PHILADELPHIA — If the Eagles’ 2018 regular season started today, Nick Foles would be the starting quarterback.
As for the official opening game against Atlanta on Sept. 6, it’s still not known if Foles or Carson Wentz will be playing against the Falcons.
“Standing here right now, if we’re playing a game, I’d probably say Nick Foles is going out on the field because Carson isn’t ready (to play),” Eagles coach Doug Pederson said Tuesday at the NovaCare Complex. “That’s where we’re at right now. I can’t speak for September because I don’t know where we’re going to be at that time.”
Wentz has made impressive progress since tearing the anterior cruciate and lateral collateral ligaments in his left knee against the Los Angeles Rams last Dec. 10. Before he was injured, he was considered a NFL Most Valuable Player candidate, having thrown a franchise-record 33 touchdown passes against just seven interceptions.
He’s been very active during the three-day minicamp, which ends Thursday afternoon. On Tuesday, he joined Foles, Nate Sudfeld and Holy Spirit High School graduate Joe Callahan in working on his drops and footwork, changing direction while coaches rolled and tossed tennis balls at them.
On Wednesday, he took some reps during the seven-on-seven portion of practice before retreating to another section of the field to do some exercises with the athletic trainers.
One workout featured him sprinting 10 yards while dragging a 25-pound plate behind him. While Foles ran the offense during full-team drills, Wentz played catch with wide receiver Alshon Jeffery, who is sitting out while recovering from offseason surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff.
“I feel good,” Wentz said after Wednesday’s workout. “I’d love to be out there going full bore, but I’m just trying to stay the course. It’s a fluid process. I’m hitting little benchmarks along the way. Once training camp comes around, I’ll try to do a little more, a little more. I feel confident with where I’m at right now.”
Foles has been taking all the reps with the first-team offense and has been performing well.
He’s picked up where he left off last season, when he led the Eagles to their first Super Bowl championship with a 41-33 victory over New England in Super Bowl LII. Foles, who was the Super Bowl MVP, threw three TD passes and also caught one against the Patriots after throwing three more TD passes in a 38-7 victory over Minnesota in the NFC championship game.
“Ultimately, Carson’s getting ready to play,” Foles said Tuesday. “He’s working on getting healthy. But at the same time, I’m ready to play. I’m equipped to do that. I think I’ve shown that. I think the most important thing is to put egos aside and want what’s best for the team.”
The situation has created an interesting dynamic in the Eagles’ locker room.
Foles is currently the starter, but will undoubtedly go back to the bench once Wentz is healthy enough to play. The fact that the two are friends and both have the support of their teammates has reduced the potential for a quarterback controversy.
“Those two have always had a great friendship, though they have different personalities,” tight end Zach Ertz said Wednesday. “Carson definitely has that alpha personality while Nick tends to lead by example. There is no right answer. Both ways of leading work.”
Notes: Wentz and Ertz were in Cleveland to see Game 4 of the NBA Finals last week. Wentz said Wednesday that he’s hoping LeBron James will be playing for the 76ers next season.
“Absolutely,” Wentz said. “I hope he’s coming. We decided to make it a recruiting trip. We didn’t speak to him, but hopefully he knows we were there.”
Eagles long snapper Rick Lovato celebrated the Super Bowl victory by getting a tattoo of the Lombardi Trophy on his side. He said also got it in part because former legendary coach Vince Lombardi is buried in Lovato’s hometown of Middletown in Monmouth County.
Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins gave out T-shirts that read “You Aren’t Listening” to several teammates.
The Eagles named former Tennessee Titans assistant athletic trainer Jerome Reid as their head athletic trainer and promoted Joe O’Pella to associate head athletic trainer.