Fri, 22 Mar 2019

Eagles Wentz to avoid IR, Foles to start in Week 16

Sports Xchange
18 Dec 2018, 05:45 GMT+10

The Philadelphia Eagles received some good news on Carson Wentz's ailing back on Monday.

The news was good enough to prevent him from being the Eagles' 13th player placed on injured reserve, but not good enough to have him return to the starter's role on Sunday when the Eagles host the Houston Texans. That honor will go to Nick Foles, last season's Super Bowl Most Valuable Player.

Wentz, however, could be 100 percent healthy and it may not matter. Foles stepped in and helped lead the Eagles to a 30-23 upset of the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday night.

"Where Carson is health-wise and just another week of rest for Carson will help him, so (I) made the decision to go forward with Nick," head coach Doug Pederson said on Monday.

Pederson would not commit to Foles beyond Sunday. The Eagles will have only game remaining coming out of Sunday's contest, and that will be on the road in Washington to play the Redskins. There could even be postseason football if Foles continues to help this team win.

What then?

"It's a bridge we'll cross, if we get there," Pederson said. "We still have a lot of football left. But right now, we're going to stay committed to this week. I'm not going to look any further than just the Houston Texans this week, and one day, I'm sure we'll cross that bridge."

Pederson is keeping Wentz as a viable option because, as he said, Wentz is still the No. 1 quarterback.

Last week, Pederson said Wentz's injury would take about three months to heal. That isn't the case now.

"We got a little more information, and this is probably why I don't like to put timetables or put players in boxes, so things have changed just a little bit," Pederson said. "He'll be listed as week-to-week. We will not put him on IR. Obviously when he's healthy, he's our quarterback and we'll go from there."

Asked if there is a chance for further damage if the stress fracture is not fully healed, Pederson said: "That's something we'll continue to monitor with him and our doctors and make that determination when we can."

Foles completed 24 of 31 passes for 270 yards with one interception and an 89.4 passer rating against the Rams. It was his third highest single-game completion percentage of his career, trailing only his game vs. Chicago (84 percent) on Dec. 22, 2013 and his seven-touchdown performance against the Oakland Raiders on Nov. 3, 2013.

Pederson said that part of a reason for Foles' success had to do with a slimmed down game plan.

Pederson and offensive coordinator Mike Groh got together following last week's overtime loss in Dallas and condensed the offense.

"We felt like we just kind of needed to get back to the basics just a little bit," Pederson said. "So this was before, the Carson, Nick deal last week, we decided to go forward with that and put together a game plan that would be conducive for anybody, any of our quarterbacks.

"And so I think that's what you saw that came out of the game, which was a credit to Mike and putting the plan together like he did. Gave Nick, as we went through the week last week, every opportunity to comment on the game plan, if there were things he didn't like, just like we would with Carson. And there were a couple things, but for the most part, Foles felt comfortable with it. Didn't really have to change a whole lot, or at least go back to last season to pull anything from last year."

--G Isaac Seumalo, who missed Sunday's game and was replaced by veteran Stefen Wisniewski, could miss another week of action, per coach Doug Pederson.

--LB Jordan Hicks, who has missed four straight games, could return to practice this week.

--WR Alshon Jeffery's 160 yards receiving on Sunday night were his most since joining the Eagles as a free agent in the 2017 offseason. It was also the third highest total of his career. While with the Chicago Bears, he had 249 yards on Dec. 1, 2013, and 218 on Oct. 6, 2013 against the New Orleans Saints.

--TE Zach Ertz became just the fourth tight end in NFL history to record 100-plus receptions in a single season. He has 101 and joins Jason Witten in 2012 (110), Tony Gonzalez in 2004 (102) and Dallas Clark in 2009 (100). Ertz had three catches on Sunday night and has 1,038 yards receiving this season.

--DT Fletcher Cox sacked Jared Goff for an eight-yard loss on third-and-11 in the second quarter to hold the Rams to a 41-yard field goal. Cox now has 7.5 sacks, which are his most in a single season since he had 9.5 in 2015. He is now tied with Brandon Graham (42.5) for the sixth-most in Eagles history.

--S Corey Graham and CB Avonte Maddox both had their second interceptions of the season for the Eagles, who have now recorded picks in each of their last four games.

--K Jake Elliott's 53-yard missed field goal with just over minute left against the Rams snapped his streak of 13 straight made kicks which dated back to Week 7 against Carolina.

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