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The Philadelphia Eagles appear to have a franchise quarterback in the fold

Carson Wentz was the second pick of the draft, he's big, mobile and winning, and he heads today's notebook

Someone asked Mike Tomlin to make a player comparison for Carson Wentz, the rookie quarterback of the 2-0 Philadelphia Eagles, the team to which the 2-0 Steelers travel to play next Sunday evening.

Tomlin said, "I don't have to cite examples. I can read his stat line."

That line reads: 71 attempts, 43 completions, 468 yards, no interceptions and three touchdown passes.

That breaks down to 61 percent completed, 6.6 yards per attempt, a 94.1 passer rating and, again, a 2-0 record in his first two starts.

Anyone else want to cite a player comparison?

Anyone else know someone similar to the 6-5, 237-pound Wentz? Anyone else that big, that mobile? Anyone else who stepped right in and won right away?

Yep.

While anyone would hate to offer up Ben Roethlisberger after only two games of Wentz's career, the numbers, the size, the winning are very similar.

Roethlisberger, a 6-5, 241-pound rookie, won his first two (on his way to winning his first 14 games) and in those two games he completed 62 percent of his passes at 7.2 yards per attempt with an 88.7 passer rating. He did throw one interception, but then again one of those two games was played during a tropical storm in Miami.

Tomlin said there are three reasons why the Eagles are playing so well with a rookie quarterback (other than the second pick of the draft's obvious skills):

1. Turnover margin of +4.

2. Defense that ranks fourth in the league (286 yards per game; 12 points per game).

3. Outstanding offensive line that's anchored by an eight-time Pro Bowler (Jason Peters) at left tackle, a fourth-year former No. 4 overall pick (Lane Johnson) at right tackle; a left guard (Allen Barbre) and center (Pro Bowler Jason Kelce) who've started together since the start of 2015; and a right guard acquired in free agency (Brandon Brooks) who was a three-year starter elsewhere.

Want to compare all of that with the 2004 Steelers of Roethlisberger's rookie season?

1. Turnover margin of +11.

2. Defense that ranked first in the league (258 yards per game; 16 points per game).

3. Outstanding offensive line anchored by a then-four-time Pro Bowler (Alan Faneca), had a Pro Bowler in the pivot (Jeff Hartings), a high draft pick who was in his fifth year with the team (Marvel Smith) and two players replaced after the season (Keydrick Vincent, Oliver Ross) who were with the team four and five years, respectively.

The similarities are clear, but of course Roethlisberger's Steelers did it throughout an entire season, 16-1 before losing to the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game.

Concluded Tomlin: "We are going into a hostile environment versus another NFC East foe, one that is undefeated and has the optimism that comes with being undefeated, under a new staff and a quality, new and young quarterback in Wentz. We have a big week of work ahead of us. "

WHEATON, FINALLY

Two weeks ago, Markus Wheaton met with reporters and patiently answered questions about an injured right shoulder that just had a band-aid on it.

Wheaton laughed at a comment that he must be close to returning since that band-aid appeared to be the only remnant of any treatment, and he said that, yes, he was close.

But after missing two games, Wheaton seems to have finally received clearance this week. "We are very optimistic," Tomlin said.

While Wheaton may not be the big, strong, explosive downfield threat that Sammie Coates is, Wheaton is more consistent both with his hands and his understanding of the offense.

And, while Wheaton has lost his job in the slot to Eli Rogers when the Steelers use three wide receivers, Wheaton still knows the position and offers versatility.

Most importantly, Wheaton gives Roethlisberger a veteran presence. After working two games with three new tight ends, and new second and third WRs, Roethlisberger will certainly welcome Wheaton back opposite Antonio Brown.

LADARIUS, FINALLY?

Injured tight end Ladarius Green told a reporter Monday that he could return for the Oct. 23 Steelers game against the Patriots. That meshes with word that Green's private workouts have been outstanding.

But is Oct. 23 realistic? Green must remain on the PUP list for six weeks, so the first day Green is eligible for activation is Oct. 17.

On Oct. 17, the Steelers would have five weeks to decide whether to activate him and allow him to practice. If they activate him, they have 21 days to decide whether to add him to the 53-man roster. If either deadline passes, Green must remain on the PUP list the rest of the year.

If Green's activated Oct. 17, a practice on Oct. 19 would be his very first with the Steelers. He didn't even practice with them in the spring.

If the tight ends continue to play as well as they have the first two games, the Steelers can take their time with Green, a 6-6 seam-stretcher.

In two games, Jesse James is third on the team with eight receptions (60 yards) and Xavier Grimble has two catches for 26 yards. Both have scored touchdowns.

How's their blocking?

"Both have been above the line," Tomlin said. "But they've gotten quality assistance from David Johnson ... specifically in the run game."


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