The Eagles were an absolute trainwreck in 2020 for a million different reasons. Without sending you all on a trip down memory lane, we all know how it ended. Carson Wentz was pulled from the field during an embarrassing performance against the Packers and Jalen Hurts was dropped into the deep end. After some flashes of strong play in the run towards the end of the season, the front office decided to double down on their QB and exile Carson Wentz and the coaching staff. For better or worse, we’re heading down a similar path in 2021.
The leash on Jalen Hurts has to be tightening. Nick Sirianni has backed his QB since day one, but it’s becoming crystal clear that the flaws in his game are not improving. The current mindset of many is that benching Hurts and affording Minshew an opportunity would move the spotlight onto Nick Sirianni. If the offense looks better, it’s a sign that Hurts has been holding it back. If it looks the same or worse, it’s time to cut ties with the rookie head coach. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple.
No matter how you slice it, it’s looking very unlikely that Nick Sirianni is going to be here long-term and benching Jalen Hurts won’t change that. If Hurts is pulled and the offense magically improves, the real criticism should be directed at Sirianni.
The Eagles invested a second-round pick in a QB who they believed in enough to ship off the $128M man, Carson Wentz. They believed in him enough to fire a coach who won a Lombardi Trophy and bring in someone who vocalized an intent to mold an offense to the strengths of his players, and buy Hurts some time to grow. The latter part has not happened, despite the pairs best efforts to come up with new cliche phrases and talk the talk. If the offense suddenly improved with Hurts out of the picture, it should serve as an indictment on Sirianni’s ability to coach a quarterback and simplify an offense for a struggling one.
Doug Pederson might have gotten a lot wrong during his final year, but you cannot ignore the fact that whenever a backup was needed (and for whatever reason), the offense was simplified to make managing the offense easier and to take the strain off of his shoulders. It’s a simple concept and if it happens again here, the response should be one where fans wonder why this didn’t happen with Hurts at the helm.
If Jalen Hurts avoids being benched, he has the remainder of the season to show significant growth, but time is ticking. The Eagles have three first-round picks and just recouped the pick given up for Gardner Minshew by offloading Joe Flacco to the Jets. All signs are pointing towards a very clear-cut decision. Hurts is either the guy, or he isn’t. Either way, the Eagles have the necessary ammo to remedy the situation.
As far as Nick Sirianni goes, he’s doomed either way. The only way he remains on the team is if Howie Roseman really believes in what comes out of Sirianni’s mouth. If he believes that this Eagles roster is in a transitionary period, then maybe Sirianni gets another year. But benching Jalen Hurts would not impact this at all.
Either Sirianni is at fault for failing to construct something that looks remotely close to an NFL offense, or he’s at fault for failing to develop a young quarterback. Both yield the same result.
hoto by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire