With Carson Wentz out, Eagles use underdog status as fuel

From ESPN - January 12, 2018

PHILADELPHIA -- It took some time for the shock of the Carson Wentz injury to subside, coach Doug Pederson acknowledged.

One minute the Philadelphia Eagles had a potential MVP who looked invincible as he shook off defenders and muscled through would-be tackles to make the big play. The next he was on a cart, an air cast around his left leg, being driven up the Coliseum driveway and out of sight.

"It does take a little while when you lose your starting quarterback, obviously," Pederson said Thursday.

But it's been a little over a month now, and the Eagles have gotten used to the new normal. Wentz is still a presence in the building. He's there for rehab in the morning, will sit in on the quarterback meetings and occasionally takes in a practice.According to Pederson, Wentz talks with his replacement, Nick Foles, throughout the course of the day. He is also on the sidelines pregame, zipping around on crutches. As a team captain, he still goes to midfield for the coin toss before heading for a team booth to watch the game.

"I still want Carson to be a part of the process," Pederson said. "I mean, hes a big reason why were 13-3 and where we are today. So same way with the rest of the guys that are hurt, I do want them to feel a part of what were doing and help their positions where they can."

But there's also a need for Wentz to be at least partly in the background so Foles can command center stage. It has taken some getting used to, but Foles has re-acclimated to being back out in front, per Pederson, and just in time for Saturday's divisional-round playoff matchup against the Atlanta Falcons.

"Hes definitely feeling more comfortable in the role of embracing the starting position. When youve got a sudden change like that, and how it happened, it can obviously be ... its never an easy thing to go through," Pederson said. "But each week thats gone by, theres more and more confidence. Just learning his voice inflection in the huddle for guys can be a big difference. And those things have been all sorted out in the last couple weeks that hes played and been on the field.


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