Leave it to Jason Kelce to not mince words. The All-Pro center has long been known to give fiery speeches but this one might have been his most brutally honest take yet.
Kelce assessed the state of the Philadelphia Eagles offense and tried to explain the decision to switch starting quarterbacks during a 17-minute exchange with reporters on Wednesday. His biggest takeaway was that the 2020 campaign has been an abject failure on all levels, starting with the front office and trickling down to the coaching staff and players.
The offense has been terrible across the board and their inability to score points — 21.1 points per game, seventh-worst in the NFL — has put them in the position they are in. It’s not all on Carson Wentz. It’s everyone.
“You feel bad that he’s the sole one taking the hit right now,” Kelce told reporters. “The whole offense has been terrible — offensive line, running backs, coaches — you aren’t this bad unless everybody shares blame in this thing, and I think everybody here knows that. I know Carson knows that.”
How do they fix it? If anyone knew the answer to that question, the Eagles wouldn’t be sitting at 3-8-1.
“It’s complicated. Whenever you’re this bad, it’s never just one person,” Kelce said. “It’s never just one position group and it’s never just … players, coaches, front office … it’s everybody and that’s the reality. We haven’t been good enough, not just as players, but structurally I think that there’s a lot of different things you can look at.”
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Hurts Giving Eagles Offensive Spark
Kelce seemed on board with the decision to insert Jalen Hurts, echoing Doug Pederson’s need for a “spark” on offense. He didn’t want to get into front-office decisions — “that’s way over my head,” per Kelce — but scoffed at the notion that Wentz was looking over his shoulder after the Eagles used a second-round pick on Hurts.
“I think he’s too smart to do that,” Kelce said. “At the end of the day, this is ultimately a culmination of a lot of failures on offense. I don’t know that the Jalen Hurts pick is a part of that. This more comes down to a failure of pretty much every position including the coaches to facilitate a functioning offense and that’s the biggest story here, not that Jalen Hurts was picked. Or that there was some sort of internal battle or struggle going on with Carson Wentz. I don’t buy that.”
The heart and soul of the Eagles went on to dump effusive praise on Wentz who he admires as both a player and person. He trusts the franchise quarterback will bounce back. Not a doubt in his mind.
“I have no doubt this is not the final to the Carson Wentz story or saga,” Kelce said. “I will always have confidence in him as a person and as a player. The moment he came in his rookie year, I thought he transformed our offense and that’s not just him as a player, that’s him as a person.”
But … something had to change, a switch had to be flipped.
“Sitting here 3-8-1, you got to do something,” Kelce said. “You have to try and make a change or whatever, obviously the offense has been absolutely terrible.”
Don’t Expect Any Drastic Changes
Pederson hinted that the Eagles might “simplify” the offense this week for Hurts, maybe rely more on their rushing attack while designing more quick throws and screens. Ironically, it’s a tweak that probably would have greatly benefited Wentz in recent weeks. Oh well.
Kelce wanted to pump the brakes on seeing drastic changes against the New Orleans Saints and the top-ranked defense in the NFL. It’s a delicate balance of allowing Hurts to “play free” versus not making him “overthink” it, per Kelce. He called Hurts a very confident kid who expects to have success, although he’s more of a quiet leader compared to Wentz.
“He’s got a lot of confidence and I’m excited for Jalen,” Kelce said. “He’s very smart, asks a lot of questions … he’s very curious and wants to figure things out.”
And he expects Wentz to be there every step of the way, in the film room and on the sideline giving support.
“Everybody wants everyone else to do well. We have a great culture here,” Kelce said. “There’s always going to be somebody coming. There’s always going to be somebody behind you. There’s always going to be competition in this business. If you’re not ready to deal with that, you’re not going to last very long.”