The quarterback controversy that the Philadelphia Eagles created all on their own has officially come to fruition.
Carson Wentz was benched during the third quarter of Sunday’s 30-16 loss to the Green Bay Packers for rookie second-round pick, Jalen Hurts; a move that had been a long time coming.
Wentz is mired in the worst season of his professional career, completing just 57.4% of his passes for 2,620 yards, 16 touchdowns, and 15 interceptions.
The final straw for head coach Doug Pederson came in Green Bay with the Eagles down 20-3. Wentz had completed just 6-of-15 passes for 79 yards and was sacked four times, leaving Philadelphia stuck in the neutral gear it had constantly been spinning the tires within all season.
In stepped Hurts for his first good look as the No. 1 man under center where he completed 5-of-12 passes for 109 yards and a touchdown along with an interception. Not the most impressive statline, but an immediate spark was provided upon his introduction.
He hit fellow rookie Jalen Reagor for a 34-yard completion on his first series before an impressive touchdown pass to Greg Ward the following drive, placing a pin-point pass on the run right to the receiver in the corner of the end zone.
With the spark he provided, the Eagles cut their deficit to 23-16 following a Reagor punt return for a touchdown, which will only fire up the speculation mill about the future of the quarterback position in Philadelphia.
Pederson certainly didn’t help when he opted not to commit to a starter for the Eagles’ Week 14 matchup against the New Orleans Saints.
“We needed a spark in this game to try to get some things going,” Pederson said. “I’ve got to get through injuries. There’s a lot of things I’m going to consider and evaluate before anything is decided.”
The fact of the matter is that Hurts did considerably better under similar circumstances compared to Wentz on Sunday against the Packers.
As 94WIP Elliot Shoor-Parks pointed out, Hurts had one fewer dropback than Wentz (20 to 21) in the loss. Both passers had 11 clean pockets, Wentz was blitzed five times compared to Hurts’ four and was pressured 10 times compared to the rookie’s nine. Yet Hurts’ passing grade was 22.9 points higher than Wentz’s, according to Pro Football Focus.
The Eagles are running out of time to save their season, though a 3-8-1 record should never provide the promise of postseason contention. That’s just an incitement of how bad the NFC East is.
However, if Pederson believes the spark throughout about by Hurts can be sustained through the end of the season, then it’s a no-brainer who the Eagles’ starting quarterback should be.
As for Wentz, this is his worst nightmare realized.
He had to beat out Nick Foles for the No. 1 job in Philadelphia — though he didn’t do much on the field to earn it considering his injury history — and then was upset that the team took Hurts in the second round of the draft just a few months ago.
Wentz has done nothing to solidify his spot as the top man for the job even if the offensive line in front of him has been a disaster. Now he’ll have to deal with the consequences that could include him holding the clipboard for Hurts for the remainder of the season.