Philadelphia Eagles News

Doug Pederson Will Privately Decide Week 1 Starter Friday

By the time head coach Doug Pederson addresses the media at the NovaCare Complex again this weekend, he will know who the Week 1 starting quarterback will be. However, he will keep everyone else in suspense.

Pederson addressed the media on Tuesday and informed reporters that he will privately decide on Friday if Carson Wentz or Nick Foles will start Week 1 at quarterback but wait to release that information until 90 minutes before the Eagles' regular-season opener on September 6 against the Falcons.

Wentz will not play against the Jets in the preseason finale on Thursday night but Pederson shot down a report that he has received more snaps this week than other Eagles quarterbacks.

"Reps were identical this week actually," Pederson said. "We didn't increase them. This is still preseason and we're giving all of our quarterbacks reps at this time. Obviously, when you get into the regular season and start game planning then obviously you want whoever that gentleman is going to be to take the full complement of reps."

Pederson gave no new information on the state of Wentz's injury after informing reporters on Monday that he is getting evaluated every day. However, he said due to the nature of his rehabilitation, Wentz, like other players returning from injury, is stronger and in better shape than others in his position group.

"When he came back into the 11-on-11, one of the noticeable changes and differences was his lower-body strength and how well he's progressed through his rehab and conditioning," Pederson said. "I would say now that he is physically stronger than Nick (Foles), or Joe (Callahan), or even Christian (Hackenberg) ... I think it's realistic to say that he's a little more conditioned at this point in camp than the other guys."

Pederson also offered updates on several key players. Wide receiver Mack Hollins has a lower-body injury that has improved with rest and he will be ready to go for Week 1. Running back Jay Ajayi has been improving with his lower-body injury and will continue to be evaluated. And wide receiver Alshon Jeffery has done well in the rehab of his shoulder injury. He will be monitored next week as his status for Week 1 remains uncertain.

The Eagles approach the final preseason game of the year on Thursday with an 0-3 record thus far. Pederson said in the fourth game, key position battles will be what he is primarily watching. He said he also hopes to see good execution and game-management skills on the field from quarterbacks Joe Callahan and Christian Hackenberg.

At the moment, Pederson is unsure if quarterback Nate Sudfeld will see playing time. This weekend, the team will make cuts to create the 53-man roster and the practice squad for the 2018 season.

"Obviously, for these young receivers, it's not only making the 53 but we're looking at guys also for the practice squad," Pederson said. "This is a good time for these young guys to really make a stand ... really, right now it's just about seeing these guys one last time in this kind of environment."

With cuts coming and players set to be placed on the practice squad and on waivers, Pederson and the personnel staff have tough decisions to make about young players with potential who just may not have a place on the roster yet. He said for most players, it's easy to tell if they will be picked up by other teams. But for others, the tough decision ahead will come with plenty of uncertainty.

"You do have a pretty good feel and a lot of time it's just based on the player," Pederson said. "For the most part, you're just kind of hoping and praying that these guys make it through and you can bring them back."

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