Wilson, Seahawks represent standard for visiting Eagles
Carson Wentz has been such an immediate hit that he has drawn some comparisons to Seattle star Russell Wilson.
The next task for the Philadelphia Eagles rookie quarterback will be leading his team past Wilson's squad.
Wentz and Wilson square off against each other for the initial time on Sunday when the Eagles (5-4) visit the Seahawks (6-2-1) at CenturyLink Stadium (4:25 p.m. ET, CBS).
There were some observers who wondered whether Wentz would need to be brought along slowly after being the No. 2 overall pick out of North Dakota State. Instead, he has exploded on the scene, similar to the way Wilson did in 2012 after being a third-round draft choice.
And Seattle's Pete Carroll, who is looking for his 100th win as an NFL head coach, is among the people who see the similarities.
“He shows you the same kind of capabilities,” Carroll said of Wentz. “He's got the same kind of awareness and leadership and it looks like the mentality that there's no question that he can play and play now and be effective.
“I'm sure they're thinking they're going to go for their division, they're going to try to win the thing with that young guy quarterback because they can believe in him. You can see all the reasons why. He's very similar.”
Wentz has passed for 2,121 yards and nine touchdowns against five interceptions. He has completed 65 percent of his passes while displaying poise beyond his years.
Wilson showed that same type of top-level maturity in his first season when he passed for 3,118 yards and 26 touchdowns while being intercepted 10 times. He is now an established star and is impressed with what he has seen of Wentz.
“I've watched Carson a few times this season,” Wilson said. “He's playing great football. He's a great player. He's a great quarterback. And he's going to be a great quarterback for a long time.
“He can move out of the pocket and make plays. He can make all the throws. You're going to have a good one there (in Philadelphia) for a lot of years to come.”
Wilson is having another fine season despite some early-season ailments that hindered his play. He has passed for 2,442 yards and 10 touchdowns against just two interceptions.
Wentz said he has followed Wilson's career and is impressed with his accomplishments that include leading Seattle to two Super Bowl appearances.
“A lot of respect for him, the way he came into the league right away and took it by storm as a later pick. It was impressive,” Wentz said. “So I have a lot of respect for him and look forward to going up against him.”
What might not be as fun for Wentz is the environment inside Seattle's stadium.
The Eagles are just 1-4 on the road as they prepare to play at one of the most raucous sites in the NFL.
“I think the biggest thing is you need to communicate a lot. You need to over-communicate,” Wentz said. “You need to work on hand signals both with the O-linemen and the receivers. You've got to work through a lot of those things.”
Eagles head coach Doug Pederson is mighty familiar with the environment and the passion of Seattle fans.
Pederson grew up in Ferndale, located about 100 miles north of Seattle, and used to regularly attend Seahawks' games at The Kingdome.
“I grew up a Seahawks fan and the Kingdome and all of that,” Pederson said. “I remember on Sunday mornings driving down with my mom and dad and going to Seahawks' games and watching Jim Zorn and Steve Largent and Kenny Easley and those guys. It was always a great memory for me as a kid.”
Pederson could use another big memory in terms of an upset with the Eagles residing in last place in the NFC East despite being above .500.
Philadelphia is also catching Seattle after the Seahawks posted an impressive 31-24 road victory over the New England Patriots last Sunday.
Wilson passed for 348 yards and three touchdowns and the Seattle defense saved the game with a late goal-line stand.
An underlying factor in the victory was the emergence of rookie running back C.J. Prosise, who had 153 total yards (66 rushing, 87 receiving). His play was so solid that the Seahawks released leading rusher Christine Michael (469 yards) earlier this week with injured Thomas Rawls (fibula) about to return.
Meanwhile, the Eagles hope to have top receiver Jordan Matthews (48 receptions, 580 yards). He is dealing with back spasms and is questionable.
Philadelphia's defense is receiving strong play from its front four with defensive end Brandon Graham leading the way with five sacks.
Cliff Avril has a team-best 9.0 sacks for a Seattle defense that is tied for second in the NFL with 29.