Eagles’ Carson Wentz looking ‘Tom Brady-ish’ in training camp


PHILADELPHIA — Sometimes it’s hard to read body language. Sometimes it’s not. Last year, when Carson Wentz was returning from a torn ACL and he was getting peppered with versions of the same questions (Mostly: When will you be ready?), he was pretty clipped with his answers to me when I visited training camp. Wentz is a pleasant guy usually, but I remember him being just okay that day. Borderline sullen. But he did not want talk about this knee injury that kept him from his Super Bowl dream—that’s for sure.

On Saturday morning, Wentz was the sixth of 90 Eagles out at practice. He stretched, and he jogged forward and backward, and he smiled, and he had a hell of time in the oppressive summer humidity for the next two-and-a-half hours, even when he had an interception taken to the house by linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill in a team period of training camp. No question in my mind this is a happier soul than a year ago. I don’t think that’s because he’s $128 million richer; the Eagles signed him to this huge four-year contract extension in June. I think it’s because now he’s playing without the knee brace that limited him last year, and he’s playing with a healed vertebra in his back that he hurt last year.

A couple of notes that interested me on Wentz:

• He tore his ACL in a big NFC game at the Rams on Dec. 10, 2017. Wentz missed six games, including the Super Bowl, and watched Nick Foles lead his team.

• He suffered his back injury in a big NFC game at Dallas on Dec. 9, 2018. Wentz missed the last five games, including the NFC divisional game, and watched Nick Foles lead his team.

So … two season-ending injuries in three seasons. And the Eagles committed to Wentz with a four-year contract extension that binds the two sides to each other through the end of 2024.

Injuries, and subsequent contract extensions after them, are risk-reward things. I understand why Eagles GM Howie Roseman did what he did—the price for quarterbacks keeps going up, and if Wentz plays 16 games this year at his 2017 level, after suffering two fluke injuries (lots of those happen in football), the extension that was worth $32 million a year this year jumps to $37 million next year. The Eagles took a leap of faith, for sure. This deal has to keep Roseman up at night. When I asked Doug Pederson about it, he was pretty matter-of-fact about what the Eagles need to happen here with Wentz.

“He’s been given the keys to the kingdom,” Pederson told me. “Now it’s up to him to make sure the kingdom stays healthy.”

(Cap numbers for Wentz for the next six years, by the way: $8.39 million, $18.66 million, $34.67 million, $31.27 million, $34.27 million, $32 million. The highest percentage of the cap that Wentz will take up? About 17 percent. On average, his pay will take up about 13 percent of the Eagles cap, by my best projections, over the next six years.)

Would I have waited to see Wentz play a full season? Tough call. Probably not. I think he’ll be a little smarter about putting himself in harm’s way. Plus, officials will err on the side of protecting the passers, always; starting NFL quarterbacks missed only 60 games due to injury in 2018—and that’s out of 32 starters. Pederson says he isn’t changing the offense to bubble-wrap Wentz, and Wentz isn’t going to overhaul how he plays. Nor should he. It’s a hard game. I remember when Phil Simms got hurt in four of his first five NFL seasons with the Giants, and he was called injury-prone. Then he became an ironman. So you just don’t know. Sometimes people get hurt. Wentz has to play smarter, but he’ll neuter himself if he changes his game entirely.

In some ways, what the Eagles did with Wentz this offseason, giving him the big deal, reminds me of how Pederson coaches. Pederson did get a little more conservative last year than in Philly’s Super Bowl year, but he says now that’s because early in the season Wentz was coming back from the knee injury, and late in the season, he wasn’t playing. “I want to coach aggressive,” Pederson told me on my camp visit. “That’s what I gotta get back to. Last year was not my mentality. I’ve learned from that.”

Wentz looks a little Bradyish, actually. He’s lost a few pounds (he won’t say how many) which he attributes to training and nutrition—not trying to be Tom Brady II.

“Back feels good. Knee feels good,” Wentz told me. “I feel about as healthy as I’ve felt in a long time, both physically and mentally. Been able to take a step back due to the injury the last few years, unfortunately, but it allowed me to see the game from a different perspective. Allowed me to invest a lot of time and energy into my body and into not only get healthy but finding ways to stay healthy for hopefully the duration of my career. I feel really good and ready to go.

“I wasn’t necessarily setting out to lose weight. It was just a byproduct of some of the things I’ve been doing but at the end of the day it’s all about how I feel. By no means do I think I’m now too skinny or anything. I’ve lost a couple pounds. I’m not making a big deal about that. But just overall, being healthier … I think will help the longevity of my career. Having played a couple seasons now knowing the rigors of this game, obviously I’ve gotten hurt a few times but it wasn’t because of not being able to take a hit or anything.”

The NFL needs Wentz. He’s a North Dakota kid loved by the fans and the public. He’s smart, driven. Did you know he never got a grade lower than A in any level of schooling? Teammates loves him, coaches love him. He’s electric as a player, with a great arm and athletic legs. He’s got great leadership. He’ll never do something embarrassing for the franchise. At Saturday’s practice, by my very unofficial count, I saw 43 Wentz jerseys by the fans invited to the camp workout; no idea who was second, but it wasn’t close. Wentz is one of the stories of the year in the NFL, and the fate of the NFC East rests on him. A bit of a cliché here. But it’s why we watch.

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NFL quarterback rankings 2023: Chris Simms’ top 40 QB countdown ahead of upcoming NFL season


While the NFL is a league that is ever-changing, some things are set to stay the same in 2023 — like the revealing of Chris Simms’ top 40 QB countdown.

Last year’s list saw Josh Allen take his place atop the quarterback throne, with Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes and Los Angeles’ Justin Herbert not far behind at No. 2 and No. 3, respectively. It was, however, Mahomes who would ultimately reign over all NFL quarterbacks at the end of the season, as the 27-year-old collected both the NFL MVP honors and his second Lombardi Trophy.

This NFL offseason, however, has brought some intriguing adjustments that are likely to shake up Simms’ rankings.

While some signal-callers such as Jalen Hurts and Lamar Jackson found their prolonged home with massive contract signings, others will be venturing to a new franchise in search of a fresh start. Aaron Rodgers‘ trade to the New York Jets is unquestionably the most staggering shift, but other quarterbacks on the move such as Derek Carr and Jimmy Garoppolo cannot be forgotten.

RELATED: Mike Florio gives an inside look into the Lamar Jackson deal

And with three of the first four picks in the 2023 NFL Draft being spent on a quarterback, emerging talent will likely turn the tides for some franchises this upcoming season.

See below for Chris Simms’ top 40 QB countdown ahead of the upcoming season. Be sure to subscribe to Chris Simms Unbuttoned for more on the 2023 NFL season as well as an unfiltered look at the NFL featuring player access, unabashed opinion, X&O film breakdown and stories from a life in and around football.

RELATED: Peter King’s latest offseason NFL power rankings

Chris Simms’ 2023 Top 40 QB Countdown:

40. Desmond Ridder (ATL)

39. Sam Howell (WAS)

38. Bryce Young (CAR)

37. CJ Stroud (HOU)

36. Anthony Richardson (IND)

35. Mike White (MIA)

34. Gardner Minshew (IND)

33. Taylor Heinicke (ATL)

32. Jarrett Stidham (DEN)

31. Jordan Love (GB)

30. Davis Mills (HOU)

29. Tyler Huntley (BAL)

28. Andy Dalton (CAR)

27. Sam Darnold (SF)

26. Brock Purdy (SF)

25. Kenny Pickett (PIT)

24. Baker Mayfield (TB)

23. Justin Fields (CHI)

22. Jimmy Garoppolo (LV)

21. Tua Tagovailoa (MIA)

20. Mac Jones (NE)

19. Kyler Murray (AZ)

18. Derek Carr (NO)

17. Jared Goff (DET)

16. Ryan Tannehill (TEN)

15. Geno Smith (SEA)

14. Russell Wilson (DEN)

2023 NFL Schedule Release: Start time, how to watch, live stream, channel


With another exciting NFL Draft in the books, teams can now turn their gaze toward the road to Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas. The path to Super Bowl glory, however, is about to become abundantly more clear with the 2023 NFL season schedule release.

This year’s NFL season schedule release is nearly here, with the entirety of the 2023 NFL schedule being unveiled on Thursday, May 11 at 8 p.m. ET on both Peacock and NFL Network. See below for everything you need to know for one of the offseason’s most anticipated events.

RELATED: Click here for full analysis on Rounds 1-7 of the 2023 NFL Draft

When will the 2023 NFL season schedule be released?

While all 272 matchups have been known since the conclusion of the 2022 regular season, the order and dates for these games have remained a mystery. The secret is nearly out, however, with every NFL game on the brink of revelation.

The full 2023 NFL schedule will be released on Thursday, May 11 at 8:00 p.m. ET.

How can I watch the 2023 NFL season schedule release?

The 2023 NFL season schedule release will take place Thursday, May 11 on Peacock, NFL Network, NFL.com and the NFL app at 8 p.m. ET.

While the entirety of the schedule will be unveiled at that time, select games have already been and will continue to be released prior to the official event. Ahead of the 2023 NFL season schedule release, the following games will be announced:

Who will play in the 2023 NFL Kickoff game?

The first game of the 2023-24 NFL season will see the reigning Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs take the field in Arrowhead Stadium.

The opponent that will meet Patrick Mahomes and company in Kansas City, however, remains to be revealed.

Which NFL teams have international games in 2023?

While the majority of the matchups set to take place next season have yet to be announced, the league has already revealed which teams will head overseas for international showdowns.

Below is the full list of international NFL games for the 2023-24 season, with three in London, U.K., and two in Frankfurt, Germany.

Falcons vs. Jaguars: Week 4, Oct. 1 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Wembley Stadium in London, U.K.

Jaguars vs. Bills: Week 5, Oct. 8 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, U.K.

Ravens vs. Titans: Week 6, Oct. 15 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, U.K.

Dolphins vs. Chiefs: Week 9, Nov. 5 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Frankfurt Stadium in Frankfurt, Germany

Colts vs. Patriots: Week 10, Nov. 12 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Frankfurt Stadium in Frankfurt, Germany

RELATED: NFL’s 2023 international games full of “star power”

When is the Super Bowl and where will it be taking place?

Stars will be shining bright in Las Vegas, Nevada, for Super Bowl LVIII, set to take place on Feb. 11, 2024, at the home of the Raiders in Allegiant Stadium.

This will be the first Super Bowl to ever take place in Las Vegas, which hosted the 2023 Pro Bowl and 2022 NFL Draft.

Be sure to follow ProFootballTalk for the latest news, updates, and storylines about the upcoming NFL season!