In one of the most bizarre season finales in NFL history, Jalen Hurts calmly strutted to the post-game podium and took the high road. The rookie quarterback was benched in the fourth quarter of a tight game but didn’t complain. Not once.
The 22-year-old had been informed during the week that backup Nate Sudfeld would get an opportunity to play if the proper situation presented itself. Well, down a field goal with the playoffs out of reach, the Eagles head coach pulled Hurts for the former sixth-round pick. Hurts understood Doug Pederson’s plan.
“Nate’s worked really hard all year, I think he’s a great player and coach wanted to give him an opportunity at some point in the game and he was given an opportunity,” Hurts said after the game. “Like I said, me being a competitor, we talk about winning and going out there and trying to win all the time, and that’s what I’m all about … but, like I said, I trust coach with that, that’s all I can do.”
To be fair, Hurts had been struggling in the game and missed Quez Watkins when he skipped a throw on a potential touchdown late in the third quarter that would have given the Eagles the lead. That wasn’t why Hurts was benched but it deserves to be pointed out. He finished with an abysmal 25.4 passer rating.
Now the Eagles have a tough decision about whether to trade Carson Wentz and turn the keys over to Hurts. It could signal the start of a massive rebuild in South Philly, with a small body of work as the blueprint. Hurts, morphing back into a coffee bean, will use Sunday night’s loss as motivation.
“It’s kind of crazy because this will sit on my chest all offseason,” Hurts said, “Kind of failing to get to the postseason, all the hard work we put in, it’s going to sit on my chest. It’s going to sit on all of our chests, and we’re going to come back on a mission.”
If Wentz does return in 2021, there could be an intense quarterback competition at training camp. Hurts has been given no assurances from the organization that he is the starter moving forward.
“For me, just control what I can,” Hurts said. “Just going out there and being the best quarterback I can be, and it should handle itself.”
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Fletcher Cox Blasts Eli Manning on Twitter
Eli Manning guided the New York Giants to two Super Bowl championships, leaving on his own terms and helping choose his successor. Manning is beloved in the Empire State so it was extra gratifying to see Eagles All-Pro Fletcher Cox throw some vinegar in his eye.
Manning, along with several Giants players, were complaining about the Eagles intentionally losing to the Washington Football Team and trying to make sense of the Eagles’ 20-14 loss which handed the NFC East to Washington. The two-time Super Bowl MVP joked that “this is why we don’t like the Eagles” and Cox threw it back in Manning’s face.
Chase Young Knows Why Eagles Switched QBs
Washington celebrated their first NFC East crown since 2015 on Philly’s home turf. It wasn’t the outcome the Eagles had crowed about all week but it appeared to be the one Pederson had game-planned for when he benched Hurts.
After the game, Chase Young chatted with NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo and laughed when asked what he thought happened. He called Sudfeld “fresh meat” and was initially surprised by the quarterback switch. That is, until Young figured out why. Unfortunately, the stud defensive end was keeping the reason to himself.