Head coach Doug Pederson confirmed the news Monday after reports broke the day prior.
“After consideration and everything and about the football team and this decision, Nick Foles is the starter Week 1,” Pederson told the media. “My press conference will be tomorrow, and I’ll answer questions at that time. But I wanted you to hear it from me. It is about the football team and the best interests of the 53. And Nick Foles will be my starter Week 1. Thank you.”
In fact, Wentz might not be back until October:
Wentz, 25, was likely on his way to the NFL MVP award in 2017 before he suffered a torn ACL in a Week 14 game against the Los Angeles Rams. At that point in the season, the Eagles were 11-2 and Wentz had 33 touchdowns with seven interceptions.
With Wentz out of action, Philadelphia turned to Foles, who eventually became Super Bowl MVP after leading the Eagles to a 41-33 win over the New England Patriots. Philadelphia’s best chance at a repeat run at the Lombardi Trophy or success in the years that follow is that Wentz returns to form. But for now, the team needs Foles to man the ship until Wentz returns.
Wentz hasn’t seen the field since undergoing surgery to repair his ACL in December. He didn’t play at all in preseason, although his teammates think he’s close.
“He looks ready to me,” Eagles offensive tackle Lane Johnson said, via NBC Sports Philadelphia. “I saw him throw a ball a couple weeks ago about 65 yards, so he looks about as impressive as I’ve seen.”
But the Eagles decided Wentz isn’t quite ready, and that means it’ll be Foles taking the reins until then. The question for now is whether Foles will be the player who led the Eagles to a Super Bowl win or the one who struggled through the team’s preseason slate.
In two preseason appearances, he completed 16 of 26 passes for 171 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions. Foles has been notoriously inconsistent for most of his career, so it’s anyone’s guess which player he’ll be in Week 1.
Foles has a tough first opponent with the Falcons. Atlanta’s defense finished top 10 in yards and points allowed in 2017, and promises to be even better with young players like Takkarist McKinley, Vic Beasley, Deion Jones, and Grady Jarrett continuing to develop.
Eventually, though, the Eagles will turn back to Wentz and hope he’s the same player who was on top of the league in 2017.
Historically, ACL tears haven’t been devastating for most quarterbacks. Players like Carson Palmer, Philip Rivers, and Tom Brady all came back from the injury to be the same passer they were before. That bodes well for Wentz’ chances at being an MVP level player again, but it’d be fair to expect a relatively slow start.
In the long run, Wentz should be just fine. But for now, it’ll be Foles leading the way.