The defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles are making a change at quarterback. Head coach Doug Pederson announced Monday that Carson Wentz is returning to the lineup and will start for the Eagles Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts.
�He has been cleared. And so we�re all excited about that,� Pederson said of Wentz, who has been rehabbing a torn ACL and LCL in his left knee since last December. It will be Wentz� first action since Week 14 last season.
In his absence, the Eagles won two of their final three games to secure the NFC�s top seed. They eventually beat the New England Patriots 41-33 in the 2018 Super Bowl, behind the MVP performance of backup quarterback Nick Foles.
Foles has led the Eagles to a 1-1 start to the regular season. Pederson said regardless of Foles� performance, the team�s plan all along was to put Wentz back into the lineup when he was healthy.
�We drafted Carson to be the guy,� Pederson said. �We owe a lot of gratitude to Nick Foles for what he�s done.�
Oddsmakers waited to offer a line in the Eagles/Colts game until Wentz’ status was clear. When Pederson announced he would start on Sunday, the Eagles opened as 6.5-point favorites at home.
Week 2 showed just how much influence an MVP-caliber quarterback has in Las Vegas.
The uncertainty of Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers� knee throughout last week kept the Packers� matchup against the Vikings off the board. When Rodgers� was cleared to play, the line was made available to bettors Sunday morning.
Minnesota opened as 2.5-point favorites on the road, but Westgate sportsbook director Ed Salmons told ESPN without Rodgers in the lineup, �the line is on the other side of 7.�
The Missing Piece?
The return of Wentz, who was considered a leading MVP candidate before his injury last Dec. 10, could jumpstart a stagnant Eagles offense averaging less than 20 points per game so far this season.
Pederson said there are �no limitations� to what plays he�ll call with Wentz playing in his first game in nine months.
�I�m not gonna coach scared, I�m not gonna coach paranoid,� he said. �In my mind he�s cleared and there�s no need to hold back.�
The head coach acknowledged it might take his quarterback some time �to get back into the rhythm and flow of the game.�
The Eagles won outright as 1-point underdogs at home in Week 1 against Atlanta, but lost to Tampa Bay 27-21 as 3.5-point road favorites in Week 2.
�As exciting as it is to have him back, your starting quarterback, we still have some other areas to fix,� Pederson said.