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Eagles upbeat over return of Wentz

Sports Xchange
19 Sep 2018, 11:45 GMT+10

It had only been about 30 hours or since his Philadelphia Eagles teammates heard the news that quarterback Carson Wentz would be starting his first game since her tore two knee ligaments on Dec. 10.

Still, there was plenty of reaction in the locker room of the reigning Super Bowl champions.

"All he has to do is be Carson Wentz," said Eagles right tackle Lane Johnson. "We have to protect better, run the ball efficiently and everything else will take care of itself."

Wide receiver Nelson Agholor was asked if there was a change in the players' mood now that the franchise quarterback is back on the field.

"Well this is the Philadelphia Eagles so the mood is always going to be when you come into this building, you come in hungry and excited," Agholor said. "Carson's been in this building whether he was playing or not and Nick (Foles), as our quarterback, he gave me opportunities every time we went out there and he's somebody I love to prepare to play a game with, same as Carson."

Philadelphia coach Doug Pederson announced on Monday that Wentz would be back under center for in Week 3 against the Indianapolis Colts at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.

The Eagles split their first two games this season, scoring a combined 39 points after dropping a 27-21 decision at Tampa Bay on Sunday.

Nick Foles, who stepped in after Wentz was injured last season and guided Philadelphia to a Super Bowl championship, has thrown for one touchdown and one interception in the first two games.

The Most Valuable Player in the Super Bowl LII win over New England, Foles managed only 117 yards in the season opener versus Atlanta before throwing for 334 yards on 35-of-48 against the Buccaneers.

Pederson said he doesn't anticipate any issues with Foles returning to his backup role.

"The greatest thing for me is that (quarterback) room has no egos, and Nick all along has understood that this is Carson's football team," Pederson said. "We drafted Carson to be the guy. We owe a lot of gratitude to Nick Foles for what he's done, what he has done, what he's done this season and how he's led this football team. He's a pro's pro."

Wentz was not medically cleared to return until Monday. He is approximately nine months removed from sustaining a torn ACL and LCL in his left knee against the Los Angeles Rams.

"I think just watching him move around physically and some of the things he's done, he's ready and ready to take the reins again and move forward," Pederson said. He's excited. ... In his mind he was probably ready a month ago. Our plan was in place, he understood it, he embraced that, and now he is ready."

Before the injury Wentz was a front-runner in the league's MVP discussion and set a franchise record for most touchdowns in a single season with 33.

Pederson cautioned that Wentz may need some time to get used to various aspects of being in a live game once again.

"I think maybe there'll be an issue or two," Pederson said. "It will take some time to get back into the rhythm and the flow of game. The speed of the game is different than the speed at practice. So we do everything we can to try to simulate that during the week and try to prepare him that way. He's a guy that will be totally prepared."

The Eagles have started slowly in each of the first two games and have scored a combined 10 points in the first half. The hope is that Wentz will provide a spark to an offense that has been without wide receiver Alshon Jeffery, who is recovering from offseason shoulder surgery.

"He is not Superman," Pederson said of Wentz. "It's going to take all 10 other guys around him to get it done.

"Whenever you get one of your starters back, it's great. I'm excited to get him back out there, but at the same time, it's not about one guy and we can't lose sight of that. We have other issues, offensively, defensively and special teams we need to clean up. As exciting as it is to have him back, your starting quarterback, we still have some other areas to fix."

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