The Carson Wentz era will officially begin Sunday. Eagles head coach Doug Pederson confirmed Monday morning that the rookie quarterback will start against the Cleveland Browns.
“Everybody feels like this kid is ready to go,’’ Pederson said. “We drafted him to take over the reins. We have to be smart in how we handle it. But at the same time, we fully expect him to perform like he’s capable of performing.’’
Pederson said Wentz’s two fractured ribs, which kept him out of the last three preseason games, have completely healed.
“What he’s done around this building, the plays he’s made in practice, in the one preseason game, has given me confidence that he can lead this football team,’’ Pederson said. “I’m excited. We’re going full steam ahead.’’
Pederson said he would have been content to let Wentz spend the season watching and learning behind Sam Bradford. But when the Minnesota Vikings offered the Eagles a first-round pick and a conditional fourth-round selection for Bradford over the weekend, everything changed.
“It was right for this football team,’’ he said. “This is something I believe in, we believe in. This is why we drafted him.
“Would the ideal situation be later than sooner? Sure. But right now, where we are, we’ve got a good football team around him. We’ve got a good defense. Good special teams. Good offensive line. Good runner. So all the pieces are here for him to be successful and for us to win some games.’’
Pederson said the reaction of the players to the news that Wentz would be the season-opening starter was entirely positive.
“Guys were excited,’’ he said. “They were excited for Carson. Obviously, when you lose your quarterback in Sam, it could be mixed emotion. But the guys were 100 percent behind it and thrilled that Carson is going to be the guy.
“They’ve seen him day in and day out like we’ve seen him. They know he can be a special player in this league. They’ve embraced it and support it 100 percent.’’