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Eagles laud Carson Wentz as 'special, special player'

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The Eagles stunned the NFL last week by trading away veteran passer Sam Bradford to the Minnesota Vikings. It's not a decision Philadelphia's front office regrets.

Since 2010, Bradford has posted just two career games with at least 275 yards, two touchdowns, no picks and a 100-plus passer rating, per NJ.com's Joe Giglio.

Eagles rookie Carson Wentz performed that feat in his first NFL start on Sunday, a 29-10 lashing of the Cleveland Browns.

"All I know is he's a great football player and he's a great competitor," Eagles wideout Nelson Agholor told the team's official website. "That's what it comes down to with being poised like that. He understands what the game is going to be. He's going to take some hits and make some great plays and he's ready for that moment."

Wentz remains a work in progress -- especially with some of his mechanics -- but the No. 2 overall pick made plenty of big throws against a wanting Browns secondary, hitting 22-of-37 passes for 278 yards and a pair of scores. His first touchdown lob to receiver Jordan Matthews was a pretty over-the-shoulder toss that hit its target perfectly in the back left corner of the end zone.

"He has a maturity about him that even if it's not crunch time, he's always treating it like it is," Matthews said. "So then when you come out to the game, he goes and plays and it's easy for him. His motto is 'AO1,' Audience of One, so he doesn't let any of the outside stuff affect him. He hones in on what he needs to do and he goes out there and perfects his craft. I really wasn't all the surprised."

Keep in mind that Wentz's first start came against the organization that boldly decided to pass on him in this year's draft -- and spent last week nitpicking his game in the press. Cleveland's players, though, couldn't deny what they saw.

"He's awesome," Browns wideout Terrelle Pryor told The Plain Dealer. "I'll tell you guys right now, I was just talking with him and a couple people, that kid's going to be a baller. (The Eagles) got one. I just liked his patience, he was great, he did an awesome job. He looked like he'd been there before."

Said Pro Bowl Browns cornerback Joe Haden: "He did a really good job. He was more advanced than I expected him to be. He's a good quarterback. He stands in the pocket, he's able to make all the throws, very patient, and does not take off running all the time. He looks down the field and picks his receiver that he wants to throw to."

The counterpoint is obvious: What does it really mean if Wentz played well against the Browns, a team engaged in an almost cosmic-level rebuild? I'd argue it really doesn't matter who the opponent is. Wentz still has work to do and will be tested by better teams, but, like Dak Prescott in Dallas, he's yet another example of today's young quarterbacks being groomed to play and produce right away. 

Wentz passed his first test, showing off the size, mobility and arm strength today's NFL teams desire at the most important position in sports. So far, so good.

"I think that everyone was kind of doubting us because he was a rookie quarterback, but we knew what we had in the building all along with Carson," said tight end Zach Ertz. "He didn't play like a rookie today by any means. To go out there and start with eight days' notice and to have no turnovers speaks volumes about his play."

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