Give Doug Pederson credit for stepping up to the post-game podium and absorbing the bullets. He answered every question about the brewing quarterback controversy without naming a starter for next week. The Philadelphia Eagles head coach needs time to sleep on it.
Pederson pulled Carson Wentz in the third quarter and inserted rookie Jalen Hurts. He played well and nearly guided the Eagles to an improbable comeback. After the game, Pederson pumped the brakes on making any rash decisions like benching Wentz permanently. He needs to watch the game tape and evaluate everything. Remember, he went on record last week saying “everything is on the table.”
“You’ve got to let me get through this game,” Pederson told reporters on Sunday. “There’s a lot of things I’m going to consider and evaluate before anything is decided. I just felt like where we were as an offense, we needed a spark. As crazy as it sounds, we’ve got four games left. Anything is possible. We’ve just got to continue to work and fight each week.”
Hurts, of course, came in and took the Eagles down the field for a touchdown on his second series in relief of Wentz. The dual-threat quarterback finished 5-of-12 for 109 yards through the air and hit Greg Ward for a 32-yard touchdown. He also connected on big gainers to Zach Ertz (20 yards), Alshon Jeffery (13 yards) and Jalen Reagor (34 yards) while running five times for 29 yards. It’ll be interesting to see which player the Eagles have under center next week against the New Orleans Saints.
“At the end of the day, it’s outside of my control,” Wentz said. “That’s not for me [to decide]. I know what I’m capable of. I know I can play better. I have never doubted myself or lost my confidence in my abilities.
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Wentz, Hurts React to Brewing QB Controversy
Meanwhile, Wentz revealed he didn’t know what the initial plan for Hurts was. The rookie has been rotating in on a handful of series here and there all year as a gadget-play specialist. When Hurts first went into the game on Sunday, it looked similar to one of his 33 previous NFL snaps. However, Pederson sensed a “spark” and stuck with the hot hand. It allowed Hurts to get into a rhythm.
Wentz was supportive of Hurts, according to Pederson, and didn’t complain of being benched. The face of the franchise admitted it was “frustrating” and he knows he can play better.
“I didn’t know what the plan was fully. I was just told he was going in for the next play, next series,” Wentz said of learning he was out. “Obviously, that’s frustrating as a competitor and just the personality that I have. I want to be the guy out there, but it is what it is.”
Hurts wouldn’t take the bait about whether he deserves to start next week. The Eagles clearly had a spark with him in the game, something the 22-year-old wasn’t naive enough to deny, but it’s up to the coaching staff to figure out lineup changes.
Hurts mentioned “doing whatever the team needs me to do” several times in his post-game Zoom call, then attempted to steer the conversation back to the game itself. His touchdown toss on 4th-and-18 didn’t earn the Eagles the victory.
“Not enough,” Hurts said following the 30-16 loss to the Green Bay Packers. “Not enough. We lost the game.”