ORLANDO – Head coach Doug Pederson said in his hour-long media breakfast on Tuesday at the NFL's Annual Meeting that he is "very encouraged" with the progress made by quarterback Carson Wentz in his recovery from the knee injury that ended Wentz's 2017 Eagles season, but Pederson tempered any long-term expectation of when Wentz might step back on the football field.
"Very encouraged where he's at, the direction he's headed. It's day by day. Not rushing him, by no means," Pederson said. "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 when maybe he's not ready. Much like we did with Sidney (Jones, cornerback who spent most of the 2017 recovering from an Achilles tendon injury), I don't want to rush him back. I want to make sure he's 100 percent.
"Knowing Carson, he's going to try to maybe get out there sooner than later. Be smart with it. Make good decisions. Right now, really encouraged with the direction he's headed."
Pederson said Wentz would "probably not" be able to take part in any on-field activities when the team gets on the field for Organized Team Activities. Ever the competitor, Wentz is pushing himself in his recovery. That's a good thing. It's also important that Wentz and the team's athletic training staff makes sure to continue the rehab in a safe manner, with the long term in mind.
If Wentz had it his way, he might want to be even more aggressive.
"He's aggressive and he's going to want to push the envelope a little bit," Pederson said. "Again, we're going to be smart with it. I like where he's at, but I'm not going to push him."
Nick Foles, then, will take the first-team reps in the spring and Nate Sudfeld will work in as the No. 2 quarterback and really integrate himself into the offense by taking a lot of practice reps. That the quarterback room is unchanged means a lot to Pederson, a former quarterback in the league.
Stability is a good thing.
"It's a great room, great dynamic," Pederson said. "I'm excited that we still have all three guys."
Pederson added that he strongly believes that Foles is fine knowing that "this is Carson's team" and that when Wentz is ready to play, he will be the starting quarterback. Foles, of course, earned Most Valuable Player honors in the Super Bowl victory over New England on February 4. Foles started four regular-season games after Wentz was injured agaisnt the Rams on December 10. Foles was 3-1 in those four starts and then won three more games in the postseason.