Philadelphia Eagles: Should Carson Wentz Start Week 1?

Philadelphia Eagles, Carson Wentz
Bill Streicher-USA Today Images

A franchise quarterback at the professional level of football can only be equaled to the search of the Holy Grail. No matter the generation, from Bart Starr to Tom Brady, a quarterback is one of the greatest pieces to the championship puzzle. The Philadelphia Eagles acquired their holy grail with the number two pick in the 2016 NFL Draft in Carson Wentz.

In 2017, Wentz was well on his way to what was widely considered an MVP-caliber season before tearing his ACL in Week 14 against the Los Angeles Rams. Wentz finished with 3,296 passing yards, 33 touchdowns, and seven interceptions to go along with a QB rating of 101.9. One Pro Bowl invite and Super Bowl ring later, the Eagles are ready for a healthy Wentz to lead their title defense come opening night of the 2018 season.

Yet is Wentz ready?

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A torn ACL was once considered a borderline career-ending injury. Thanks to the advancements in modern medicine, players are now able to rehab more efficiently, with some coming back stronger than ever, as Adrian Peterson did in 2012 when he rushed for over 2,000 yards a year removed from tearing his ACL.

However, Peterson is the lone outlier in what is a long list of athletes to suffer an unfortunate injury and see their abilities fade away. Among those are former Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III, who (similarly to Wentz) tore his ACL in a phenomenal sophomore season. The rest was history, as Griffin never appeared to be the same player he once was. Yet to say Wentz will replicate Griffin’s demise would be ignorant, to say the least.

Wentz finds himself in a far better football atmosphere in Philadelphia when compared to the shaky structure Griffin had during his time with the Redskins. Wentz also appears to be better physically suited to rebound as opposed to Griffin. Carson looked super-human before his injury, but the RGIII comps are simply a reminder that even the mightiest of players may be brought down to earth.

Luckily for the Eagles, second-in-command to Wentz is Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles. Foles suffered what appears to be a shoulder strain in last week’s preseason game against the New England Patriots, but the injury is considered minor and Foles should be ready to go if needed.

With Wentz not yet cleared for full-contact practices yet, the Eagles should think long and hard about not pushing him to play on opening night. Surely Philadelphia is looking to start the season off on the right foot, but at what possible cost? Should Foles be healthy, the decision should be clear and easy: Let Wentz Sit. ACL injuries are as serious as sports injuries come and should be handled with great safety and care.

Philadelphia finally got their championship. A healthy Carson Wentz is the key to many more down the road.