Philadelphia Eagles’ Carson Wentz, in middle of long rehab, searches for normalcy
Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz throws before the NFL Super Bowl 52 football game against the New England Patriots Sunday, Feb. 4, 2018, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
PHILADELPHIA — Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz said he’s started running as part of his rehab from a torn ACL. His injured left knee feels stronger everyday. And the 25-year-old franchise player still has Week 1 of the regular season in mind as a target to return to game action.
Each update Wentz passed along Tuesday during the Eagles’ first media session of their offseason workout program was positive.
But it’s not ideal that the team’s brightest star is answering these questions at all. Wentz would rather be healthy and prepared to hit the field this spring. And his responses Tuesday showed that as he works through an arduous rehab process, he’s also searching for continuity.
He’s clinging onto the things that would make this offseason ordinary.
Though Wentz can’t suit up in practice, he’s said he watches Eagles fill most mornings. He’ll play under a new quarterbacks coach (Press Taylor) and offensive coordinator (Mike Groh), but he pointed out Tuesday that Taylor and Groh were on staff last season. And Wentz said he’s excited to build on a strong 2018 season with several returning pass-catchers, like Alshon Jeffery, Zach Ertz and Nelson Agholor.
“Mental reps, all that stuff is important,” Wentz said. “The nice thing is, it’s not a lot of turnover offensively as far as new pieces. You know, it’ll be similar faces, and the chemistry is already there and the playbook isn’t really changing.”
It’s clear that while Wentz is focused on his own rehab, he doesn’t want to miss out on the benefits of going through a traditional third offseason in the NFL. He hopes his progression will continue, which is why he’s done more than just strengthen his knee over the past few months.
Wentz said he’s thrown while seated to improve his arm strength and studied Philadelphia’s weaknesses from last season. Tight end Zach Ertz said it seems like Wentz is always thinking about the sport and even talked about schemes during a recent mission trip to Haiti.
“The guy loves the game of football,” Ertz said. “He’s passionate about football. He still has the same mindset as if he were able to do all of OTAs.”
That, with Wentz, is the key.
NFL quarterbacks so often make significant improvements from Year 2 to Year 3 and Wentz was an MVP candidate in his second season. Now he’s entering his third campaign in the pros and after watching his teammates win the Super Bowl from the sideline, he wants to return to the top of the sport on a healthy left leg.
“I expect to succeed and I expect winning seasons and I expect those things,” Wentz said. “That’s just how I’m wired.”
To accomplish those goals, Wentz has to stay committed to his rehab. But it seems like he doesn’t plan to let that process consume him or rob him of an offseason’s worth of improvement.
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