro Bowl tight end Zach Ertz said after Sunday's loss in Tampa Bay. “He’s going to be rusty."
Clark Kent isn't rusty when he's ripping off the glasses in the phone booth (editor's note for Millenials, those things actually existed before cell phones). Wentz is here to save the moribund Eagles offense with his Aaron Rodgers-like off-schedule offense, right?
Not so fast.
"I think [Ertz is] accurate in that statement," Doug Pederson admitted Monday after announcing his star QB was finally cleared for contact and will start Sunday against Indianapolis. "Carson is not Superman, obviously. It's going to take all 10 other guys around him to get it done."
And Pederson foresees a problem or two, especially while receivers Alshon Jeffery, Mike Wallace and Mack Hollins remain on the shelf.
"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."
Before the torn ACL and LCL, mobility was a huge part of Wentz's toolbox. However, he will return to Lincoln Financial Field with some added equipment, a brace which could be around for a bit.
"For an isolated ACL I would recommend a brace for the first one to two seasons," Dr. Andreas Gomoll, a sports medicine surgeon at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York and an Associate Professor of Orthopedic Surgery at Cornell Medical School, explained to 973espn.com earlier this year. "If there was more extensive damage [ed. note: there was] it might be advisable to use the brace longer."
Pederson, though, isn't about to hold anything back and has been consistent through Wentz's now nine-month plus rehab. When he's cleared he's cleared.
"Think about the game yesterday. How many times did [QB] Nick [Foles] get hit?" Pederson asked rhetorically "It's part of the game. The thing is I'm not going to coach scared. I'm not going to coach paranoid. I'm not going to go in thinking, ‘Oh no, we can't do ‘this’, we can't do ‘that’.’ We just have to continue to go play and I [have] to coach that way."
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen