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Doug Pederson talks expectations for Jalen Hurts against the Saints

Plus, the head coach talks Carson Wentz’s potential.

Eagles head coach Doug Pederson spoke to reporters on Wednesday about his expectations for rookie QB Jalen Hurts this Sunday against New Orleans, as well as what he thinks about Carson Wentz’s potential.

Pederson admitted that back in April, he never expected to be in a situation where Wentz was benched for Hurts. He wouldn’t get into how things were communicated about Hurts starting this week with the guys, but said that he talked to both QBs on Monday night.

Here’s what the head coach had to say:

On his expectations from Jalen Hurts this week

“Just go out there, obviously, take control of the huddle like quarterbacks do. Just lead — lead the way he knows how. I’m not, nor do I want him to — I could think about when I played, you know, they said, ‘Hey, don’t go be Brett Favre, be Doug Pederson.’ So, that’s my message to him, be Jalen Hurts, right, and do the things that he can do. And, really, from an offensive perspective, just run the show. Just run it the way he sees it, and we’ll coach him up through the week and get him prepared.”

On Hurts’ biggest challenge

Pederson said that being able to establish the run game will be a big help to giving Hurts some early success and confidence, as well as trying to find some early and quick completions to get him into the flow of the game. The head coach pointed out that he’ll be facing the No. 1 defense this week, so it’s not going to be easy.

On Carson Wentz’ potential

“I think Carson Wentz can be an exceptional quarterback in this league, and he’s proven that, back in ‘17, ‘18, last year. And we’ve got to continue to battle and fight and work, and work with him individually, work with him within the confines of the offense, the structure, and just get back to being Carson Wentz and back on track. And so, that’s my focus with him, to just get him back to the level of play that we all know that he has shown us, and that he is capable of doing.”

He didn’t want to get into a lot of specifics about what Wentz needs to improve, but said that they can begin working with him to see things differently this week.

Other notables

  • A few weeks ago, Pederson mentioned that benching Wentz would send the wrong message to the team that the season was over, but the head coach now admits that was a few weeks ago and making the change does not indicate they’re throwing in the towel on this season. He expects the players to work hard and go out there and do everything they can to win.
  • Pederson said he doesn’t have a crystal ball and can’t predict the future, so he’s only willing to say that Jalen Hurts is the starting quarterback this week.
  • The head coach said that he expects Wentz to support Hurts and support the team and continue to work on his craft.

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