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May 10, 2019

Will Carson Wentz be ready for the start of Eagles OTAs? Doug Pederson won't say

The Eagles coach didn't appear to be in the mood to answer any questions about his (still?) injured quarterback.

Carson Wentz's shadow looms large at the NovaCare Complex, as is often the case for starting quarterbacks across the NFL, especially those with the skills of Wentz. So it should come as no surprise that the status of the Eagles' quarterback, who suffered a season-ending stress fracture in his back last season, was the first topic at Doug Pederson's first press conference of the Birds' offseason workout program.

"His involvement — I'm not going to get too specific or detail a lot of things, but he's been working," Pederson said on Friday during rookie minicamp. "[We're] encouraged by his progress and where he's at and just looking forward to the next few weeks with him."

That's not exactly a strong endorsement of Wentz's health, but it could simply be the coach playing things close to the vest, as he's done in the past when it comes to his 26-year-old passer. However, if he was certain Wentz was going to be ready, why not just say so? It's not like he wasn't afforded ample opportunity.

This exchange between Pederson and a reporter immediately followed the opening question about Wentz. And the Eagles coach didn't seem too pleased to be answering questions about his quarterback's health, although that should be old hat for him at this point.

REPORTER: "When OTAs start in less than two weeks, will [Wentz] be on the field?"

PEDERSON: "How does that pertain to rookie minicamp?"

REPORTER: "It's all about Carson, right?"

PEDERSON: "No, it's about the rookies that are in this weekend."

REPORTER: "OK, so you won't say if he's going to be on the field?"

PEDERSON: "Not right now, not until we get to that point. He's on the field right now in Phase 2 [of the offseason program]."

REPORTER: "But it's a different type of practice, a different type of workout from OTAs..."

PEDERSON: "Yeah, we'll address it when we get to OTAs."

Perhaps the reason Pederson didn't want to get into the details is because he doesn't yet know if Wentz, who recently had his fifth-year option picked up, will be ready when OTAs begin in a couple of weeks. After all, it's not like this would be coming out of nowhere. Just last month, Wentz admitted that he wasn't sure when he would be ready, despite already passing the three-month recovery timetable that was given when he was first diagnosed.

"Knee injuries and rehab is aggressive and it's not fun for anybody," Wentz said back in mid-April. "This back injury obviously is not fun either, but it's a different thing. The life whirlwind is a little different as well. I feel good with where I'm at."

Wentz also said that he was "feeling good," but that he and the team were "kind of taking it week by week."

"I am throwing some, running some and I feel good," he added. "There's really no time table, no rush. I feel good with the progression."

At the time, Wentz said his goal was to be ready by the start of OTAs. Now, less than two weeks away from that self-imposed deadline arriving, questions remain. And it's beginning to look like Wentz might be limited, at least to start, when OTAs open on May 21.

What remains to be seen is whether that's just the Eagles playing it safe, or if there's actually reason for concern. The smart money still seems to be on the former.

MORE: Jimmy Kempski's (mostly) useless, way-too-early Eagles 53-man roster projection

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