The word marriage has long been used to describe the relationship between Carson Wentz and Doug Pederson. There have been good times, bad times, sickness, health — and more richer than poorer following Wentz’s $128 million contract extension. The Eagles head coach and franchise quarterback remain attached at the hip and so do their suddenly worrisome legacies.
Pederson benched Wentz as the starting quarterback of the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, pulling him with 7:39 left in the third quarter and inserting Jalen Hurts into the game for a much-needed “spark.” Which the dual-threat rookie from Oklahoma, by way of Alabama, did with both his legs and arm.
On Monday, Pederson was asked if he had chosen next week’s starter yet and how he intends to factor in their “lifelong relationship” into the toughest decision of his coaching career. Twenty-four hours later, he still isn’t sure.
“You’re absolutely right. We are married to this,” Pederson told reporters. “It’s something that I pride myself on and we’re definitely — he and I are definitely in a situation that we’ve got to work ourselves out of. My job is to help him and to help him improve and to get better and to help this football team win. My job is also to take and look at the big picture, too, and look at the entire football team, right? Those are all things that I’ve got to consider as we move forward.”
It’s not only the most difficult debate in Pederson’s tenure in South Philly but arguably the biggest one in Eagles’ history. This one decision could shape, or misshape, the future of the franchise. Pederson kept reiterating he needs more time to think, adding that he wanted to keep all conversations private.
“No, I have not made a decision yet,” Pederson said. “As far as communication goes with any player, I elect to keep those private.”
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Coach Drawing on Experiences From Playing Days
One interesting twist to the drama unfolding in Philly right now is Pederson’s own experience in dealing with a quarterback controversy, only he was on the other end of that one. Donovan McNabb was the franchise-face-in-waiting in 1999 when Pederson was the starter. Then-Eagles coach Andy Reid pulled the trigger in Week 10 and everything worked out.
“Well, one, obviously I’ve been through it personally as player,” Pederson said. “So I’ve kind of experienced that from a player’s perspective and the feedback I got from obviously Coach Reid at the time, so I can lean on that experience.”
It’s the reason why Pederson has been so adamant about letting any “outside influence” affect his decision-making process.
“I don’t necessarily want to be swayed by others’ opinions,” Pederson said. “Because sometimes that can cloud judgment, right? And even sometimes as a play-caller, you go with your gut.”
Aaron Rodgers Posts Career-Best Grade
According to Pro Football Focus, Aaron Rodgers posted the best passing grade of his illustrious career on Sunday at 97.1. The Green Bay Packers All-Pro went 25-of-34 for 295 passing yards in a 30-16 win over the Eagles.
Rodgers threw three touchdowns on the day, including two scores to Davante Adams who was on the receiving end of the quarterback’s 400th. Safe to say, it was a good day for everyone (except for maybe Hurts) not wearing midnight green in Week 13.
“This was a really stout defense, lot of veteran guys on that side, lot of big, tough dudes on that side,” Rodgers said after the game, via the Wilson Post. “It was a chippy game, but I like how we stuck to it.”
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