Let's start making the real comparisons with Carson Wentz

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Let's start making the real comparisons with Carson Wentz

It’s time to stop comparing Carson Wentz to other “young quarterbacks.” It’s time to stop comparing him to Dak Prescott or other current rivals. It’s time to stop comparing him to Donovan McNabb or any other Eagles quarterback from the distant past.

Because with Wentz, it’s no longer about how he stacks up to other Eagles QBs or other young QBs. It’s about how he stacks up with Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers and Peyton Manning.

I’ve seen enough.

I’ve seen enough after 27 career games and 11 games this year to safely conclude that Wentz, provided of course he stays healthy, will go down as an all-time great.  

I know, I know. Crazy, right?

This isn't to say he's as accomplished as those guys, just that if you project his current level of play over an entire career, he's right there.

Just 15 months ago, Wentz was the Eagles’ third-stringer behind Sam Bradford and Chase Daniel, and it looked like he wasn’t even going to play.

Now? He’s putting up numbers that very, very few quarterbacks have ever put up at any point of their career.

Think I’m nuts? Think this is premature? That’s fine. Feel free. But the numbers don’t lie. The eye test doesn’t lie. The body of work doesn’t lie.

Let’s just start with 28 touchdowns and five interceptions. Do you know how rare it is for a quarterback to have 28 or more touchdowns and five or fewer interceptions at this point of a season?

Brady has done it twice, Rodgers has done it twice and Wentz has now done it once. And that’s it.

And Brady first accomplished it in his eighth season as a 30-year-old and Rodgers in his seventh season as a 27-year-old.

Wentz is 24.

What about 22 touchdowns in a seven-game span, which Wentz has done over the last seven games? He's one of nine guys in NFL history to do that over any seven-game span but one of only five who's thrown three or fewer interceptions along the way.

One of the most impressive things about Wentz is his consistency. Since that Ravens loss last December in Baltimore, the Eagles are 12-1, and Wentz hasn't experienced anything remotely resembling a bad game. At his worst, he's been very good. At his best, he's been dazzling.

In fact, Wentz has strung together 12 consecutive games with a passer rating of 83 or higher.

Who's had longer streaks in NFL history? Manning, Brady, Rodgers, Steve Young and Troy Aikman. All are or will be Hall of Famers.

Still not buying in? Still not convinced?

OK, how about this:

Wentz is on pace to throw an interception every 70 pass attempts this year and a touchdown every 12½ attempts. There've been only two seasons in NFL history in which a quarterback threw touchdown passes that frequently and interceptions that infrequently. Rodgers in 2011 and Brady in 2007.

Now, the one thing obviously separating Wentz from Brady, Rodgers, Manning, Drew Brees and other all-time great quarterbacks is that he hasn't done it year after year after year, and he hasn't won a Super Bowl. Hasn't even made the playoffs yet.

But he's not going anywhere. All that stuff will come.

I won't be shocked if it comes this year. Honestly, I would be surprised if Wentz doesn't win at least two Lombardis by the time he hangs 'em up.

If you aren't convinced yet that he's capable of it, please raise your hand. Anybody? Didn't think so.

There will be slumps. There will be bad games. There will be challenges along the way.

But you know with his work ethic, determination, approach to practice and the way he takes care of himself, he's only going to get better. Even if he never improves and simply maintains his current level of play over a period of years, we’re still looking at one of the greatest quarterbacks of all-time.

Just based on pure skill, pure ability to carry a football team, he's there.

Wentz has played 27 regular-season NFL games, and we're having this conversation.

Wentz's next touchdown pass will be his 29th.

Brady didn't throw 29 touchdown passes until his eighth season.

And if you want to say, "The Eagles haven't beaten anybody this year," keep in mind that Wentz has faced the No. 4, No. 6 and No. 12 pass defenses in the league and threw at least three touchdowns with no interceptions against each one.

What about McNabb? Don't misjudge all this for any sort of knock on No. 5. It isn't. He was an all-time great Eagle. The best quarterback in Eagles' history. He won nine playoff games for this franchise and reached a Super Bowl.

Wentz doesn't have a postseason résumé yet, but that will come in time.

He's already doing things no quarterback this young has ever done, things that very few quarterbacks of any age have done.

He's your quarterback. And he will be for a very long time.

Michael Bennett knows why Eagles can repeat as Super Bowl champions

Michael Bennett knows why Eagles can repeat as Super Bowl champions

Michael Bennett was with the Seahawks when they won the Super Bowl in 2013, and he was with the Seahawks the next three years when they were supposed to but never did again.

He knows how hard it is to win it twice. If the Seahawks, with Russell Wilson, Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, Marshawn Lynch and company, couldn’t do it, who can?

Bennett thinks his new team is on the right track.

“They’re not complacent,” he said. “You look at most organizations. They win, they think that’s it, that year. But this team is pushing and moving pieces and finding our weaknesses and making them better, and I think that’s how you prepare to win [again]. 

“I think they’ve done a great job of it and me being an addition is something that I think is a great move.”

The Eagles, who won Super Bowl LII six weeks ago, acquired the 32-year-old Bennett, a Pro Bowl defensive end in each of the last three years, and a seventh-round pick from the Seahawks last week in exchange for receiver Marcus Johnson and a fifth-round pick.

Bennett was there in 2014, when the Seahawks went 12-4 and earned the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoff bracket before losing, 28-24, to the Patriots in Super Bowl XLIX in Glendale, Arizona.

The Seahawks were one yard from winning. But that final sequence shows just how hard it is to repeat. The last NFL team to win back-to-back Super Bowls was the Patriots in 2003 and 2004. The last NFC team was the Cowboys in 1992 and 1993.

“When you come to the NFL, you want to hold that Lombardi,” Bennett said. “A lot of people can get Pro Bowls, a lot of people can get a lot of different things in the NFL when it comes to contracts, but not a lot of people can hold that Lombardi, and when you hold it, it’s something that’s very dear. 

“It’s like you’re holding your child and being able to caress it and hold it and it’s yours and it’s something that you really value, and I think for me, that’s what it’s really about. 

“To come into an organization and you look around and everybody wants that. First thing I talked to Howie (Roseman) about was, the first thing he said is, 'I want to go back,' and when you hear somebody say something like that, you feel it, and I felt it through the phone and I felt the vibe, so for me, that’s what it’s really about.”

Bennett was asked what he learned from Seattle’s failure to repeat its 2013 success and how that might help the Eagles find their way to a second consecutive championship.

“I kind of go with the Nelson Mandela approach: ‘You never really lose, you either win or you grow from situations,’" Bennett said.

“And I think we were just growing as a team. We were a young team, we were having so much success, I was on a team full of superstars every single day. There were never enough cameras, every commercial was somebody on my team. So it was just us growing and I think we all just wanted to continue to grow. 

“As you know, in this league, it’s hard to get back to those moments and be able to win those games. Things happen, people get traded, new players come in, things change. I don’t think it took a toll on us, we just move on season to season and try to be the best players we could possibly be.”

Michael Bennett thinks Eagles' DL can be among 'greatest' ever

Michael Bennett thinks Eagles' DL can be among 'greatest' ever

As Michael Bennett watched the Eagles face the Patriots in Super Bowl LII, he couldn’t help but think about how he would fit with the Birds’ defensive line.

And how he could make an already impressive unit even better.

“Then a month later, it happens,” Bennett said at his introductory press conference in Philly on Monday afternoon. “Things always happen for a reason. This is just another great opportunity.”

Bennett is 32 now, but is coming off his third consecutive trip to the Pro Bowl. He clearly thinks he has plenty left in the tank and the Eagles obviously agree. They traded with the Seahawks to get him and then released a more expensive Vinny Curry.

The Birds then brought in Haloti Ngata and let Beau Allen walk in free agency. So the Eagles’ defensive line now includes Bennett, Ngata, Fletcher Cox, Tim Jernigan, Brandon Graham, Chris Long and Derek Barnett. The group includes five former first-round picks and has a combined 11 Pro Bowls between them.

On Monday afternoon, Bennett put the quarterbacks of the NFC East on notice (see story) and then didn’t mince words about how great this defensive line can be in 2018.

“I think it can be one of the greatest,” he said. “I think we can have one of the greatest defensive lines to ever play the game if we approach the game every single way. Just go out there and just keep doing what they’re doing and just finding a way to add and just keep showing how many great players.

“I think a great defensive line is about the rotation. It’s kind of like Golden State. You want to be able to have those guys who can come in and shoot and shoot and score every time.”

This isn’t the first time an Eagles defensive lineman has compared the unit to the Golden State Warriors. In fact, it was Curry who said it last October after the Eagles tortured San Francisco's C.J. Beathard for an afternoon at the Linc (see story). Curry’s out and Bennett is in, but the rotation is still going strong.

Bennett played 934 defensive snaps for the Seahawks in 2017. That was the third most of any defensive lineman in the NFL. For comparison’s sake, Graham led the Eagles’ defensive linemen in snaps with 666 in the regular season; that ranked 43rd in the NFL among defensive linemen.

So maybe that means that the disruptive numbers Bennett put up in Seattle were because he played so much. Or, on the flip side, staying fresh might actually help increase his productivity and lead to more longevity. The Eagles are hoping for the latter.

“I’m comfortable with taking less plays, man,” Bennett said. “But, like I said, I came here to be an All-Star, just like I’ve been, to continuously play at a Pro Bowl level and I don’t think that’s no different. Just taking snaps off, being able to have a [longer] career, it’s something that every player wishes and dreams about. And this organization, when you think about play snaps and counts and keeping guys fresh for the moments that count.

“Because at the end of the day, it’s not about September or October or November; it’s about January and February. To be able to keep guys fresh and to have those opportunities where you have guys to be able to keep rushing the quarterback as savage as we can. You gotta go out there and play savage every single play and I think less snaps can give me the opportunity to do that.”