How the Eagles want QB Carson Wentz to mimic Tom Brady

Eagles coach Doug Pederson wants Carson Wentz to find a balance between being aggressive and judicious as he returns from his knee injury. Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Philadelphia Eagles coach Doug Pederson hasn't had the conversation with Carson Wentz yet, but the talk is coming.

Pederson said he will have a discussion with Wentz about his playing style as the quarterback gets set to retake the field after tearing the ACL and LCL in his left knee against the Los Angeles Rams in December. He gave a preview of his intended message during the coach's breakfast at the owners meetings Tuesday, and it includes asking Wentz to take cues from one of the all-time greats.

"Yeah, I'm gonna sit down and talk to him," Pederson said. "Longevity's everything in this business. Learn from the best. Learn from Tom Brady, who got hurt early in his career. And learn from guys that have done that and yet still went on to have great careers and long careers."

Brady tore his ACL in the 2008 opener and missed the rest of the season. He has won two Super Bowls and a pair of league MVP awards in the years since. Philip Rivers and Carson Palmer are other examples of quarterbacks who found success after suffering similar injuries.

What makes Wentz unique from that group is the degree to which he uses his legs as a weapon and the frequency with which he charges into traffic. Pederson said it's possible that Wentz, who is currently wearing a sizable brace around the left knee, might have to learn how to play without his normal mobility early on. Once he's back to full form, the search for balance between being aggressive and judicious in approach will continue.

Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie says the injury has not affected the level of optimism the organization has regarding Wentz's future.

"We've got one of the very best young quarterbacks in football, in every way," Lurie said. "A dynamic leader, tremendously talented, great personality, wants to win so bad. Just everything you'd want."

Pederson reiterated that he is "very encouraged" with how Wentz's rehab is going. Wentz has set opening day as the target return date, while the team is avoiding putting out a timetable. The head coach did allow that Wentz would likely not take part in individual drills this spring, adding that he doesn't necessarily need to see his QB in preseason games.

"I need him ready for Week 1," he said.

"He can get the work done in practice, quite honestly. He did it his first year, you know? So we'll see where it's at when we get there. It's hard to speculate on that but I just know Carson and how well he's going to work and prepare and be in position to be [successful]. He doesn't want to go out there and not be ready."