ORLANDO-Carson Wentz will be the Philadelphia Eagles' starting quarterback when he returns, and though the team is encouraged about Wentz's progress from a torn anterior cruciate ligament, coach Doug Pederson would not offer a definite timetable for Wentz's return to the field.
The hope remains that Wentz will be ready for Week 1 of the regular season, but he might not play in the preseason. The North Dakota State standout is entering his third season in the NFL.
"Very encouraged with where he's at, the direction he's headed," Pederson said Tuesday at the NFL annual meeting. "It's day-by-day. I'm not rushing him, by no means. He's working extremely hard, obviously, trying to get himself ready to go. But really, no timetable. I'm not going to push him out there if he's not ready, much like we did with Sidney (Jones). I don't want to rush him back; make sure he's 100 percent. But knowing Carson, he's going to try to maybe get out there sooner than later. But be smart with it, make good decisions. But right now, really encouraged in the direction he's heading."
Pederson does not expect Wentz to participate in any on-field portion of the offseason workouts, including individual drills. Nick Foles and Nate Sudfeld will be the top quarterbacks during those sessions, with Sudfeld likely to "get a lot of reps," Pederson said.
The Eagles will develop their No. 3 quarterback because there will be fewer practice snaps once Wentz returns. Foles will also be relegated when Wentz returns, which might be difficult for a Super Bowl MVP. Pederson does not expect that to be a problem.
"That's obviously probably a Nick question. But I know Nick and his mentality, and I think he's fine with that," Pederson said. "He understands it's Carson's team. He knew that last year. But he did embrace his role and did it superbly. But moving forward, I think he's going to be OK."
Pederson said he will trust his training staff to keep the reins on Wentz, who will be eager to return to the field. Wentz has been at the facility "every day" and has progressed to walking in the team's pool. And whenever Wentz returns to practice, Pederson said it will be a "slow process."
Pederson is spending time this spring thinking about how he'll integrate Wentz into individual drills and 7-on-7 workouts while making sure Wentz has a safe throwing pocket without falling bodies around him.
That could mean that the Eagles keep Wentz sidelined in preseason games regardless of his progress. Pederson noted how Wentz played as a rookie without a full preseason.
"I don't necessarily need him in preseason," Pederson said. "I need him ready for Week 1."
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