Despite Doug Pederson not being happy the news leaked ahead of time, the Philadelphia Eagles went ahead and announced on Monday that Nick Foles would start at quarterback Week 1.
It’s not much of a surprise. Pederson, in the middle of a testy news conference Sunday, admitted Carson Wentz hadn’t even been cleared for contact. Wentz is coming off a torn ACL last December and the Eagles have preached patience with his recovery.
While all signs for the past couple weeks pointed to Foles starting Thursday night against the Atlanta Falcons, Pederson said he didn’t want to announce it on Sunday. On Monday, he announced his decision.
Nick Foles gets a Week 1 start
Foles started the Eagles’ last game that counted too. It was the Super Bowl, and he won MVP leading the team to a championship. Wentz would have obviously started if healthy, but it’s not like Foles didn’t earn this moment.
Foles did struggle in the preseason, however, and it was a reminder that before the NFC championship game last season he had some bumpy outings. Then he got as hot as any quarterback ever has for a couple games, which will be his football legacy forever.
But it’s also true that we don’t know what to expect from Foles against Atlanta. It could be the quarterback who struggled at the end of last regular season against the Raiders and Cowboys, or the one who torched the Vikings and Patriots as he led the Eagles to their first Super Bowl.
When will Carson Wentz return?
Of course, the story is about more than just Thursday night’s game.
Wentz was an MVP candidate last season and became a superstar in Philadelphia. He tore his ACL in December, which made a tight timetable for his return to action.
Wentz has been practicing, has looked good and says he feels good, but not being cleared for contact is a bit of a warning flag. He still has to clear that hurdle, and the Eagles won’t want to put their franchise quarterback in harm’s way. Because the team plays Thursday night, which is the NFL’s tradition for its reigning Super Bowl champs, the Eagles have a few extra days before Week 2. That might help Wentz be ready by then.
But as soon as Thursday night’s game is over, the dance will begin again. We’ll be wondering about Wentz’s return until he is back on the field, even if Pederson won’t be thrilled to keep talking about it.
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