The Philadelphia Eagles have a new starting quarterback.
Doug Pederson is naming Jalen Hurts the team’s starter against the New Orleans Saints in Week 14, according to a report from ESPN. Carson Wentz will be the top backup behind the rookie second-round pick. UPDATE: Official confirmation from the team.
Breaking News: QB Jalen Hurts will start this Sunday against the Saints. pic.twitter.com/VgGU54flLf— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) December 8, 2020
“We’re not where we want to be as an offense,” said Doug Pederson via Dave Spadaro. “I looked at the whole thing and decided that for this week to look for that spark again to try to get the team over the hump, to try to get everybody playing better.”
“Carson is like all of us right now, he’s disappointed. He’s frustrated,” Pederson said. “He’s been a professional through it all. He supports his teammates and that’s what you want to see from him, the leader of the team. I know sometimes the quarterback gets a lot of the blame like the head coach does. It’s the good with the bad. It’s not about Carson Wentz. It’s not about one person. We know we have issues on offense and it has been a struggle for us all season. That’s where the frustration lies a little bit, but he’s been a pro and would expect nothing less.”
This news hardly comes as a surprise. Wentz was pulled for Hurts during the Eagles’ loss to the Packers on Sunday and he gave Philly’s offense a much-needed spark. The Eagles ran 24 plays when Hurts was in the game for 131 yards (5.5 average) and six points (would’ve been seven if not for a missed PAT kick). The Eagles ran 36 plays when Wentz was in for 127 yards (3.5 average) and three points.
The Eagles are making the right move here. There wasn’t much to be gained by continuing to play a struggling Wentz. He’s a broken player right now and there’s been no indication that more playing time is the solution to fixing him. Maybe a step back will actually do him good in the long run.
With that said, this benching obviously has massive ramifications beyond the Eagles’ short-term outlook. If Hurts plays well, do the Eagles look to move on from Wentz after this year? Doing so won’t be so simple due to his hefty contract extension that’s about to kick in. Does Hurts playing well help to save Doug Pederson and/or Howie Roseman’s job? Do the Eagles show a short leash and go back to Wentz if Hurts really struggles? Do the Eagles think about selecting a quarterback high in the 2021 NFL Draft if Hurts doesn’t look good?
This much we do know: the Eagles had reached a point where they were a chore to watch. Just no real entertainment value, nothing new or interesting to see. That dynamic has changed now with Hurts starting. It’ll be fascinating to see how he fares this week against the Saints and even further if/when he starts beyond this game.