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Eagles coach Doug Pederson "comfortable" turning to rookie QB Carson Wentz, doesn't think he's motivated by Browns not wanting him

Rookie quarterback Carson Wentz only played a half of the preseason opener, but the Eagles turned to him as the starter for Week 1 against the Browns when they traded Sam Bradford to the Minnesota Vikings.
Rookie coach Doug Pederson had already seen enough.
“What I saw in practice is just the plays that he’s been able to make,” Pederson said Wednesday morning on a conference call with Browns media. “And just the way he handles things, the way he calls plays in the huddle, the way he can just spit out the verbiage and his athleticism, the way he can move and scramble and make some plays with his legs much like RGIII can do, it just felt so comfortable putting him in this spot.
“We obviously made the trade this offseason to move up to get a guy like Carson Wentz, so I felt fully comfortable and confident that now is the time to go ahead and start him from Day One just based on everything that I’ve seen through OTAs and training camp.”
Wentz suffered a hairline fracture to his ribs to open the preseason and didn’t play again. The Eagles cleared him to return and installed him as the starter Saturday.
The timing is perfect, as the Browns were the team that allowed Philadelphia to draft him out of North Dakota State.
The Browns held the No. 2 pick in the draft but dealt it to the Eagles, along with a fourth-round pick, for first-, third- and fourth-round choices in 2016, a first-rounder in 2017 and a second-rounder in 2018.
Pederson doesn’t think Wentz will have any extra motivation playing the team that didn’t want him.
“I don’t think that’s a factor at all,” Pederson said. “In fact, I don’t even think that even factors into his thinking.
“What I’ve seen already from training camp and the way he studies and prepares the last couple of days in the film room and getting all the mental reps there, I just think there’s a bigger task at hand than that, and that’s obviously playing on Sunday in his first start.”
Browns chief strategy officer Paul DePodesta told WKNR 850-AM in July the Browns made the deal with the Eagles because they didn’t think Wentz would become a top-20 NFL quarterback.
“Well, yeah, we definitely had heard the comments and all that,” Pedeson said. “But you know what, everybody has their opinions. And listen, we went to North Dakota, we worked him out, we spent a lot of time with him, like everybody that’s drafted quarterbacks in the National Football League. If you don’t spend time with those guys and come away feeling comfortable about your decisions, then you should probably look somewhere else.
“We just felt so comfortable at the Eagles to make the moves to go get Carson Wentz and felt very strong about the way we evaluated, just looking at everything and exhausting everything. So everybody’s going to have their opinion obviously, that’s just the way this business is, but we’re very comfortable with Carson and the direction he’s headed.”
During the film study of Wentz’s days at North Dakota State, the Eagles saw what they wanted.
“The championship games over his career, just seeing how well he led his football team, the toughness, not only mentally but physically, some of the pounding that he took just showed you that he was very capable of handling the National Football League,” Pederson said. “That’s why we came away when we left there back in the spring saying, ‘This kid can be pretty special in our league.’”
The Browns will get the first look Sunday in Philadelphia.
Contact Scott Petrak at 329-7253 or [email protected] Like him on Facebook and follow him @scottpetrak on Twitter.

Browns writer for The Chronicle-Telegram and The Medina Gazette. Proud graduate of Northwestern University. Husband and stepdad. Avid golfer who needs to hit the range to get down to a single-digit handicap. Right about Johnny Manziel, wrong about Brandon Weeden. Contact Scott at 440-329-7253, or email and follow him on and Twitter.

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