As rain steadily fell on the outdoor practice fields at the NovaCare Complex on Sunday, the Eagles practiced on through the wetness as they prepared for their third preseason game on Thursday against the Cleveland Browns.
A day after he took his first 11-on-11 reps with the team since the earliest days of Training Camp, quarterback Carson Wentz summed up the team's attitude perfectly.
"A little moisture never hurt anybody," Wentz joked to reporters.
Wentz split first-team reps with Nick Foles, following a meeting with the medical and coaching staffs that declared him ready for more full-team drills. And with no slips or miscues, Wentz's performance was encouraging.
"Yesterday went well," Wentz said. "I think early in the week, as far as team and scheme and everything, and just getting back out there for a lot of those guys. But overall, I thought the guys looked good, I felt good, knee was feeling good, so it was a good day."
The next step in the rehab process for Wentz is getting cleared for contact, which would make him eligible to start in a game. He said he has no idea when that will come, and it won't be his decision.
But nothing has changed for Wentz in his desire to get back by Week 1, a plan that he said he came up with independently with the backing of his doctors and surgeon. His rehab has been a "constant progression" but it will still be a "close" call to start on September 6 against Atlanta.
"It was up to the doctors," said Wentz on staying out of 11-on-11s for most of Training Camp. "I would have loved to play in the Super Bowl, too, but I wasn't physically capable. I felt good. Again, it just kind of boiled down to a controlled environment. That's what we wanted to maintain."
Wentz will not play this week against the Browns but left the fourth preseason game against the New York Jets open-ended. He said his focus at the moment is helping the offense with the game plan and taking advantage of his new reps to build chemistry with his teammates.
Offensive coordinator Mike Groh said that Wentz brings a certain energy to practice and he was happy to see him in there. Groh plans to use Wentz in the same way he was used last season, noting that if he's cleared for contact, there's no need to be overly cautious with him. He also said that right now, his splitting reps with Foles hasn't been difficult on the first-team offense.
"It's good to have Carson back in the huddle for sure, and it's just part of the plan that Coach (Doug Pederson) and everyone in the building has laid out and it's good to see Carson in there," Groh said. "So right now, getting ready for our third preseason game, it doesn't present any conflict or any particular challenge in terms of getting those guys ready to play."
Wentz doesn't believe there will be any mental hurdle to overcome once the season starts. He said he wasn't thinking about his knee while practicing on Sunday. But getting more comfortable with playing with the full team on a consistent basis will be key for starting Week 1.
"Practice reps are important without a doubt," Wentz said. "I just think the more reps, the better, the more you're able to get on the same page. And the nice thing is throughout Training Camp and everything, there's a lot of behind the scenes things ... so a lot of it is off the field, too."
As Wentz approaches the final mile in the marathon that has been his rehab since tearing his ACL in Los Angeles on December 10, he took some time to reflect on just how far he has come in a short amount of time. While starting the regular-season opener seemed like a lofty goal for the third-year quarterback when he declared it in January, he may just make it possible in the end.
"It's been a grueling process," Wentz said. "With the offseason, just from a rehab standpoint, when you're in the building every single day, every day during the week, all offseason, you really don't get any break. And it's just the physical limitations early on, getting over that step-by-step. It's been a grueling process, but I'm thankful for where I'm at."