WTS: Jerry Jones Calls Carson Wentz ‘Impressive’

Plus: What Wentz's early success is a reflection of.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Let’s take a spin around the web looking at what people outside of Philadelphia believe about the Birds in this week’s What They’re Saying:

But first, a quick note on who isn’t practicing today. While Isaac Seumalo is out, Doug Pederson said the rookie’s injury won’t impact whether he fills in at left guard once Allen Barbre moves to right tackle if/when Lane Johnson is suspended.

Jerry Jones seems like a big Carson Wentz fan after singing the quarterback’s praises on Dallas’ 105.3 FM The Fan.

I watched the [Eagles-Bears] game. He’s impressive. Really, for similar real reason [to Dak Prescott], he’s doing a good job protecting the ball. They were impressive against the Bears. But that was a real game to watch because we’ve got to play those guys twice and got to play Chicago next week.

But he certainly looked like the quarterback that we evaluated during the draft and we got to know him pretty well. Our staff did coach him down at the Senior Bowl, and that gave us a little bit of a heads up. It is surprising, really, for him to come in and play at that level, but it is for any rookie, to protect the ball and play winning football.

Wentz could be a star, if he doesn’t get hurt first, says the Ringer’s Michael Baumann.

Still, Wentz, aversion to bodily safety aside, continued to impress in his second pro start, going 21-for-34 for 190 yards and a touchdown, showing poise under pressure, knowing when to roll out and when to wrap up and not risk a fumble. He went checkdown-heavy at times, averaging only 5.6 yards per attempt, but he also threw a number of accurate — and pretty — deep balls, which were dropped every time by receivers Nelson Agholor and Jordan Matthews. Wentz’s most reliable receiver on the night was Touchdown Trey Burton — a third-year tight end making a spot start for an injured Zach Ertz — who doubled his career reception total with three catches, including his first NFL touchdown on a nifty goal-line screen.

Wentz looks like he’ll be a good pro quarterback; he just has to live long enough for Eagles fans to enjoy it.

And that’s the key — Philadelphia invested not just the no. 2 overall pick in Wentz, but the five picks it traded (including two first-rounders) to get that pick from Cleveland in the first place. The Eagles’ roster is riddled with holes that could’ve been filled with those draft picks, but you’ve got nothing in the NFL if you don’t have a quarterback. Nobody knows that better than Philadelphia. Around a decade ago, the Eagles went from 13–3 and a three-point loss in the Super Bowl to 6–10 and a last-place finish in the span of a year, partially because Terrell Owens started filming workout videos in his driveway, but mostly because Donovan McNabb got hurt.

The Eagles are ranked 15th in the MMQB’s latest ranking, with the Giants at No. 8.

Giants (2-0). LW: 9. Here’s a great stat that illustrates the Giants defensive turnaround, courtesy of Newsday reporter Tom Rock: The longest play against the Giants defense so far this season has been 23 yards. They are the only team in the NFL that hasn’t allowed a pass play of 30 or more yards.

Philadelphia (2-0). LW: NR. Sure, their two wins came against two bad teams, but you have to like what you see from Wentz and Pederson.

Wentz’s impressive start is nothing short of remarkable, according to Sports Illustrated’s Chris Burke.

The question no longer is “Can Wentz do this?”, but rather “Can Wentz continue to play this well?” Next Sunday,  the 2–0 Eagles host the 2–0 Steelers in what may be the marquee game of Week 3. After a Week 4 bye, the Eagles then face four road games in five weeks, including trips to Dallas, New York and Washington. The lone home stop during that stretch? Against Minnesota and its vaunted defense.

The tests are going to come fast and furious from here for Wentz, as well as for this Eagles team that suddenly and rather unexpectedly appears to a legitimate NFC East contender. Somewhere along the line, there are going to be a few bumps for Wentz—and not just the physical bumps he’ll continue to rack up if he doesn’t start sliding or stepping out of bounds when he runs.

But if Wentz was going to be truly rattled or look out of place, odds are it would have happened during these first two weeks of the season. Remember, he barely played at all during the preseason. When he did, it mostly was as a third-team QB, behind potential Minnesota savior Sam Bradford and free-agent pickup Chase Daniel.

Wentz’s early success is a testament to all of the former quarterbacks he has coaching him, writes NFL.com’s Chris Wesseling.

Fans of the Browns and Rams can’t be blamed for watching Wentz with a twinge of envy, as the draft’s No. 2 overall pick completed all six of his attempts while orchestrating the no-huddle offense and making pre-snap adjustments on the Eagles’ opening drive. While it’s worth noting that Wentz has yet to be tested against a quality secondary, he has checked the requisite boxes through two NFL starts: The ability to throw with power as well as touch, plus athleticism to make plays on the move, pocket toughness to stand in against pressure, audibling to the run in advantageous situations and recognizing the blitz to hit his hot read. His numbers would have looked better if not for a Jordan Matthews drop at the pylon on a deep throw. An impressive 20-yard strike while taking a hit from linebacker Jerrell Freeman might have been his best play of the night had it not been nullified by a holding penalty.

In a testament to the Eagles’ coaching staff, Wentz’s delivery has been shortened and his footwork streamlined since the beginning of training camp. Whereas top draft pick Jared Goff landed with a Rams coaching staff featuring a defensive guru (Jeff Fisher), an offensive coordinator with a background in tight ends and the offensive line (Rob Boras), and a quarterbacks coach in just his second season as an NFL coach (Chris Weinke), Wentz has a host of former quarterbacks in his ear. Head coach Doug Pederson and offensive coordinator Frank Reich boast a combined 26 years of NFL quarterbacking experience to go with a dozen more years as offensive coordinator and/or quarterbacks coach. Wentz’s position coach, John DeFelippo, is credited with developing Derek Carr with the Raiders in 2014.

The MMQB’s Peter King explains why he’s particularly drawn to the Eagles-Steelers game this week.

You may have over the years read my disdain for the quirk in the NFL scheduling process that has AFC teams playing NFC teams once per four years, meaning that rivalry games like Steelers-Eagles (and Giants-Jets and Cowboys-Texans and Washington-Baltimore and Oakland-San Francisco) are played once every four seasons. It’s terrible that the league doesn’t find a way to play these game more often, because unless Ben Roethlisberger is still playing at age 42, this is the last time (and only the second overall) that he’ll ever step foot on the Eagles’ home ground in a game that matters.

And there’s the quarterback matchup: Roethlisberger, the 13-year pro, against Carson Wentz, playing his third game. Miami of Ohio versus North Dakota State. Physical passer/runner who has learned when to duck out of bounds versus physical passer/runner who hasn’t. (It’s a game we should have the privilege of seeing every year, but, well, I’ve been heard on that.) Wentz played so much like Big Ben on Monday night that I’m left to wonder: Did Roethlisberger watch the game Monday night, and did he see the abuse Wentz took, and did he watch Wentz keep getting up from the monster shots (particularly the second-quarter obliteration by Chicago linebacker Jerrell Freeman), and did the kid remind him of his younger self?

Despite Wentz’s positive play, he’s still not a great option for your fantasy team, notes ESPN In$ider’s Mike Clay.

Carson Wentz has impressed during his first two NFL games, but keep in mind that it simply hasn’t translated to much fantasy production. Wentz was fantasy’s No. 11 scoring quarterback against Cleveland’s horrific defense in Week 1, and ranked 24th at Chicago in Week 2. Wentz has been efficient and effective through the air but has added only 11 yards on eight rushing attempts. For the time being, the rookie should be viewed as a back-end QB2, but, if he starts running the ball more often, he has the upside to jump into the QB1 conversation.

Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reported on Sunday that many of the Browns scouts fired before the draft favored Wentz.

According to numerous sources with knowledge of the situation, several of the more seasoned scouts and evaluators the Browns parted with prior to the draft — an unusual time to release such employees — actually preferred Wentz to quarterback Jared Goff and believed him to be the greater pro prospect. It was clear to many in the organization dating back to December, when the Browns held intense draft meetings, that the newly-empowered analytics department, soon to be spearheaded by DePodesta, strongly preferred Goff. And new coach Hue Jackson and his offensive coordinator, Pep Hamilton, were not high on Wentz but prized Goff, sources said, and made that clear to the rest of the organization.

The Browns opted to release six members of the organization — many of them experienced, old-school scouts — just three weeks before the draft. At the time, they were bailing on the quarterback market in the draft (and Wentz in particular) and shopping their second-overall pick to other teams. Many of those men, a group that included former general managers and personnel directors, had never met DePodesta personally before being let go, and, with their contracts set to expire after the draft, they were going to be let go in 2016 as part of downsizing anyway.

But the timing of their release raised eyebrows then and continues to generate chatter now given the high-profile way in which their quarterback decision has played out and the fact that the segment of personnel they let go were more pro-Wentz than others.