Before the season started, there’s no way anyone could’ve convinced me I’d have to write something like this. Life comes at you fast in the NFL.
After several weeks of inept play and fans screaming for his rookie backup, Carson Wentz was finally benched during Sunday’s loss to the Green Bay Packers. It’s hard to believe how bad Wentz has been this season — 20 total touchdowns, 15 interceptions, 10 fumbles, a 57.4 completion percentage, and a QB rating of 72.8. He’s simply not playing good enough to start in the NFL in 2020.
So Doug Pederson, potentially coaching for his job, turned to Jalen Hurts halfway through the third quarter. He wasn’t perfect by any means, but Hurts provided a spark for this offense. He went 5-for-12, with 109 yards and led the team on its only touchdown drive, scrambling out of the pocket on 4th and 18 to find Greg Ward in the end zone. He did throw a game clinching interception on his final drive. But overall, he did fine for a rookie quarterback being thrusted into action.
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Of course, now all of the speculation surrounding the team is focused on who will start next week and beyond. In Pederson’s Monday afternoon press conference, he was non-committal on either of the QBs. It’s a very tough decision, not only for Doug but the organization as a whole. He should take his time and weigh all of the positives and negatives before making the call.
For me, this decision really boils down to two factors. One, does Doug Pederson want to keep his job past this year. And two, is he willing to do what’s best for the team despite contract numbers and past success.
The first one should be a no-brainer. Of course Doug wants to keep his job. In Jeffrey Lurie’s eyes, I would imagine he needs to see some signs of life from this offense in order to justify keeping Pederson past this season. Like I said, Hurts wasn’t perfect in his debut, but he doesn’t really have to be during these final four games if he’s given the nod to start.
As long as he’s better than Wentz, which he clearly was when after he subbed in for him, then Lurie will have a better idea of where the blame lies for this offense’s struggles. Hurts made quicker decisions than Wentz, he showcased that he’s more athletic, and he had better pocket awareness. Not to mention, the team just played better when Hurts came in the ball game.
They played better because they felt like they had a chance. It doesn’t seem like this team believes they can win with Wentz anymore — at least not this season.
That leads right into my second factor in this decision, playing the guy who gives you the best chance to win. Right now, it’s Hurts. He looked more poised on the field this past Sunday than Wentz has looked essentially all season, with the exception of a few quarters.
Don’t get me wrong, I still think Hurts will struggle if he starts. The team is bad, they don’t execute anything consistently well offensively, it’s just a mess right now. But maybe Hurts is good enough to overcome some of the offensive shortcomings, it’s impossible to know for sure at this juncture.
But it’s the franchise’s duty to figure out if Hurts is actually good or not, and the only way they’ll find that out is if he starts under center the rest of the season.