The Eagles aren’t going to make a quarterback change right now or anytime soon. Doug Pederson said his “mind wasn’t there” to pull the plug on Carson Wentz even after the face of the franchise committed four turnovers against Dallas. The head coach was determined to give Wentz every opportunity to win Sunday’s game. Which he did, albeit in a sometimes painful and reckless fashion.
Watching Wentz has brought to mind a certain ex-Eagles signal-caller who went through a similar stretch of misfortune. Donovan McNabb was benched in 2008 after coughing the ball up seven times in six quarters. McNabb sat out two quarters and then returned with gusto the following week.
Wentz has 16 total giveaways in 2020, including five turnovers in his last seven quarters. He leads the league in interceptions (12) and sacks (32) while ranking second in total fumbles (7) and fumbles lost (4). While it hasn’t been fun to watch, there is no lack of confidence in him from the coaching staff.
“Listen, Carson is our starter and we got a lot of trust and faith in him that he can get the job done, and by no means was I in a position to make a decision or make a move yesterday,” Pederson told reporters on Monday. “It’s just something that we’ve got to continue to coach and we’ve got to continue to get better. He understands he has to get better in that area.”
When asked if he might consider benching Wentz for a game or two — maybe to take a step back and get fresh eyes on it — Pederson doubled down. The head coach and star quarterback are going to work through their issues together. Pederson relayed a story about the Chiefs not sitting Alex Smith in 2015 after five straight losses. Kansas City reeled off 10 straight victories to end the year.
“Not saying that we are going to win 11 straight here,” Pederson said, “but what I’m saying is, we are going to work through our issues. We are going to work through our problems.”
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Jalen Hurts ‘Prepared If Called Upon’
The Eagles spent a valuable second-round pick on a quarterback who is mostly holding a clipboard every week. Jalen Hurts, the team’s gadget-play specialist, saw just three snaps versus Dallas and completed one pass for nine yards.
There has been a small chorus growing for the rookie to take over for Wentz. Pederson isn’t ready to do that, but he did provide an update on Hurts’ development.
“Jalen’s doing a nice job,” Pederson said. “He’s prepared during the week and he understands the game plan.”
Hurts has been the primary backup behind Wentz ever since Week 2, with Nate Sudfeld listed as a healthy scratch all year. There might come a time, maybe sooner than later, when the Eagles are forced to throw the dual-threat quarterback into the fire. The organization believes he has a firm enough grasp on the offense to be successful.
“I think that you can’t do go in and say, hey, learn the offense like Carson knows it right now, but I think you can do some things with him that allow him to be successful if we had to,” Pederson said. “But he’s in a good position. He studies hard during the week with Nate, and he’s prepared if called upon.”
Wentz’s Turnovers Remain ‘Unacceptable’
Everyone in Philadelphia is in agreement that the turnovers need to stop. They are inexcusable and unacceptable at any time and especially eight weeks into a football season. Pederson said they will go back and watch the tape, specifically the “turnover reel,” and figure out how to fix it. Eliminate and reduce mental errors.
“We have to go through the cutup of the turnovers and see if there’s decisions that we can make otherwise,” Pederson said. “We have to show them the mental errors and we fix it and correct it and move on.”
The Eagles have a bye week this week so they’ll have plenty of time to get it corrected. The team doesn’t return for game action until Nov. 15 versus New York, but they’ll spend the early part of this week at the NovaCare Complex reviewing the film.
“We’re not game-planning this week, yet we can go back and watch us and see where we need to improve,” Pederson said, “and also show them the good that came out of the first eight weeks.”
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