PHILADELPHIA — Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz is back participating in team drills and split first-team reps with Nick Foles on Sunday, according to coach Doug Pederson.
Or as right tackle Lane Johnson put it: “The sheriff is back in town.”
Wentz took part in 11-on-11 work earlier in camp, but the organization decided to pull back at the beginning of the month, opting to keep him in a more controlled environment and not expose him to unnecessary risk as he recovers from a torn ACL and LCL in his left knee. He has been restricted to individual and 7-on-7 drills for the past two weeks before a change in course Sunday.
He will be limited in his number of reps, Pederson said, splitting them with Foles, who is participating in practice despite suffering a shoulder strain Thursday during a preseason game against the New England Patriots.
Wentz was re-evaluated over the weekend to determine where he was physically. Pederson seemed pleased with the feedback he got on his quarterback.
“[I learned] quite a bit, actually,” Pederson said. “Just overall, his health, the strength of his knee, where he’s at physically. His arm is live. He hasn’t had all the reps, obviously, like Nick has had, like Nate [Sudfeld] has had. So his arm is live and he’s fresh. And that’s all things we wanted and where we kind of wanted him to be at this stage.”
Wentz has long targeted Week 1 for his return. Last week, he said “it’s going to be close” as to whether he receives medical clearance from the doctors by then. He has looked more fluid in his running motion over the past week, and his throwing velocity is actually up from last year.
“It’s pretty remarkable how he’s progressed,” tight end Zach Ertz said. “You would never expect, just looking at him, that he would have had such a big surgery just eight and a half months ago. He looks great. He looks like he always does. He’s moving well — surprisingly well, honestly. I don’t know if anyone expected him to be this far along, but he looks really good.”
The outlook for both Eagles quarterbacks is sunnier than even a couple of days ago. Foles strained his shoulder in the second quarter against the Patriots, grabbing his throwing arm after defensive end Adrian Clayborn hit him during his delivery. Foles left the game early, but further tests revealed nothing serious.
“He’s fine. He’s good,” said Pederson.