Remember the Eagles' plan to trade a ton of draft picks to move up to No. 2, draft Carson Wentz, let him learn in training camp and ease into a role as the quarterback of the future?
Well, they didn't count on Wentz getting hurt in his first preseason game.
The rookie took a hard hit to the ribs late Thursday after going 12-for-24 (for 89 yards and one interception) against the Buccaneers and suffered a hairline fracture of one of his ribs. He's been watching practice from the sidelines ever since.
“I just have to give it time,” he said, “and we'll see what happens."
The injury was avoidable, says Eagles offensive coordinator Frank Reich. But he doesn't blame Wentz for the setback.
"Obviously as coaches, you cringe when that happens," Reich told the media Monday. "But it was a fourth and 7, he took it up inside the corner, kind of flashed at the last second and he didn't see him. I think Carson gets it. I think he gets it. I think he'll slide when he needs to slide. The injury came on a play where that could have happened to anybody. That had really nothing to do [with him], other than they ran a blitz we couldn't pick up. We just needed to make a slight adjustment in what we did there and get that ball out a little bit quicker."
The plan was, obviously, for Wentz to get reps early in camp to get his feet underneath him before Doug Pederson pivots to the starter, Sam Bradford, as the main recipient of practice reps. So what now?
"It’s still easy for him to grow," Reich said, "[He’s] just got to concentrate and get the mental reps. We're all a big believer in that. You can get the mental reps, you can still get a lot of film study and still be interacting with the players. Maybe even to more of an extent, interacting with the receivers, and talking about what you expect as a quarterback."
Wentz agrees, and will continue to get himself acclimated with the NFL.
“That’s part of being a backup quarterback,” Wentz said. "You gotta get the mental reps whether you’re hurt or on the field. That’s what I’ve been doing.”
An optimistic Eagles estimate for Wentz' return is for the team's final preseason game against the Steelers in September. Is it too optimistic?
“I really hope so,” Wentz said. “Heck, I’d love to play tomorrow. That’s kind of how I am. We’ll have to wait and see what the doctors recommend.”
“It hurts,” Wentz also said. “It hurts … pretty much everything I do, but it’ll be all right.”