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Answering 7 questions about Wentz's back injury

Eliot Shorr-Parks
December 13, 2018 - 10:05 am
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On Wednesday, when Eagles head coach Doug Pederson announced that quarterback Carson Wentz would miss practice with a back injury, we were left with more questions than answers. 

The reason is probably that, at that point, the Eagles have more questions than answers as well. Pederson stated he would see where Wentz was at the end of the day, which seemed to imply they were gathering more information. 

Still, with news that their franchise quarterback might have a back injury and could be shut down the rest of the season, it is safe to say it has been a crazy time since Pederson dropped the bomb about Wentz. 

Here are some of the questions many fans likely have about Wentz, as well as some they could soon find themselves asking:

1. When did Wentz suffer his back injury?

This is perhaps the biggest mystery as of right now. Pederson said that the injury was “nothing game-related” and that Wentz has “dealt with it.” Taking Pederson at his word, that means Wentz didn’t suffer the injury vs. Dallas. That would make sense, as Wentz was on the injury report prior to Weeks 7 & 8 with a back issue, although at the time it was not viewed as anything serious, and he missed a total of two practices over the two weeks. 

More than likely, it seems like Wentz has been dealing with some kind of back pain throughout the season. 

2. How serious is Wentz's back issue?

If when he suffered the injury is the biggest mystery, the biggest question is how serious the injury is. An NFL.com report stated that because of the time of year, Wentz could miss the rest of the season. That doesn’t seem to indicate it is a very serious injury, as there are only three games left, so missing the rest of the season isn't exactly a multi-month injury. We will likely get an answer as to how serious the back injury to Wentz is by Friday. 

3. Would Wentz have gone back in vs. Dallas?

It is worth noting that Wentz was on the bench during the final portion of the Eagles’ last game, as the Dallas Cowboys marched down the field for the win. Some have wondered if Wentz would have gone back in. The answer to that question is yes — the quarterback was on the sideline throwing the ball, waiting for his turn that never came. 

4. Would Wentz be playing vs. Los Angeles if they beat Dallas?

This is an interesting question. On one hand, if Wentz is hurt, then he wouldn’t have played. The team has proven to be cautious with him when it comes to serious injuries, as he sat out the first two games of the 2018 season despite feeling ready to play and recovered from his torn ACL. It is hard to imagine the Eagles putting Wentz out on the field if they felt he was not healthy and unable to protect himself. Also, the Eagles’ game vs. the Rams would hold far less significance if the Eagles had beaten the Cowboys, as they could easily taken a loss vs. the Rams and still made the playoffs. Saying the Eagles are holding Wentz back because they lost to the Cowboys is essentially saying they are throwing in the towel. If Wentz was healthy, he would play, regardless of the outcome of the Cowboys’ game. 

5. Did the Eagles want Wentz benched?

A popular conspiracy theory that a few callers on 94WIP have come up with is that the team secretly wanted Wentz benched, and this was a good way to move to Foles. I’ll keep this one short and sweet — there is zero chance this is the Eagles’ way of benching Wentz because they want Foles in the game. 

6. Can Nick Foles win the job?

The potential outcomes of an Eagles’ win on Sunday are fun to think about. If Foles goes to Los Angeles and beats the Rams, and plays great, would the Eagles stick with Foles? Or if Foles wins, but Wentz is ready to play the following Sunday vs. the Houston Texans, would they go back to Wentz? Or, if Foles wins the final three games, and the Eagles get in the playoffs, would they put Wentz in for the Wild Card round?

My guess is that the Eagles would put Wentz back in when he is 100% ready to play, even if that means sitting a (potentially) red-hot Foles before the playoffs or after a win over the Rams. 

7. Can Nick Foles create a quarterback controversy? 

Quarterback controversies must be looked at in two ways — the eyes of the fans and the eyes of the front office. Foles’ Super Bowl MVP last season didn’t create a true quarterback controversy in the front office. A win over the Rams won’t either, nor will a three-game winning streak into the playoffs. The only way the front office would even consider a quarterback controversy would be if Foles were to shock the world again and win another Super Bowl. Even then, it is hard to see the Eagles moving on from Wentz. 

In the eyes of the fans, however, there is little doubt that Foles winning on Sunday will cause more-and-more people to wonder if he should keep the job. A run to the playoffs would absolutely make fans split between Wentz and Foles. A Super Bowl MVP? The calls to trade Wentz and stick with Foles will be deafening. 

Of all the questions, this one is taking the biggest leap forward in a situation that at this point we know very little about. The Eagles, however, have one of the most interesting quarterback situations in the history of the NFL — and they could be seeing the results of that very shortly. 

You can follow Eliot Shorr-Parks on Twitter at @EliotShorrParks or email him at [email protected]!