Seattle coach Pete Carroll said he was quite impressed with Carson Wentz and the Eagles, when Carroll spoke with Philadelphia-area reporters Wednesday on a conference call.
This is the time-honored way of the conference call. Never yet heard a coach say, "gee, the team you guys cover really stinks and we ought to win easily this week." But Carroll mentioned a few specifics that were worth noting.
"He's got leadership, he's got confidence, he's got awareness," Carroll said of Wentz, the Eagles' second-year quarterback, who continues to lead Pro Bowl balloting at his position. "He just has all the elements to be a great player, I think."
Asked if he could tell the Eagles were a 10-1 team by watching tape, Carroll said: "What the good teams have is a balance to them, where there's no vulnerability, and these guys are really solid."
Ex-Eagles Marcus Smith and Matt Tobin are playing backup roles for Carroll's team, Smith at right defensive end, Tobin at offensive tackle.
"Sometimes guys go places and the expectations are so high, it's hard to meet up with it," Carroll said of Smith, the Eagles' 2014 first-round pick, who failed spectacularly before being released this year as training camp began.
"We saw him as a guy who could help us and jump in and be versatile. He's done all of that. He's been a good addition to our team, and we're happy to have him," Carroll said.
Smith has 2.5 sacks and a couple of forced fumbles in nine games.
Tobin, traded Aug. 21 along with a seventh-round draft pick for a fifth-rounder, has appeared in 10 games for Seattle.
"We needed some consistency, and a guy with versatility, Matt's played everywhere. That was really valuable to us, that he could play guard and tackle. He's been able to do that for us, and been a really good addition," Carroll said.
Middle linebacker Joe Walker, who suffered a stinger in Sunday's victory over the Bears, did not practice Wednesday. Dannell Ellerbe, signed Nov. 13, said he took some reps in the middle, though he doesn't know the defense well enough to call the coverages. Ellerbe, who hasn't appeared in an Eagles game yet, said the signal-calling role will remain with Nigel Bradham.
The other middle linebacking option is Najee Goode, who stepped in when Walker went down.
Carson Wentz was asked about the benching of Giants quarterback Eli Manning, during Wentz's news conference Wednesday.
"We've spoken after a couple of games and stuff. I don't really personally know him real well. Ton of respect for him as a player, as a quarterback; he's been a great one for years now. He's shown that he can win in big games, too," Wentz said.