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Eagles coach: 'Lot of similarities' between Carson Wentz, Ben Roethlisberger

PHILADELPHIA -- There are some legitimate parallels to draw between Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz and Ben Roethlisberger, who will be in town Sunday when the Eagles host the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Roethlisberger is 6-foot-5, 240 pounds. Wentz is listed at 6-5, 237. Both are first-round picks out of lesser-known football programs -- Roethlisberger from Miami (Ohio); Wentz from North Dakota State. Each started his rookie NFL season as a third-stringer, only to rapidly ascend into a starting role.

And, as Eagles coach Doug Pederson pointed out, each is capable of doing some damage on the move.

"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," Pederson said. "I think that's one of Carson's strengths, is he continues to have that vision down the field when things begin to break down.

"So, yeah, there's a lot of similarities there. And the fact that they're both very good throwers outside the pocket is a tribute to both of them."

Wentz wouldn't mind mirroring Roethlisberger when it comes to early achievement. Roethlisberger went an amazing 13-0 as a starter during the regular season in his rookie year and was a Super Bowl champion by age 23.

Wentz has completed 61 percent of his passes for 468 yards, three touchdowns and no turnovers to help the Eagles jump out to a 2-0 record. He has caught the attention of those around the league in the process.

"Carson is doing a great job of making reads and getting them in good plays and maybe getting them out of some bad plays," Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said. "He's showing great maturity for a young guy from that perspective in terms of the amount of communication he's involved with. ... Those who are successful generally don't play like rookies."

That's the point that Pederson continues to bring up. He likened Wentz to a nine- or 10-year vet after Monday's win over the Bears, pointing to the quarterback's command of the huddle and the way he is communicating between series.

"It's the fact that he's having [those conversations]," Pederson said. "You don't see that all the time. Number two, is the depth and the actual game-plan specific things that he's seeing out there on the field, what he's hearing out on the field, and coming to us and recommending.

"He's asking me all the time, 'What are you thinking on the next series?' And so I give him two or three passes, a run or two in there, and things that we're seeing. At the same time, I want to know what he's thinking because he's the one playing the game."

Pederson said he's never been around a rookie signal-caller like that.

"Not at the quarterback position," he said. "Had Alex [Smith] in Kansas City -- seven-, eight-, nine-year guy at the time -- and he was that way. Of course in Green Bay, [Brett] Favre. More veteran guys. But this is what I'm seeing out of Carson right now on the sideline. He and I are dialoguing on the sideline. He's constantly with [offensive coordinator] Frank [Reich] and with the guys, and he's constantly playing the game in his mind.

"That's what's given him, I think, an edge when he goes back out on the field -- just understanding situations."

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