Eagles’ Doug Pederson Compares Carson Wentz To Peyton Manning

Philadelphia's head coach touched on the key to his rookie quarterback's success.

Doug Pederson and Carson Wentz.

Doug Pederson and Carson Wentz. (USA Today Sports)

Eagles rookie quarterback Carson Wentz has been incredibly impressive through the first three games. He’s been so impressive that his head coach is now comparing him to one of the best quarterbacks of all-time.

“It’s very accurate,” said Doug Pederson when asked about the impression of Wentz’s obsessive work habit. “He loves watching tape. Like I’ve mentioned, he and the quarterbacks, Chase [Daniel] and Aaron [Murray], they’re in here at 5:30 in the morning watching film. They’re exhausting the tape. I hear him even in the building just talking to guys about plays and routes and protections.”

“It’s Peyton Manning-ish. And you hate to label, I don’t want to put labels on guys, but that’s how Peyton prepared. That’s how these top quarterbacks prepare each week. [Wentz] has that [work ethic] now as a young quarterback and that will just carry him throughout his career. The challenge now is the more success, how much gets pulled on him and taken away from him. But he’s off to a good start and it’s definitely part of the process in his preparation.”

It’s crazy to think Wentz is already being compared to a player of Manning’s caliber. With that said, it’s clear Wentz’s intense preparation has paid off. The rookie quarterback is making history with each passing week. Wentz is the first player in NFL history with 100-plus attempts, 60-plus completions, five-plus touchdowns and zero interceptions in his first three career games. It goes without saying he’s been crucial in leading the Eagles to their 3-0 start.

Wentz is off to a special start and the Eagles haven’t been afraid to praise their rookie’s effort. Less than two weeks ago offensive coordinator Frank Reich compared Wentz to Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly and former No. 1 overall pick Andrew Luck. The coaching staff is seriously high on this kid.

Another aspect of Wentz’s game that could be compared to Manning’s is the rookie’s mastery of the pre-snap phase. Wentz hasn’t been shy to change plays at the line of scrimmage and make adjustments based on what he reads from the defense. Manning became for barking out commands and calling audibles at the line of scrimmage.

Pederson believes Wentz’s mental makeup is a great key to the quarterback’s early success.

“I think he does have that type of [photographic] memory, that type of recollection,” said Pederson. “He sees things, he remembers it. We can talk about it after a drive is over. We can obviously see it on the pictures, on the tablets on the sideline. And then when he goes back out there he can remember that defense. If he sees that front, or that coverage, that look, again, he knows exactly what’s coming defensively. He can put us in the right play.”

“For a young quarterback, after just a few weeks to have that type of recollection, it’s something special.”


Pederson also gave an update on the Eagles’ injury situation during his Monday press conference. According to the head coach, starting tight end Zach Ertz and starting cornerback Leodis McKelvin are set to return after Philadelphia’s Week 4 bye. Pederson added that rookie offensive lineman Isaac Seumalo is expected to get some practice work in before the Lions game as well.

Lead running back Ryan Mathews curiously played only a few snaps against the Steelers. The reason for this, as Pederson explained it, is that Mathews’ left ankle is bothering him. It’s the same one that caused him to start training camp on the non-football injury list. Mathews also rolled up on the same ankle during Philadelphia’s Week 1 win over the Browns.

Rookie rusher Wendell Smallwood and veteran backup Kenjon Barner both ran the ball well in Mathews’ absence. Smallwood rushed for 79 yards and one touchdown on 17 carries while Barner gained 42 yards on eight attempts. Despite their production, don’t expect the Eagles to suddenly move away from the oft-injured Mathews.

“I think we just continue the same way, really,” said Pederson when asked about the Eagles’ running back rotation. “When Ryan is healthy, he’s the guy. Then Darren [Sproles], we mix Darren in there. You saw what Wendell can do and you saw what Kenjon is all about. Everybody is a little different runner. Wendell did an excellent job between the tackles last night. Kenjon, off tackle. And of course Darren, he can kind of do everything.”

“So we’ll still keep the rotation the same. We’re not going to change much that way. Just want to get everybody in the football game.”