QB peace pre­vails as Wentz nears re­turn

As Car­son Wentz pro­gresses to­ward his re­turn, QB peace holds

The Mercury (Pottstown, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Bob Grotz bgrotz@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @BobGrotz on Twit­ter

PHILADEL­PHIA » Car­son Wentz hasn’t had a sin­gle set­back in his come­back from torn knee lig­a­ments.

With each Ea­gles prac­tice Wentz does a lit­tle more, whether it’s run­ning strid­ers on an ad­ja­cent field while fel­low quar­ter­backs Nick Foles and Nate Sud­feld al­ter­nate se­ries, or play­ing catch with re­ceiver Al­shon Jeffery, who’s a pretty good tar­get even when he’s not all the way back from a torn ro­ta­tor cuff.

“So far, so good,” Wentz said af­ter prac­tice Wed­nes­day. “The big­gest hur­dle, the last hur­dle is go­ing to be the con­tact is­sue. It’s hard to say, ‘I need X to be ready.’ I think at the end of the day I just need to be cleared for con­tact. Like you see out here now, I’m do­ing quite a bit and come (train­ing) camp I’ll just keep pro­gress­ing and do­ing more and more. To fi­nally be cleared of that con­tact is­sue is re­ally the last hur­dle. And I feel I’ll be ready when­ever that is.”

Wentz threw a Philly Spe­cial pass to Foles dur­ing a play-

ers goof-off seg­ment of prac­tice Wed­nes­day. Mi­nus a cen­ter in a shot­gun drill, Wentz snapped to Foles, who threw it down­field. Wentz of course was stand­ing up­right. No need to push the knee with the lat­eral col­lat­eral and an­te­rior cru­ci­ate lig­a­ments he shred­ded early last De­cem­ber at Los An­ge­les Me­mo­rial Coli­seum.

You’re not alone if you’re won­der­ing what in the world Wentz thinks of while he’s watch­ing Foles, the Su­per Bowl MVP, run the first­team of­fense of the squad that Wentz led to an 11-2 record last sea­son be­fore his in­jury.

Wentz set the Ea­gles’ sin­gle-sea­son club record with his 33rd touch­down pass, fir­ing it on a lame knee to Jeffery at the hal­lowed Coli­seum. Foles stepped in for Wentz and led the Ea­gles to a vic­tory over the Rams, spawn­ing sto­ries of the past in which he tied the sin­gle-game NFL-record with seven TD passes against the Oak­land Raiders in 2013. His spikes are in the Pro Foot­ball Hall of Fame in Can­ton, Ohio.

A lesser man would be at the throat of Foles for steal­ing his thun­der, and his job and his dream. Yet, they co­ex­ist.

“I think first and fore­most it’s the fact that we’re brothers in Christ,” Wentz said. “As brothers in Christ and just putting Christ first in our lives, that kind of breaks down every bar­rier, breaks down every wall. We re­al­ize there’s just so much more to life and such a big­ger pur­pose out there than ar­gu­ing over a lot of lit­tle things.”

That must be why Ea­gles head coach Doug Ped­er­son has faith that his quar­ter­back room won’t turn into the Oc­tagon. What Ped­er­son, the for­mer passer, does very well is man­age the quar­ter­back po­si­tion, us­ing every tool at his dis­posal. Right now, the coach is play­ing the health card. It’s Wentz’s team, but not un­til he’s healthy. And Doug isn’t a doc­tor, blah­blah-blah.

“Those are all things that are kind of out of our con­trol and my con­trol right now,” is the way Ped­er­son put it.

Wentz is mak­ing all the throws that the Ea­gles al­low him to make at prac­tices. Even the knee brace hardly stands out. It looks like more of a sleeve than any­thing.

In terms of health, you don’t let an as­set like Wentz fly to and from Cleve­land in the space of 24 hours to watch LeBron James and the Cava­liers, lest swelling im­pact the knee.

Oh, and just so the Six­ers know, Wentz will make the trip again, with or with­out Zach Ertz, or be at PHL air­port to wel­come LBJ if asked to re­cruit the freeagent-to-be.

“Ab­so­lutely, I hope he’s com­ing,” Wentz said. “Ertz and I were there the other night and un­for­tu­nately he lost and ev­ery­thing. I didn’t re­ally care who won that game. Just see­ing him live. We de­cided to make it a re­cruit­ing trip. … Hope­fully he knows we were there.”

Wentz knows where he is. And he doesn’t think it’s nec­es­sary to play in the pre­sea­son to get over the con­tact hur­dle.

“I kind of stay by my goal that I said a while ago which is Week 1,” Wentz said. “Pre­sea­son, we’ll see. We’ll see. Time will tell.

“But my goal is still tar­get­ing Week 1.”

MATT SLOCUM — THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS FILE

Philadel­phia Ea­gles quater­backs Car­son Wentz (11), Nick Foles (9), and Nate Sud­feld (7) walk to­gether dur­ing the team’s prac­tice at the No­vaCare Com­plex last week. Wentz was hav­ing an MVP sea­son be­fore a torn ACL forced him to the side­line where he watched Foles lead the Ea­gles to their first Su­per Bowl vic­tory.

CHRIS SZAGOLA — THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Ea­gles quar­ter­back Car­son Wentz, right, throws to re­ceiver Mack Hollins dur­ing the team’s prac­tice Wed­nes­day in Philadel­phia.

CHRIS SZAGOLA — THE AP

Ea­gles quar­ter­back Car­son Wentz runs a drill dur­ing prac­tice at the team’s train­ing camp Wed­nes­day.

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