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August 01, 2018

Is Wentz's reduced role at Eagles training camp a cause for concern?

Eagles NFL
080118_Wentz-Carson-staff Matt Mullin/PhillyVoice

Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz hasn't participated in 11-on-11 drills since Saturday.

If you follow the Eagles closely, you'll know that last week was a big one for Carson Wentz. Contrary to the expectations of almost everyone, the recovering quarterback not only avoided placement on the PUP list, but also was a full participant in practice — even getting reps with the first team in 11-on-11 team drills.

Then, after Saturday, the full participation stopped.

Wentz still did individual drills and 7-on-7 drills, but was limited like he was back in the spring in minicamp.

Eagles head coach Doug Pederson emphasized with an annoyed smile that there was no timetable for Wentz' return and offered this explanation for the scaled back workload for his star QB: “What I saw last week was enough to ease my mind. I don’t need to see him in 11-on-11.”

It makes sense, when you think about it. With the future of the franchise riding on a healthy Wentz — next year and for years to come — there's no reason to force unnecessary reps with bodies flying around him left and right as he recovers from ACL surgery.

"My understanding is that the coaches and trainers and everybody wants to stay in a more controlled environment right now," Wentz said Wednesday, "so thats what they were doing.

"I'm not exactly sure what the concern was," Wentz continued, when asked why he suddenly did see his participation wane. "I'm not sure there was a concern, I haven't been cleared for contact so they want to keep me in controlled environments."

Wentz went on to underline the fact that while other players have gotten an off day here or there, "I haven't missed a day yet."

Wentz has been a total pro during this entire stretch as rehab, answering reporters questions — many of them repeated over and over — while keeping his head down and working toward his return to the field. But Wentz isn't the only one.

As Birds fans also know, quite a few pro bowlers were sidelined with injury in 2017, and unsurprisingly the group of "wounded birds" bonded for life as they watched the Eagles historic run wearing street clothes.

"With Darren Sproles, or Jason Peters, Jordan Hicks, Chris Maragos, a handful of us unfortunately, being in that training room even last year coming into the playoffs, having to watch the Super Bowl on the sideline we definitely grew a bond," Wentz said. "We already had one as teammates but we grew closer and it's even more motivation coming into this year."

Maragos is still on the PUP list, but the others — Peters, Hicks and Sproles — have all been active in camp. Sproles in particular, at 35 and coming off ACL surgery, has really turned heads.

"We know Darren," Wentz said of the veteran running back. "We have seen him year in and year out, you guys see it, he's one of the hardest workers on this team, really in the league. Its Darren what do you expect."

"Nothing really amazes me from that guy," tight end Zac Ertz also said of watching Sproles perform this summer. "I train with him in the offseason. I used to train with him in San Diego, just to see what magic potion he is drinking but his magic potion is just hard work. He had the first kickoff return today, you cant even tell he had ACL surgery this year. He is just as fast and quick."


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