Less than two years in, his teammates’ inventories of Wentz-inspired folklore are already fully stocked, reports ESPN the magazine, which has him on the cover (above).
Tight end Trey Burton remembers watching Wentz play through a fractured rib last August. Fellow tight end Brent Celek raves about Wentz’s red zone run against Carolina this season and the way he just ran full-bore into a defender.
Lord, do they love that here. They eat it up. And then throw in some wins? Mayhem.
In defense of said mayhem, consider: Everything that this town believes, everything it wants to believe about Wentz, is buttressed by ample evidence. Through his first nine games this season, besides steering the Eagles to the league’s best record, Wentz had thrown 23 touchdown passes. That’s more than any other Eagle has rung up to start a season in franchise history and third only to Dan Marino and Kurt Warner among all quarterbacks in the first nine games of their first or second year.
Last fall, long before the team’s hot start to this season, the NFL Network’s Brian Baldinger declared Wentz to be “Peyton Manning pre-snap and Aaron Rodgers post-snap.” And it’s true that at least once a game he’ll thunder “Kill, Kill” at the line, evoking Manning’s “Omaha,” or extend a play to laser a pinpoint throw into a shrinking window to his receiver, conjuring Rodgers’ wizardry.
Through Week 11, Wentz boasted the NFL’s third-best TD-to-INT ratio, behind Tom Brady and Alex Smith. His QBR (70.9) was fourth best, his yards per attempt (7.6) was ninth, and his third-down completion percentage (64.8) ranked sixth.
Mike Giddings, president of Proscout Inc. and consultant to up to 15 NFL teams at any given time, uses a color-coded system to evaluate talent — blue in Proscout parlance connotes star or superstar ability. As he skims through his notes on Wentz at the midseason mark, a theme develops: “Big plays, blue. Buying a second chance, blue. Speed, blue. Hanging in the pocket, blue.” In all, Giddings finds that among the 23 traits he analyzes in quarterbacks, Wentz rates blue in 12 of them. Only two passers in the league claim more. “Oh my,” he says, tallying them up. “He’s top three. He’s in there with Tom Brady and Drew Brees right now.”
Everyone and everything — stats, experts, talking heads — tell hopeful Philadelphia fans the same story: This is real: