Eagles TC Day 1: Wentz Participates in Team Drills
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - The Eagles began training camp Thursday with three key players on the Active/PUP list the bigger news was the one who wasn't on the list: quarterback Carson Wentz.
In fact not only was Wentz participating, he also took part in team drills for the first time since injuring his knee on Dec. 10 against the Los Angeles Rams, albeit in a scaled-back 10/10/10 practice session where everything is carefully scripted.
Just a day ago NFL Media reported the physically-unable-to-perform list was a serious consideration for the Eagles when it came to the rehabbing quarterback. However, an NFL source confirmed to 973espn.com that reporting was erroneous.
As expected Wentz practiced Thursday and even amped things up with the only hurdle remaining being contact.
“That’ll be the next step," Wentz said, "the next goal."
Because Wentz is not a full go [nor was he expected to be], it evidently fueled the thought that the PUP list was an option in some circles. The problem with that is that a designation of PUP-active would mean the star quarterback would not be able to participate in individual drills or 7-on-7 periods, something Wentz has been cleared to do dating back to the spring.
Coach Doug Pederson confirmed after practice that he has no idea where the report came from and the PUP list was never discussed when it came to Wentz, who is now over seven months out from surgery to repair a torn ACL and LCL and remains on track to start Week 1 against Atlanta on Sept. 6, a week short of the typical nine-month recovery period.
Pederson, however, still refuses to play the timetable game.
"Him and I are married to this deal," Pederson said when discussing Wentz. "You know what I’m saying? His long-term health, obviously, I want him to have success for a long time. I want to make sure it’s right. It’s hard to say when that time is.”
Wentz took limited reps with the second-team offense behind Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles.
“I thought he was comfortable,” Pederson said. “He did some nice things today. It was obviously very limited. We didn’t do too much. I think we had 30 offensive plays. It was a good start."
The only way the PUP list would have been an option is if Wentz suffered a setback in his five weeks away from the NovaCare Complex.
"We’ve got a good plan," Wentz explained. "...It’s not just me making a decision. It’s not just coach. It’s not just the docs. It’s a [combination] of everybody."
The Eagles did start the summer with some players on the PUP list, however. Defensive end Brandon Graham (ankle), wide receiver Alshon Jeffery (shoulder) and safety Chris Maragos (?knee), who are all rehabbing from surgeries, are still unable to practice.
Pederson refused to give a timetable on any of them when asked by 973espn.com when they might return to practice but Graham, like Wentz, targeted Week 1 as his goal.
Also, defensive tackle Tim Jernigan was placed on the NFI list after offseason back surgery and receiver Bryce Treggs joined him with what Pederson described as lower-body soreness. In the locker room, Treggs more clearly defined it as knee soreness and claimed he would be fine.
Others coming off injuries that shortened their 2017 seasons were cleared to practice, including left tackle Jason Peters, middle linebacker Jordan Hicks and running back Darren Sproles.
DAY 1 NEWS AND NOTES
-With no Brandon Graham, Chris Long started at left end with the first team and Destiny Vaeao was inside next to Fletcher Cox, meaning veterans Michael Bennett and Haloti Ngata started with the second team. Don't expect that to last long.
-Sidney Jones was the Day 1 option in the slot.
-The big defensive plays of the day were Rasul Douglas picking off Nick Foles and undrafted rookie safety Jeremy Reaves getting Nate Sudfeld. Remember, however, in a 10/10/10 practice format, the design is for execution on the offense, defense and special earns in the alternating sessions. In other words, it's not even close to full bore.
-Douglas got some work at left cornerback which is not typical while De'Vante Bausby spent some time on the right side.
-Both Kamu Grugier-Hill and Corey Nelson got some work with the first-team at WILL LB. Jordan Hicks was back in the middle and Nigel Bradham at his SAM position
-We got the first Jalen Mills finger way of the season when he broke up a pass intended for Kamar Aiken.
-Issac Seumalo had a difficult day as the second-team center, with at least three poor shotgun snaps. Offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland was clearly irritated at one point.
-The only three punt returners used were Darren Sproles, Nelson Agholor, and Markus Wheaton.
-According to Nigel Bradham his Week 1 suspension was set to be much worse -- six games -- until the appeals process knocked it down to one game.
-Pederson eschewed the usual build-up to camp by having rookies and selected veterans report early because of the length of last season, feeling the extra rest would be more beneficial.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen