Wentz has not taken a snap since tearing his ACL and LCL in Week 14 of the 2017 season. The Eagles have slowplayed his recovery and rehab from offseason knee surgery. The decision to start Foles in the opener indicates Philadelphia is taking a cautious long-term approach to Wentz's return to the field.
This is the way things looked to be going. Eagles coach Doug Pederson had been mum on the subject for days and was not increasing Wentz's reps in practice. Recently, the doctor who repaired Wentz's knee, Dr. Jim Bradley, suggested the Eagles take "a cautious approach" to Wentz's recovery. As he put it, "What's a few games over 12 to 15 years?"
Foles is familiar with this Atlanta team. In Philly's victory over the Falcons in last year's Divisional Round, Foles completed 76.7 percent of his passes for 246 yards.
But the backup quarterback has yet to regain his form from last year's otherworldly postseason run. Foles notably struggled on national television against the Browns during Philly's Week 3 "dress rehearsal" game. The QB completed 61.5 percent of his passes in the preseason for 171 yards, 0 TD, 2 INT and a 48.7 passer rating. Foles also took six sacks, including a safety.
There's no telling what version of Foles the Eagles will get on Thursday night. But whatever it is will be, in their eyes, preferable to trotting a hesitant Wentz and his fickle knee and risking catastrophic injury.