The mystery surrounding the Eagles’ perception of head coach Doug Pederson’s mystifying Sunday-night decision to pull rookie quarterback Jalen Hurts for Nate Sudfeld is only growing.
On Wednesday afternoon, veteran offensive lineman Jason Kelce took to social media to try and set the record straight, dispelling a report from the Philadelphia Inquirer that players were “shocked” and “confrontational” on the sideline during the fourth quarter of the Eagles’ 20-14 loss that handed the NFC East title to the Washington Football Team.
“I went up to Doug and asked him if he was taking Hurts out, he said, ‘Yes, I think Nate’s earned the right to play,'” Kelce wrote on Instagram. “I said, ‘Everyone else is staying in?’ He said, ‘Absolutely.'”
“At no point was anything from me or anyone else confrontational,” he continued. “We all knew leading into the game that Sudfeld was told to be ready to play and that Doug wanted to see what he could do in a game situation. All of us during the week leading up were excited for Nate, a guy that has been with us for 4 years, to get an opportunity in a real game to show the world what he can do. We all have complete confidence in Nate as a player, there’s a reason he’s been here this long, and a reason the team brought him back. And that’s because we feel like Nate is a guy we can win with.”
The timing, of course, was suspect. The Eagles were down just one possession in a winnable game despite Hurts — who struggled mightily — wasn’t given the chance to salvage his efforts and lead his team to victory. If he is looked upon to be the quarterback of the future, which means moving on from Carson Wentz, that would have been a prime situation to see if he could overcome a cold start and come up with one good drive to get his team back in it.
While Kelce attempted to diffuse the situation, Eagles running back Miles Sanders voiced his displeasure about the entire situation.
“If I’m being honest, nobody liked the decision. Nobody. That’s all I can say,” Sanders, who was out injured, told 94.1 WIP on Tuesday. “I don’t know who was the main person behind that decision, but all I know is a lot of people on the team were confused.”
Brandon Graham, on the other hand, is over it all.
“Some people just didn’t like the decision because they want to see Hurts in there, but at the end of the day, this game didn’t mean anything for us. We were still going home, so why not see who else you got out there?” he told WIP. “And if people have a problem with it, don’t put yourself in that position, the Giants. Don’t put yourself in that position, win your game.”