Eagles News: NFL Insiders Still Believe Carson Wentz Is Clearly Better Than Dak Prescott

Which rookie quarterback will shine brightest on Sunday?

Carson Wentz. (USA Today Sports)

Carson Wentz. (USA Today Sports)

Carson Wentz versus Dak Prescott is the big story-line this week as the Eagles prepare to face the Cowboys. The two rookie quarterbacks haven’t even played each other yet and they’re already being mentioned in the same breath as the Tom Brady versus Peyton Manning rivalry due to their impressive NFL starts.

Naturally, there’s a lot of debate about which player is better. Is it Wentz, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft? Or has fourth-round rookie Prescott outplayed him?

First, a look at the numbers.

Wentz – 63.8% completion, 1324 yards (7.2 average), 8 TD, 3 INT, 92.7 rating, 43 rush yards

Prescott – 68.7% completion, 1486 yards (8.2 average), 7 TD, 1 INT, 103.9 rating, 67 rush yards, 3 rush TD

Prescott edges out Wentz from a statistical standpoint. Then again, there’s no question Prescott has a better supporting cast. Not only do the Cowboys have one of the best offensive lines in the NFL, but they also have the league’s leading rusher in Ezekiel Elliott. Having a Hall of Fame tight end in Jason Witten and one of the NFL’s best receivers in Dez Bryant sure doesn’t hurt either. Wentz, meanwhile, is in desperate need of more weapons.

For more on the Wentz vs. Prescott comparison, Mike Sando put together an interesting column for ESPN Insider where he asked six NFL personnel evaluators to pick between the rookie quarterbacks. As it turns out, all the evaluators would still take Wentz over Prescott.

The six league insiders polled here — the GM, ex-GM, head coach and three personnel directors — all had Wentz rated higher than Prescott entering the draft. All six said they would still take Wentz over Prescott now, but the gap between the two would be much smaller.

“Don’t get me wrong, I’d take either one right now, sign a 10-year contract and go,” the GM said. “Dak has done nothing wrong. Just the way Wentz goes about his business, he impresses me a lot. Wentz reminds me of Ben Roethlisberger — a big guy who can stand back there and throw it.”

The first of what could possibly be many more battles between Wentz and Prescott will take place in front of a national audience on Sunday Night Football. It’s a big stage for a big NFC East game between two bitter rivals. There’s no doubt there will be a big focus on which quarterback comes out on top.

And now for a look at some other Eagles news and notes …

FRANK REICH ABSOLVES WENTZ OF A MISTAKE

According to the Eagles’ offensive coordinator, Wentz wasn’t to blame for the first interception he threw in the Eagles-Vikings game.

Well, there was one interception last week that wasn’t Carson’s fault. We had a receiver [Brent Celek] get impeded on his way to where the ball is going to probably hit him right in stride and he was impeded and wasn’t able to get to the spot that he was supposed to get to. We made a throw that probably normally would have been a completion and instead it ended up as an interception. The other one was just a forced interception, and Carson said that. Every now and then, it happens to the best of them.

[…]

I would say Carson had nothing to do with that [first] interception. He was going to the right place with the ball. The throw maybe wasn’t perfect, but if the receiver is not impeded, in my opinion, it’s a catch.

Watch the play again below. Eric Kendricks has tight coverage on Celek. Apparently the Eagles felt it was a little too tight.

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DONOVAN MCNABB TALKS CARSON WENTZ

Originally a skeptic of the Eagles’ decision to trade up for Wentz, McNabb is now riding on the Wentz Wagon. Via ESPN’s Tim McManus:

“But now, what he’s been showing is the fact that it was the right move. They have a quarterback for the future if he continues to stay healthy, if he continues to progress. I like what I’m seeing from him in the pocket. He has the ability to use his legs. But you can definitely tell there’s a bright future with this kid.”

McNabb also offered some advice for Wentz and talked about how the Birds need to put more weapons around the rookie quarterback.

DEZ BRYANT RETURNS THIS WEEK

Bryant was a limited participant in practice on Wednesday, but the Cowboys reportedly expect to have him active on Sunday night. Dallas was without Bryant for their last three games due to a knee injury.

Bryant has played in nine career games against Philadelphia. He has 49 receptions for 775 yards and eight touchdowns during that span. It goes without saying keeping Bryant in check will be another big challenge for the Eagles’ defense.

BRANDON MARSHALL TO THE EAGLES?

Pederson denied the trade rumors about the Eagles reportedly being interested in wide receivers, but that didn’t stop Albert Breer of The MMQB from throwing out an interesting possibility.

Jets WR Brandon Marshall: He’s been nothing short of great for the franchise, but he’s also turning 33 in March, making him a win-now piece for a team that’s trying to rebuild on the fly. If you’re the Eagles, knowing you get to keep him for $7.5 million next year, would you make a call?

The Eagles should definitely make a call to New York. Yes, Marshall turns 33 after this season, but the Birds absolutely need to provide Wentz with more weapons. Philadelphia doesn’t need to break the bank for an aging player, but Marshall is at least an option worth considering. It probably won’t happen, though.

JOSH HUFF WINS A “SPECIAL” AWARD

Huff earned NFC Special Teams Player of the Week honors for Week 7 thanks to his 98-yard kickoff return for a touchdown against the Vikings. This is the second time in his career Huff has won this award. The first time was two seasons ago. Huff and Cordarrelle Patterson are the only two NFL players with multiple kickoff return touchdowns since 2014.

JORDAN HICKS HAS BEEN GREAT IN COVERAGE

The Eagles’ second-year middle linebacker is playing well. Here’s an interesting note from Pro Football Focus.

MLB Jordan Hicks has surrendered 0.22 yards per coverage snap, which is the lowest for middle/inside linebackers. Despite playing in 90 percent of snaps so far this season, Hicks has yet to allow more than 17 yards in a game. He’s surrendered just 53.8 percent of passes thrown his way for 6.1 yards per catch. Dak Prescott hasn’t found as much success on short passes in the middle of the field compared to other areas. Hicks should be able to make sure that trend continues.

Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz praised Hicks during his Thursday press conference.

He’s a smart player; he knows his way to the ball. He can execute the scheme. Jordan played one of the best games I’ve seen all year. I mean, he played at a different level in this game. He was covering and tackling in the open field. His tackle for a loss on that one toss play was a big, big play in the game. He was all over the place and he was putting us in the right calls, too. There’s a lot on the middle linebacker and there’s nothing that we’ve thrown at him that he has not been able to handle.

SOUNDS FROM THE FIELD

Check out these two video clips for mic’d up audio from the Eagles-Vikings game: NFL Turning Point and Sound FX.