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Sounds like Carson Wentz dealt with back injury for much of last season

Sounds like Carson Wentz dealt with back injury for much of last season
Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce (62) prepares to block after snapping the ball to quarterback Carson Wentz (11) as they played against the Dallas Cowboys during an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 19, 2017, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth) (Michael Ainsworth / AP)

So many of the moves the Philadelphia Eagles made with their roster this offseason were done with quarterback Carson Wentz in mind. They just don't want such a big load, literally as well as figuratively, on his still-cranky back anymore.

As far as that injury - which ended his 2018 season prematurely - goes, Wentz on Monday claimed there's been encouraging progress in his recovery but no timetable set for his return to full duty.

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"Feeling good and right now we're kind of taking it week by week," Wentz said after reporting for the start of the team's offseason program. "I'm throwing some, I'm running some and kind of taking it week by week. Feel good.

"... [The broken bone is] still getting there. Some of the stuff just takes time, but that's not the main concern. It's just kind of how I feel and we're pretty good with where I'm at. ... I'm not really going to delve into all the specifics."

Being on the field for the start of OTAs on May 21 remains the goal. Regardless, whenever he does start working with the offense, he'll feel better about his chances for success after the team's decisions to bring left tackle Jason Peters back for another season, lock up guard Isaac Seumalo and center Jason Kelce with contract extensions and add wide receiver DeSean Jackson and running back Jordan Howard.

On Jackson, Wentz said: "It's exciting, without a doubt. You see the guy, and obviously he's getting up there in his age, but he stills run like the wind. He's impressive on film. I've seen it first-hand last year, opening play of the game that we played them, and the guy's still got it.

"It's without a doubt exciting, and I think he'll bring a dynamic aspect to our offense. Whether he's catching balls during the game or opening things up underneath, I'm really excited to have him."

Wentz offered similar praise for Howard.

"Yeah, getting Jordan was awesome," he said. "I've talked to him a little bit now. And [backup QB] Nate [Sudfeld] obviously knows him really well [from Indiana University]. He's excited about getting him in here. And obviously, the physical ability that he brings to the table is exciting. And I think Eagles fans should be really excited about having him as a piece of our offense."

According to tight end Zach Ertz, who also spoke on Monday along with center Jason Kelce, the feelings his teammates have about Wentz are mutual.

"He's one of the top quarterbacks in the league," Ertz said. "That's the way I view him and I think that's the way this organization views him. There's really nothing he can't do on a football field. ... There's nothing that the coaches can overload him with because he's so intelligent, so smart. And from a physical standpoint, he can make all the throws.

"So in my opinion, he's one of the best quarterbacks in the league and one of the best leaders I've ever been around."

Ertz did let it slip, however, that Wentz suffered the back injury early last season, which suggests he was playing through it most of the year before finally being sidelined with three games to go in the regular season.

"The guy had a broken back early in the year," Ertz said. "I don't know if he knows exactly when it happened or whatnot. I don't know if he spoke about that, but he's just trying to be the best quarterback he can for this organization."

Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz (86) runs after a catch against the Arizona Cardinals at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia on Sunday. \\\\\\Michael Kubel \ The Morning Call ----Sunday December 1, 2013
Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz (86) runs after a catch against the Arizona Cardinals at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia on Sunday. \\\\\\Michael Kubel \ The Morning Call ----Sunday December 1, 2013 (MICHAEL KUBEL / THE MORNING CALL)

Asked to clarify that remark and whether it meant Wentz was physically compromised long before the injury was revealed, Ertz replied: "I'm not going to talk about that. I'm sorry. He can talk about specifics. I don't think it's my job to do that. I think I probably overspoke earlier."

Actually, there's no question that he did, regardless of how accurate he may be have been.

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Ultimately, though, Wentz felt the performance he turned in last season even before the injury was deficient. He finished with a career-high 69.6 completion percentage (279-for-401), 3,074 passing yards and 21 TDs.

"Not well enough," Wentz said. "We weren't winning as many games as I would have liked. And that's, at the end of the day, what matters. Just weren't finishing some of those games. Obviously, once I went down and the way the season ended as a team, we came up short as well.

"But that's all behind us. It's an exciting day, almost feels like the first day of school, just being around the guys again."

Morning Call reporter Nick Fierro can be reached at 610-778-2243 or nfierro@mcall.com.

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