Doug Pederson had finally seen enough last night. The Eagles Head Coach pulled Carson Wentz in the third quarter of what was looking like a blowout loss to the Green Bay Packers, only for Jalen Hurts to provide enough of a spark to give them a fighting chance. The question is, who starts against the Saints?
Pros of starting Jalen Hurts
Opens up the offense
It took two impromptu rushing attempts for Jalen Hurts to lead the Eagles in yards on the ground last night. Whether by design or not, and whether it was down to the Packers defense playing so softly or not, there is no denying that the threat of Jalen Hurts running the football changed a lot for the Eagles offense last night.
His ability to make things happen on the ground was a welcoming sight to Eagles fans, who had spent weeks watching Carson Wentz go from statue to desperation rushing on countless occasions. Hurts brought an element of composure and confidence that Wentz simply didn’t in that area and that will undoubtedly open up the offense, force linebackers to stay shallow, and give his tight ends and crossing wideouts more space to work with.
A change needed to be made
Carson Wentz had 92 first-half passing yards. It wasn’t good enough. Regardless of the combination of factors playing into his regression, there had been no positive change in Wentz’s game through 13 weeks. From an individual standpoint, the Eagles had watched utter stagnation. At that point, down 21-3, what was really left to lose?
A failure to make a change and at least see what Hurts has to offer would be the equivalent of watching a stock plummet and refusing to sell, fully convinced that it will rebound. If you need that money, it’s not a good idea.
The Eagles had exhausted every avenue with Wentz and all that really happened was that he got a little angry last night and then woefully under-threw Dallas Goedert. If Pederson didn’t pull the plug, then someone else would’ve ultimately pulled it for him.
Now, at least nobody can doubt Pederson’s desire to improve this football team, even with their 3-8-1 record. Pulling your franchise QB sets a tone that isn’t acceptable.
A sense of urgency
Following on from that last point, it simply sets a precedent. Nobody is unbenchable. Nobody is untouchable. Nobody is exempt from having the rug ripped under them if their play is hurting the team. It might inject a sense of urgency from the players on the offense who have absolutely played a role in the benching of Carson Wentz. The guys who have come to respect him as their QB1 after all he’s gone through. They’ll have to face some accountability now and might see their play improve as a result.
Cons of starting Hurts
After all that Carson Wentz has been through, from watching Nick Foles win a Super Bowl, to the ‘Alshonymous’ sources, this might be the straw that breaks the Camel’s back. Drafting Jalen Hurts was a slap in the face and while it may not be the reason for his regression, it certainly might have been a reason.
If Wentz sits out the rest of the season and Hurts balls out, this offseason is going to be a rollercoaster that the Eagles have brought on themselves. They may have destroyed their own franchise QB through complete incompetence and a history of bad decisions…and cost themselves $128M in the process. Lovely.
He’s not the $128M man
The obvious answer here – Hurts isn’t the man with a contract that the Eagles have pumped a ridiculous sum of money into. If Jalen Hurts can win a few games and look better than Wentz (which isn’t hard) then should the Eagles approach the offseason with a mindset of moving on from Wentz, it’s going to be ridiculous.
The $43M in dead cap would be one problem, the cultural problem is another…
Locker room rumbles
We’ve seen it before, we’ll see it again – teammates ride and die for their QB. Benching Wentz might cause some locker room unrest from those close to him and spark a whole different problem. Some will stand in unison with Wentz over Hurts, and others the opposite…which is the last thing a team on the edge of a total implosion needed. Fireworks SZN? Fireworks SZN.
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