Pulling Carson Wentz for Jalen Hurts is understandable. Not every single Eagles fan will agree with the decision, but should at least be able to see why it was made. What happens next is anyone’s guess, but Doug Pederson absolutely needs to help his rookie QB as much as he can. The problem is, this mentality should’ve been present weeks ago.
The New Orleans Saints defense is no joke. They’ve won nine consecutive games, rank second in DVOA, first in yards allowed, fifth in sacks, third in picks, and are allowing an average passer rating of 85.6. It’s hardly an ideal matchup to drop Jalen Hurts into. If anything, it couldn’t possibly get worse.
The offensive line (with the exception of Jordan Mailata and Jason Kelce) has been atrocious, receivers can’t separate, play-calling has been tragic, and running the ball hasn’t even been an option….until Doug Pederson has magically said that it will be.
“Well, I think in order to get him success, you’ve got to attempt and try to establish a little bit of the run game, that helps.” Doug Pederson said of the gameplan this weekend with Hurts in at QB. “Then he can be a part of that, I think and just go out and maybe try to find some easy completions, right? The quick game or a screen here and there, something that can just kind of get him into the flow of the game. This is the number one defense, it’s no easy task. Obviously, he’s facing a really good opponent this week. It’s our job as coaches, it’s my job as a play caller to try to help him that way and get him into the flow of the game and then we’ll see what happens from there.”
It’s almost like that should’ve been the gameplan for the last 12 weeks in which Carson Wentz has been eaten alive, no?
The benching makes sense. After breaking down the Packers film, the mobility and short-accuracy of Jalen Hurts provides the Eagles with a short-term fix to several long-term problems. He can climb the pocket and find nooks and crannies to shoot upfield if all wideouts are covered up or pressure gets home early. These are all thing Wentz used to be able to do, but just isn’t this season. However, magically making all of the adjustments that would’ve given Wentz a much better chance a survival a mere heartbeat after benching him just reeks of all kind of conspiracy smells.
If the Eagles offense suddenly finds a perfect run/pass balance, stops sending vertical routes every play and instead opts to make the most of players in open space underneath, it would be an absolute travesty that it took 12 weeks of Carson Wentz likely begging for those adjustments, only for them to arrive one week after his benching.
Should Hurts ball out against the Saints in a new-look offense, just as Nick Foles once did back in 2017, questions absolutely have to be asked. Why wasn’t the offense changed sooner? Why were these discussions dropped so promptly? Why did it take the benching of Carson Wentz for the penny to drop? The blossoming of Hurts wouldn’t be a result of Doug Pederson’s excellence, but year-long ignorance that is no longer tolerated and may well have set a ball rolling that he cannot stop.
Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire