The Eagles have a unique quarterback situation on their hands, and head coach Doug Pederson will have some tough decisions to make when training camp convenes in late July.
Sam Bradford is the starter, and got all of the first team reps during OTAs and minicamp with Chase Daniel playing with the twos, and rookie Carson Wentz playing with the threes.
However, despite the fact that Wentz — the No. 2 overall pick in May’s NFL draft and the future of the franchise — played with the third stringers, he got pretty close to the exact same number of reps as his fellow QBs.
“Right now, it’s equal; it’s thirds,” Pederson said last week before minicamp broke for the six-week summer break.”It’s equal and right now leaning towards that going into training camp.”
There is not much precedent for Pederson to go off of, as far as how to train and practice his quarterbacks this offseason. One instance he used for reference is the situation in Green Bay from about a decade ago.
“Ihaven’t gone back and studied exactly how they handled those situations,” Pederson said.”Obviously, you can see it from afar, the Aaron Rodgers-Brett Favre deal, and even as far back as [Joe] Montana and Steve Young in that situation. But I haven’t gone as far as studying how they practiced, the number of reps or things of that nature. I haven’t looked that far into it.”
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Pederson will just go with his gut during his first training camp as an NFL head coach, and hopefully properly balance Bradford’s need to prepare for the season with Wentz’ to prepare for the future.
“It will ultimately be myself and [offensive coordinator Frank Reich] having those conversations and saying, ‘Hey, you’ve got to get Sam and Chase enough reps as you go,'” Pederson said.
So how does all of this fly with Wentz himself? He knows he can’t play with the first team, even though he wants to.
“As a competitor you want those reps but you have to find a way to learn,” he said last week. “Whether it’s inthe film room, watching from the back or getting live reps, either way I’ll be learning.
“I need to continue to watch film and learn the nuances of it … you can never spend enough time studying the playbook, studying the film.”
The simple fact is, Wentz will be a sponge this offseason, and whether he is on the field throwing the football or watching from the sidelines — or watching film — the rookie will be growing as an NFL player.
“[I think] where he needs to improve, is a little bit in his fundamentals: his lower body and footwork,” Pederson said. “He gets a little long in his stride. And then just understanding why certain plays are called, which he probably understood in his offense in college at North Dakota State and now he needs to figure out and learn why [Frank Reich] or I are calling certain plays in practice and put all those pieces together. And that’s part of the maturity and the growth for young quarterbacks in any offense.”