Good morning, Eagles fans. The news wasn’t good on Monday, when an MRI exam confirmed Carson Wentz tore his ACL and is out for the season. Nick Foles is now the starting quarterback, and he will meet with reporters on Tuesday afternoon. So will offensive coordinator Frank Reich and defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz.
- Doug Pederson didn’t just deliver the news that Wentz is out for the season on Monday. He delivered a forceful message to Eagles fans and perhaps even players. If you expected the news conference to be a memorial service for Wentz’s season, you were wrong. There was no woe-is-me attitude from Pederson. His message was about pledging confidence in Foles and emphasizing how the team has overcome key injuries already this season. He insisted that everything remains in front of the Eagles, including their Super Bowl hopes. It was a deliberate approach, and it could set the tone for the week. He refused to let the team see him waver or sweat. “I’m going to lead this football team,” Pederson said. “It falls more on my shoulders than it does these players. That’s why they need to stay encouraged. That’s why they need to stay excited about this opportunity we have in front of us.”
- Wentz took to social media Monday night to offer his message to fans and teammates. Wentz acknowledged it’s been a “rough day,” but that he has relied on his faith to get through the injury. “I can promise to everybody, in the Philly area, the North Dakota area, all across this country, that this will not stop me,” Wentz said. “Going forward, I will come back stronger than ever.” He also reiterated the “next-man-up mentality” that the Eagles have relied upon to overcome injuries this season, and said he will be “with the team along the way.”
- Every Tuesday, we look at the playing time distribution from the previous game. What stood out from Sunday? Jay Ajayi’s playing time continues to rise. He took 47 percent of the running back snaps, with LeGarrette Blount only getting 16 percent, and Corey Clement taking 30 percent. On defense, it appears the Eagles only went with nickel and dime formations because Nigel Bradham and Mychal Kendricks were the only linebackers to take defensive snaps.
If your friends haven’t subscribed to Early Birds, it’s free to sign up here to receive the newsletter in your inbox every weekday. I want to know what you think, what we should add, and what you want to read, so send me feedback by email or on Twitter @ZBerm. Thank you for reading.
— Zach Berman
What you need to know about the Eagles
- Carson Wentz tore his ACL and Nick Foles is now the Eagles’ quarterback.
- What should you expect from a Foles-led offense? Jeff McLane tells you.
- Wentz might be out, but Marcus Hayes says the Eagles are still Super Bowl contenders.
- Bob Ford warns Eagles fans that there’s no guarantee Wentz will ever be the same.
- Don’t blame Doug Pederson or Wentz, Les Bowen writes.
- Wentz tweeted a video message to fans and teammates on Monday night, Ed Barkowitz writes.
- Learn the science behind Wentz’s ACL recovery, by Stacy Burling.
- What are the latest playoff scenarios for the Eagles?
- Sidney Jones will finally practice this week for the first time since coming to Philadelphia.
- What did McLane learn in the Eagles’ win?
- Paul Domowitch offers five reasons why the Eagles won.
- If you missed Monday’s Early Birds, it looked at the bittersweet aftermath of Sunday’s game.
From the mailbag
Fair to be concerned about Wentz’s long term outlook? Same player next year?
— Michael (@mringhof) December 12, 2017
It’s hard to say. Every player is different, every knee is different. ACL injuries have become somewhat common and players make full recoveries. I’ve covered players who return better than before, and some who are never the same. This is a major injury that requires significant time to recover. Certainly, mobility is a big part of Carson Wentz’s game, so you need to see how his movement is affected. It could be a year before we can answer that question. It’s going to be the dominant story all summer — especially in training camp and the preseason, when Wentz’s progress leading up to the season will be tracked daily. It’s fair to be concerned because of how good he is and the significance of the injury, but there are also enough success stories to be optimistic.