If there was any doubt about who the Philadelphia Eagles would choose as their starting quarterback for the 2019 season, head coach Doug Pederson put it to rest Tuesday, per Jeff McLane of Philly.com:
Howie Roseman, the team's executive vice president of football operations, added that the Eagles have "confidence in [Wentz's] ability to be our quarterback and to be hopefully a 19-game starter," according to Mike Garafolo of NFL.com.
Nick Foles' presence has complicated Philadelphia's quarterback situation. Foles famously led the Eagles to their first Super Bowl title last season in relief of Wentz, who tore his ACL. And when Wentz went down again this year with a stress fracture in his back, Foles led the Eagles to three straight wins to close the campaign before guiding the team to a wild-card win over the Chicago Bears.
The magic ran out against New Orleans last weekend, but there have been calls around Philadelphia for Foles to be the franchise quarterback.
Foles offers certain qualities—notably that he performs well under pressure and gets rid of the ball extremely quickly, neutralizing elite pass-rushers. That allows Philadelphia to get in an offensive rhythm and build longer drives, keeping the defense fresh.
Foles will likely be elsewhere in 2019—either via free agency or a trade. There will be interest in him as a starter, but his Philadelphia career will always be the stuff of legend.
Still, it's easy to forget that Wentz was the front-runner for MVP in 2017 before his injury (3,296 yards, 33 touchdowns and seven interceptions), and he returned from a torn ACL in 2018. The offense didn't run as smoothly, but expecting the third-year quarterback to perform at an elite level after such a serious injury was perhaps unrealistic.
The 26-year-old Wentz is nearly four years younger than Foles (who will turn 30 on Jan. 20), is far more athletic and can extend plays. He also makes some ridiculous throws.
Wentz has room to grow, too. Learning to get rid of the ball more quickly and avoid taking big hits should be atop his list. And Pederson acknowledged that Wentz can glean lessons from the way Foles played:
For Wentz, getting to play in the postseason is his ultimate goal.
"Yeah, super frustrating," he said of missing the playoffs, per Dave Zangaro of NBC Sports Philadelphia. "You want to play postseason football. I still have zero games of postseason football under my belt. I realize I have a lot to prove in that regard. I'm confident that I will get the chance to do that."
And Wentz acknowledged that living up to the legend of Saint Nick brings its own pressures:
"You look at that and you could say it could put more pressure. I mean, you can say coming into the season there was more pressure. But I do everything I can to block that stuff out. I think right now, going forward, my focus is getting my body right. And to play this game freely the way I did last year before the injury and cut it loose. Get rid of all that pressure and anxiety and whatever it may be, just play the game freely. And that’s where I’m going to get to."
The Eagles are banking on it.