Jalen Hurts did a “really nice job,” according to his head coach. The Philadelphia Eagles quarterback threw for 167 yards and a touchdown while running it 18 times for 106 yards against the NFL’s top-ranked defense. Hurts was the “spark” the team thought he would be.
But Doug Pederson was far from effusive in his praise of Hurts’ performance after the team’s 24-21 win over the New Orleans Saints. In fact, Pederson wouldn’t even commit to naming the dual-threat rookie the starter for next week. He wanted to enjoy Sunday’s shocking win by the eight-point home underdog Eagles.
“I’m going to enjoy this one,” Pederson told reporters on Sunday. “I’m going to go home and relax and be with my family tonight and enjoy this win and get ready for the week.”
Jalen Hurts says Carson Wentz gave him some good tips, was helpful this week. #Eagles
— Brandon Lee Gowton (@BrandonGowton) December 14, 2020
One day later, after hearing the whole world howl, Pederson was a bit more willing to throw glory on Hurts during his weekly call-in to SportsRadio 94WIP. He admitted to being a “little more tempered” on Sunday.
“There were some really, really good plays,” Pederson told Angelo Cataldi. “He played well. He managed the team, he did everything we asked him to do. He played smart, he played physical, with the run.”
🦅 @JalenHurts' first half as a starter:
– 129 Pass Yds
– Pass TD
– 75 Rush Yds
– 17-0 halftime lead vs Saints pic.twitter.com/OTCwEeLAIn
— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) December 13, 2020
He still wouldn’t reveal if the kid from Houston would be under center in Week 15 versus the Arizona Cardinals. There is a report out there saying Carson Wentz has been benched for the rest of 2020.
“I’m going to take a look at [the Saints film],” Pederson said. “I’m going to look at a lot of different things before I make that determination this week.”
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Eagles Downplaying ‘Great Team Win’
The spark was evident, not to mention the swagger. Hurts accounted for 273 yards of total offense, including not taking any sacks in Week 14. The Eagles have now averaged 6.3 yards per play since the rookie took over at quarterback. Hurts, like his head coach, was tempered in his assessment after the win.
“I think, first and foremost, it’s a great team win,” Hurts told reporters on Sunday. “Everybody played together, believed in one another and we put an emphasis on that this week — playing together, playing as one, bringing the energy and creating our own energy. Moving with urgency and scoring out there and believing in one another.”
Starts with 0 interceptions & 0 sacks taken this season:
Jalen Hurts (1)
Carson Wentz (0)
— Paul Hembekides (@PaulHembo) December 14, 2020
Hurts was pressured 14 times against New Orleans and turned those hurried snaps into 82 yards, per ESPN’s Paul Hembekides. More importantly, the new quarterback didn’t turn the ball over. Not once. And the Eagles went 2-for-4 on fourth-down conversions with one of those resulting in a touchdown.
“Every time we touch the field, at least my mindset is, to execute,” Hurts said. “Execute what’s called and, I’ll say it again, [there’s] a lot to learn from and a lot to build on.”
📺: FOX pic.twitter.com/o6GFAFOG14
— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) December 13, 2020
Saints Not Afraid to Praise Rookie QB
Perhaps the main reason for Pederson holding back accolades for Hurts is to protect Carson Wentz. He doesn’t want to further damage his fragile psyche or put any more cracks — physical or mental — in his broken body. But Saints head coach Sean Payton doesn’t have that problem so he poured on the kudos.
“He played exceptionally well. He hurt us,” Payton rold reporters on Sunday. “When a team rushes for 250 yards, not a lot of good can happen. I’ll say this — he was impressive just watching him. I thought he played with poise, made some throws, and was smart.”
"He's a winner, he knows how to play."
Jalen Reagor on Jalen Hurts' performance tonight. #FlyEaglesFly
— Kristen Rodgers (@KristenERodgers) December 14, 2020
Hurts’ teammates in Philly tended to agree with the rival NFC coach when talking about the possible new face of the franchise.
“He played awesome today. The tape shows for itself,” running back Miles Sanders said. “He’s so confident and he’s a natural leader. We just needed that and he gave us that spark to start from last week.”
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