It was inevitable. Carson Wentz was finally benched in the third quarter of Sunday’s game against Green Bay in favor of rookie quarterback Jalen Hurts.
By most accounts, Wentz has been the worst starting QB in football this season. This move wasn’t about what Hurts can potentially become, it was always about what Wentz has become this year. His ineptitude in nearly every facet of playing quarterback is just inexcusable. Wentz needed to be held accountable for his poor play this season, and he finally was on Sunday.
Here are four takeaways from the Eagles‘ fourth straight loss.
Don’t forget to check out the latest episode of “The Pulse of the City Pod”
Hurts provides a spark for the offense after replacing Wentz
After a solid opening drive from the Eagles offense, which got them their first lead in any game in a month, Wentz predictably fell flat on his face.
It’s important to note that all of the offense’s struggles still aren’t entirely on Wentz. But when you’re getting paid $30 million per season, you’re expected to overcome some of the team’s shortcomings. Wentz doesn’t do that in the slightest — he compounds issues and makes the offense worse.
Hurts didn’t light the world on fire when he stepped in, but he looked better than Wentz has essentially all season. We’re talking about a rookie second round pick outplaying a five-year veteran here. There will be some who try to compare the two as if they’re on equal playing fields, but they’re not. The fact that Hurts came in and looked half decent, 109 yards through the air, a beautiful touchdown on 4th and 18, along with a handful of effective scrambles, is a huge indictment on Wentz and where his game is at right now.
At this point, with the Giants defeating Seattle and pulling away in the division race, the Eagles need to get a good look at what they have in Hurts. It’s about the long-term outlook now, and continuing to play Wentz won’t give this organization any valuable knowledge to carry into the offseason.
That goes for all the young players. They all need to see the field now. There’s just no point in playing some of these old guys any longer. At the very least, it’ll give fans a reason to tune in for the remaining four games. I think I speak for every Eagles fan when I say I’m tired of seeing the same underperforming vets trot out onto the field every game.
Howie said this team was in the middle of a youth movement, right? So let’s stick by it and see what these young guys can do.
What’s wrong with Miles Sanders?
For as much as the fans harp on Doug Pederson to run the ball more and use Miles Sanders in anyway possible, Sanders really hasn’t earned extended usage over the past few weeks.
He hasn’t had a 100 yard game since Week 6, and in the past two games he’s averaged 2.5 and 3.1 YPC respectively. He’s also had three fumbles this season.
I’m all for giving Sanders as many touches as possible, but can we really blame Doug for being hesitant with him? Sanders has certainly shown flashes of greatness this year, which is more than almost every offensive player on this team can say, but he hasn’t been consistent at all.
Some of the issues lie with the offensive line and the play calling, but Sanders hasn’t truly solidified himself as a workhorse back this season, which is something a lot of fans expected out of him heading into the year. Hopefully we see Sanders find some more consistency in these final four games.
Jason Peters and Alshon Jeffery shouldn’t see the field the rest of the season
Like I said earlier, there’s no reason for guys like Alshon Jeffery and Jason Peters should see the field anymore this year. The team is all but out of the playoff race, the franchise needs to see what they have in their younger players.
Travis Fulgham shouldn’t lose any more snaps to Alshon. Since returning, Alshon has recorded a whopping two receptions for 15 yards in four games. Fulgham was the talk of the league at the midway point of the year. Him losing snaps to Alshon never made sense, honestly.
The same goes for Peters. He hasn’t been any better at guard, and the team has Nate Herbig waiting in the wings at that position.
Playing these old heads doesn’t help the team this year and it certainly doesn’t help the team long-term.
If Pederson decides to start Hurts for the final 4 games, will it save his job?
At this juncture, Pederson is coaching for his job. We know what this offense looks like with Wentz as its signal caller, it’s been pathetic. If Hurts plays relatively well down the stretch and the offense looks better, then the season-long question of who’s more to blame, Wentz or Pederson, will finally have some clarity.
If Hurts comes in an plays bad, then the writing may be on the wall for Pederson. It’ll probably be time for a coaching change at that point.
It’s really impossible to know at this point. The team and the fans need to see what Hurts can do. There’s no way Jeffrey Lurie can make an educated decision on what to do this offseason if Hurts stays on the bench.