PHILADELPHIA -- Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians had high praise for Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz, drawing comparisons to two of the better QBs he's worked with over the course of his career.
"I loved him coming out [of college]," said Arians in a conference call with Philadelphia reporters Wednesday ahead of this weekend's game between the Eagles and Cardinals. "He really reminded me a lot of Andrew Luck: big, strong, physical, played in a pro offense. Had that linebacker mentality playing quarterback, and it shows up, his toughness. Can really hurt you out of the pocket and in the pocket. He is such a good athlete. He reminds me a lot of Ben [Roethlisberger] in a lot of ways how he just throws guys off in the pocket and makes big plays downfield."
Arians served as Roethlisberger's offensive coordinator in Pittsburgh from 2007 to 2011 and was the offensive coordinator/interim head coach for the Indianapolis Colts in 2012, Luck's rookie year. The Colts went 11-5 and made the playoffs that season, and a big reason why is Luck engineered seven game-winning drives -- a rookie record. Arians believes one of the things that distinguishes really good quarterbacks from the pack is an ability to thrive in "two-minute" football -- a quality he sees in Wentz.
"Can you bring your team back from adversity and win games. I think that's what separated Andrew Luck as a rookie. I think he still has the record probably for most comebacks of any quarterback as a rookie, fourth-quarter comebacks, and I think you see that in Carson -- that he can bring a team back."
Wentz has two fourth-quarter comebacks and a pair of game-winning drives on his resume through 20 career games.
Arians sees value in quarterbacks that ran pro offenses in college, as Wentz did at North Dakota State. Wentz had some pre-snap control while with the Bison, and sees the carry-over to the pros.
"He did it well in college. He did check-with-mes before, changed protections," Arians said. "He came out of a very, very good offense in college, well-coached, so it really wasn't new to him. He probably already had the keys in his head on why he was changing plays."