The Eagles have a slight quarterback problem. Carson Wentz leads the league in interceptions and has struggled massively this season, unaided by a myriad of issues around him. Questions surrounding his starting status are creeping out of the floorboards, but would benching the NDSU product really accomplish anything?
Pros of benching Carson Wentz
A time to reset
Even if just for one game, it would probably do Carson Wentz the world of good to not be blindsided and hit another 12 times this Sunday. We’ve all heard about the ‘practice habits’ and can assume that he simply isn’t being coached hard enough for these issues to persist. If they’re not going to coach him, then maybe letting him sit on the naughty step to think about what he’s done would ignite a fire?
We don’t see coaches with tablets on the sidelines with Wentz. Instead, it’s Nate Sudfeld. Maybe playing that role to a potential replacement would bring that beast out of Wentz and let him attack the rest of the season.
Sending the right message
Doug Pederson spoke to reporters on Monday, citing that benching Carson Wentz would send the wrong message to the team and that it would be one associated with waving the white flag. The funny thing is, it would probably have the opposite effect.
Whether the players agree with the decision or not is a different problem. But the fact is, as a Coach, you’re supposed to put your team in the best position to win. If you’re actively not doing that because of a concern of how the move will be perceived, it’s going to hurt them just as much.
It’s why the stories of Jason Peters and Alshon Jeffery are so infuriating for fans to read. If Pederson rode Mailata and Hurts, even for one game, it shows a desire to correct an issue. If that’s incorrect, at least an attempt was made as opposed to just sitting on a decline and hoping something magically changes.
It forces change
There’s a natural butterfly effect involved when changing a quarterback. Just look at how Pederson ‘simplified’ the offense for Nick Foles after Wentz suffered a heartbreaking torn ACL in 2017.
The scheme would clearly be different for Hurts – all it takes is one look at how they use him sporadically in games to see that. Maybe a different approach would spark some new ideas and get different players involved. Perhaps having Jalen Hurts, who had 1,298 rushing yards for Oklahoma last year, as your starting QB, would prompt a desire to run the ball and stick to it as opposed to deviating away at the first minor hiccup.
Maybe teammates in support of Wentz would take ownership of their own poor play and practice with more urgency, play harder, and study longer, in an attempt to make up for this.
Taking Wentz out of the equation could also act as a warning sign to the rest of the team that nobody is invincible anymore and no job is safe, again prompting the team to pull their socks up and play to the level we all know they’re capable of.
Locker room fractures
If there’s one silver-lining to take away from this season, it’s that despite Carson Wentz has endured his worst season yet, there have been zero rumors or reports taking shots at his character. Outside of one dispelled practice report, nothing. No ‘he needs to throw it downfield more’, no digs at his leadership, nothing. The locker room, at least from that perspective, seems to still be fully bought-in on their franchise QB, who stepped up and put the team on his back this time one year ago.
If that’s the case, then taking out the glue keeping that offense together (metaphorically) could spell the beginning of the end of Pederson’s tenure.
Does it hurt Jalen Hurts?
If the offense is as bad as it looks (it is), then taking Carson Wentz out of the equation isn’t magically going to fix anything. Are the Eagles using Jalen Hurts so poorly because of inexcusable coaching reasons, or is there a possibility he doesn’t have the playbook down in a rookie year where there was no preseason and offseason activities were limited? Even worse, there’s a possibility that he isn’t at a stage ready to play a full game at the NFL level just yet. If any of those are true, it’s going to do more harm than good, regardless of how beneficial that experience appears to be on the surface.
What if Hurts plays well?
On the inverse of that, if Jalen Hurts were to start against Seattle (or whoever) and guide the team to a win, could you imagine the chaos that would ensue? If Hurts inspires a surge of life in this Eagles offense, the byproduct could be a QB controversy that nobody was prepared for. Does Hurts make a case to become a starter? Is he flipped in the offseason? Is going back to Carson Wentz then seen as a similarly controversial move?
If Jalen Hurts is dropped into a game and outperforms Wentz, which isn’t exactly difficult, the Eagles could be jumping out of the pan and into the fire. Is that a leap worth taking?
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