Admitting failure is never fun, especially in Philadelphia, where every move any sports team makes is magnified and discussed ad nauseum.
For Eagles head coach Doug Pederson, benching his franchise quarterback would be admitting failure. The stark regression of Wentz’s play, his abysmal decision making, it all goes back to how he’s been coached throughout the years. They simply haven’t coached him out of the bad habits he displays week in and week out.
When Pederson was asked if he was willing to bench No. 11, here’s what he had to say:
“If you get to that spot where you don’t start him or you bench him, I think you’re sending the wrong message to your football team that this season is over, and that’s a bad message,” Pederson said following their latest defeat at the hands of the Cleveland Browns. “We have to work through this. When times get tough, sometimes that might be the easy thing to do.”
I understand not wanting to bench your franchise quarterback. He’s getting paid like a top-10 signal caller, and this is far and away Wentz’s worst season of his career. But as far as ‘sending the wrong message’ goes, I completely disagree.
If Pederson continues to allow this guy to be the starting quarterback, while Wentz continuously does idiotic stuff every Sunday without consequence, doesn’t that send a more bleak message to your team? That getting your quarterback to play up to par is more important than the team’s immediate success?
Wentz isn’t a rookie, he’s in year five now. If he was still under 25 years old and at least showing some potential, then Pederson’s thought process here would make a lot more sense. But when you’re talking about a guy who’s a veteran and who’s never been held accountable by the coaching staff for his poor play, why would the team respond well to keeping him out there?
Because he’s the leader of the team? Maybe. But what leadership qualities has he displayed this season? Wentz starts every post game press conference with something like, “We need to be better, I need to be better, I can’t keep making the same mistakes.” Then he goes out there the following week and — you guessed it — makes the same mistakes. This has been a theme every single week this season.
Even during games, do you ever see Wentz on the sidelines talking to coaches? Trying to get his offense pumped up to bounce back on the next series? I don’t. In fact, I’ve seen Wentz hang his head far too often this season. After almost every bad play it seems.
I don’t want to sit here and question Wentz’s intangibles. I just think he needs a wake up call. He simply can’t keep playing the way he’s playing without facing any consequences.
Allowing players to start just based on past successes or their contract numbers sends a far more frustrating message to your football team. If Pederson shuffled the starting lineup on offense, maybe benched Jason Peters for Jordan Mailata, took Alshon Jeffery off the field, at least it would prove he’s willing to play whoever he needs to to win ball games.
And for the record, I don’t think benching Wentz after a game and turning to Jalen Hurts would be very smart. If he were to get benched, it should be at halftime of a game — if he’s playing poorly. That sends a message to not only Wentz, but the entire team.
Players respond to adversity when their coaches prove they’re willing to do whatever it takes to win games. Keeping the same players in there every week and expecting a different outcome is not doing whatever it takes to win ball games. It’s the definition of insanity, and it’s the type of thing that would send the ‘this season is over’ message.