Wentz, Foles Both Getting First-Team Reps
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - For the first time, this summer the bigger surprise for the Eagles on Sunday was that Nick Foles was taking part in team drills.
Typically, all eyes are on Carson Wentz and his continued rehab from ACL/LCL surgery but Wentz indicated he would be back in 11-on-11 team work on Tuesday and that came to fruition.
"[Carson is] going to jump back into some team drills," Doug Pederson said before practice. "[He’ll be] limited, obviously. Still part of his rehab, but he's going to jump into some 11-on-11 today."
The coach did admit, however, the return to team drills, something Wentz had not participated in since July 28, was a big step in the effort to get the third-year signal caller on the field and ready to go against Atlanta on Sept. 6.
"It's big to begin to evaluate him and see where he's at and get him back in there with the guys," Pederson explained. "It's still a slow process but at the same time it's exciting for him."
From a physical perspective, Pederson is happy about where Wentz is.
"His arm is live," the coach said. "He hasn't had all the reps that a normal -- like Nick has had, like [QB] Nate [Sudfeld] has had. So his arm is live and he's fresh. That's all the things that we wanted him and where we kind of wanted him to be at this stage."
The last stage for Wentz remains the all clear from the doctors and Pederson indicated that he would need to see a full week of practice from Wentz before starting him against the Falcons.
"I haven't thought much more about [anything beyond] today obviously and getting him out there, and I'll cross that bridge when he's finally cleared for the actual play," Pederson said when asked if that remained the path forward. "Right now, we’re just going to continue to evaluate him and sprinkle him in when we can."
Lane Johnson was thrilled with the news that Wentz was back in team drills.
"The sheriff is back in town," the All-Pro right tackle said.
As for Foles, the thought he would be ready to go just three days after being removed from the preseason game against the Patriots with a "strained shoulder" was certainly not expected.
"He's fine," the coach declared when discussing the Super Bowl MVP.
So fine that Foles was expected to split the first-team reps with Wentz as the Eagles ramp up in an effort to hedge their bets against the Falcons.
"Basically with he and Carson, I'm going to give both those guys about 50/50 today," Pederson said.
NEWS AND NOTES:
-This was the first post-training camp practice for the Eagles, meaning only stretching and individual drills were open to the media. The team went ahead and practiced outside despite a persistent light rain in South Philadelphia.
-The Eagles remain really banged-up at running back and it looked like Jay Ajayi joined a list that includes Corey Clement (ankle), Donnel Pumphrey (hamstring) and Josh Adams (lower-body) as those not practicing. Ajayi was at his locker before practice so this could have been a load-management thing.
-On the other hand, it looked like receiver Mack Hollins, who had been out, was ready to go.
-Pederson admitted he doesn't need to see anything from veterans Darren Sproles or Jason Peters in the preseason.
"Overall, they're doing great. They're right on track and both healthy and doing a nice job," Pederson said. "I don't necessarily need to see these two guys. These two guys have played a ton of games. Sproles has really never -- since I've been here -- hasn't really played in a pre-season game at all. And Jason is very limited usually through camp. Try to get him to the regular season and keep him healthy for 16 games."
-Tight end Richard Rodgers, who injured his knee against the Patriots, was described week-to-week by Pederson.
-Before practice, Halapoulivaati Vaitai was very honest about his poor performance in New England and did not make any excuses.
"It wasn't Big V [T Halapoulivaati Vaitai], for whatever reason," Pederson admitted. "He's definitely played better. We know exactly who he is. He's hard on himself like anybody is. There are some things he would want back obviously, but at the same time, he understands what he needs to do to continue to get better and improve."
-Also spoke to Christian Hackenberg before practice who admitted a lack of reps is very difficult to overcome as a young quarterback.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen