Eagles Wake-Up Call: Carson Wentz Talks About Being Compared To Ben Roethlisberger
Leading up to the 2016 NFL Draft, Carson Wentz was often linked to Ben Roethlisberger as a pro comparison. At least one scout is on the record for believing the two quarterbacks share similarities. Eagles head coach Doug Pederson doesn’t seem to disagree.
“Little bit, little bit,” Pederson said when asked about the quarterback comparison. “Carson has the ability to extend plays with his legs. Ben is big, strong, physical in the pocket, hard to bring down and continues to have great vision down the field. I think that’s one thing with Carson’s strength is he continues to have that vision down the field when things begin to break down. So, yeah, there are a lot of similarities there. The fact that they’re both very good throwers outside the pocket is a tribute to both of them.”
Wentz, meanwhile, is honored by the mention.
“Well, first of all, to be compared to a guy like that, that’s pretty impressive,” said the Eagles’ rookie quarterback. “I’ve got a long way to go, that’s first and foremost. But I’ve always admired the way he plays. I love how he can extend plays and improvise. He’s not afraid to chuck the ball deep and make some plays. I definitely admire his game.”
“Watching Big Ben has always been fun,” he added. “I’ve always found it intriguing the way that guy plays the game differently than a lot of guys. He’s fun to watch. He can make some really big plays and it’s impressive.
Roethlisberger and Wentz both measure in around 6-5, 240 pounds. Wentz looks a little slighter in frame than the stockier Steelers starting quarterback, but there’s no denying both players have good size and athleticism for the position. Their body types allow for their aggressive style of play when it comes to taking shots down the field and being able to extend plays.
“Well, number one, yeah, he’s got the length,” said Pederson when asked about Wentz’s arms strength. “He’s got the long arm kind of wind up that generates a lot of energy, a great lower body. He’s got the mechanics and the tools to throw the ball extremely hard. You know, the times that he really sets his feet and steps into his throws, he can really drive the ball to anywhere on the football field.”
“You saw one last night with him on the run. That deep ball to Nelson on the run. I mean, those are just some of the things that he can do because of his size. So, for me and the offensive staff, it’s not anything when you start looking at putting gameplans together, you don’t shy away from any throw because he has the ability to do that.”
Wentz hasn’t been shy to take shots down the field. On Sunday, the Eagles defense will have to deal with a quarterback with a similar mentality. Roethlisberger and the Steelers offense will likely look to attack an Eagles secondary that has allowed several big completions through the air in the first two weeks.
Pittsburgh’s passing attack is nothing to be taken lightly. It’s been a big part of why the Steelers have been able to average just under 32 points scored in their last 10 regular season games. Antonio Brown is arguably one of the best wide receivers in the NFL and the fact he has an accomplished quarterback like Roethlisberger throwing his way makes him that much more dangerous.
As Wentz admitted himself, the rookie has a long way to go before he can be compared to Roethlisberger. The Steelers’ starter is a two-time Super Bowl champion. The Eagles’ rookie is off to a promising start, though, by making history in his first two NFL games.
Roethlisberger and Wentz share a relationship beyond being compared to each other. The two quarterbacks share the same agent and spent time working out together prior to the NFL Draft. Roethlisberger, who also played for a small school, is also on the record for downplaying concerns about the level of competition Wentz went up against. Back in June he said he believes Wentz can excel in the NFL, and so far it looks like he was right.
Sunday’s game is a big one for the 2-0 Eagles as they set to play the 2-0 Steelers at Lincoln Financial Field. Going up against the quarterback he’s often been compared to is the biggest test yet for Wentz. So far, the rookie has been able to take advantage of bad teams. Now he needs to prove he can outshine one of the best passers in the NFL.
WHAT YOU MISSED
How Fletcher Cox played a big part on the defensive side of the ball in Monday night’s win over the Bears.
Ben Roethlisberger praised the Eagles’ defensive line as well as Carson Wentz in yesterday’s conference call.
“He certainly looked like the quarterback that we evaluated during the draft and we got to know him pretty well.” What They’re Saying.
Three Eagles numbers that matter after two weeks of the 2016 NFL season.
“It depends on how your team is playing. That’s just a gut feeling that you have as a play-caller.” Why Doug Pederson keeps going for it on fourth down, and converting them as well.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Zach Ertz‘s status for Sunday’s game against the Steelers is still up in the air, from CSNPhilly.com’s Dave Zangaro.
“I haven’t really done a lot of football stuff recently,” Ertz said. “I’m not in a lot of pain right now. It’s just a matter of healing.”
While Ertz isn’t practicing, he has been lifting weights and doing cardio.
When talking about the injury last week, head coach Doug Pederson called it a dangerous one because of the placement near vital parts of the body. Ertz basically just has to wait for the rib, which was displaced about seven millimeters according to Pederson, to go back where it’s supposed to be.
“There’s just a lot of stuff behind that rib, you just have to worry,” Ertz said. “If it was a lower rib with where the pain is now, I’d easily be able to play last week.”
While the injury is dangerous because another shot could have done further damage, Ertz played most of Week 1’s game after the hit that caused it. He thought the injury was just an AC sprain, which he’s played through plenty times before.
Ertz didn’t play Monday night and is probably a long-shot to play this upcoming Sunday against the Steelers. Sunday’s game will be the last before an early Week 4 bye.
Once an Eagle for a few months, Alejandro Villanueva is playing an important part on the Steelers’ offensive line, pens Paul Domowitch of the Daily News.
But less than a week after the Eagles released him, the Steelers signed him to their practice squad. And told him they were moving him to offensive tackle.
“The first time I laid eyes on him we were up there (in Philadelphia) for a preseason game,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said. “I saw this really big guy saluting for the (national) anthem on the other side. After doing research, I found out he actually had a little bit of a tackle background in college. We went from there.”
After the Steelers signed him to the practice squad, Tomlin told him that 2014 was going to be a learning year for him. He wasn’t on the clock. They weren’t going to judge him. Which was good, because he admitted that he was pretty damn awful.
“I don’t think I blocked a single person the first five practices there,” he said. “I was horrible. I tried to learn as much as I could. Coach (Mike) Munchak is probably one of the best offensive line coaches in the league. With the help of my teammates and coaches, I was able to get myself up to speed and compete for a job.”Villanueva made the Steelers last year as the swing tackle behind starters Kelvin Beachum and Marcus Gilbert. In the sixth game of the year, Beachum, the team’s left tackle, tore his ACL.
Villanueva was the next man up. He replaced Beachum and started the next 10 games at left tackle for a Steelers team that went 10-6 and made it to the divisional round of the playoffs.
Jim Schwartz and Frank Reich will address the media starting at 10:30 AM ET.
Chris Jastrzembski contributed to this post.