National Football League

Flip the Switch?

December 7, 2020

For Carson Wentz and the Philadelphia Eagles, it might be time to look in the mirror and realize that the truth Hurts.

During the third quarter of Sunday's 30-16 loss against the Green Bay Packers, Philadelphia benched its franchise quarterback in favor of rookie second-round pick Jalen Hurts.

And while Hurts didn't lead the Eagles to a fairytale comeback victory, he did inject a shot of life into a comatose Eagles offense.

Wentz played 36 snaps before Eagles head coach Doug Pederson made the switch, with Wentz going 6-of-15 passing for 79 yards and a passer rating of 57.4.

In Hurts' 26 snaps of work, the 22-year-old QB went 5-of-12 for 109 yards, one touchdown and a pick, finishing up with a passer rating of 67.7. He also rushed five times for 29 yards.

His first career NFL touchdown ⁠— and the lone TD score by the Philly offense ⁠— came on fourth down:

Hurts provided the proverbial "spark" for Philadelphia's offense and started a firestorm of debate for sports media.

On Monday's Undisputed, Shannon Sharpe acknowledged that he thinks Wentz's confidence is "shaken to the core," but took a measured approach when evaluating Hurts' outing and whether or not he should be the starter going forward:

"It's a lot easier to come off the bench when a team hasn't prepared for you as opposed to being the guy."

But Skip Bayless said it's time for the Eagles to rip off the Band-Aid and ride with Hurts going forward.

"It is time for my guy. It is time for Jalen Hurts ... Jalen Hurts is a winner, that's all I know ... The only thing Carson Wentz, I see, does consistently well, is he consistently is inaccurate. That's what he is."

As Bayless pointed out, Hurts does have a winning pedigree ⁠— at least in college.

In his 56 games played before turning pro, Hurts went 51-5, racking up 80 touchdown passes, 20 interceptions and 43 rushing TDs in his time at Alabama and Oklahoma.

To Wentz's credit, he's shown he can get the job done at the professional level, going a career-best 11-2 in 2017 before suffering a major knee injury.

However, his recent form looks more similar to his rookie season than anything resembling a league MVP.

Luck hasn't favored Philly's franchise quarterback, either.

Injuries have decimated the Eagles at a number of key positions ⁠— primarily the offensive line and wide receiving corps ⁠— but ESPN's Dan Orlovsky claimed Eagles management hasn't done much to help matters, especially with the introduction of Hurts.

"... You've got another seed of doubt. 'Does my general manager believe in me? Not as much as I think. Does my head coach believe in me? Not as much as I think.' And that has broken Carson Wentz."

While Wentz might be broken, he's certainly not broke.

He's still owed over $100 million on an extension he signed during the 2019 offseason, and the $25.4 million he's due next season is second only to Rams QB Jared Goff's $27.8 million.

That big-money contract adds another variable to the Wentz vs. Hurts calculus, as Hurts remains on a team-friendly rookie deal.

The Eagles have clearly invested a lot in Wentz. But even so, Pederson was non-committal when asked who his team's starter is on Monday morning.

Whomever the Eagles elect to start at quarterback in Week 14, he'll have his hands full with the red-hot Saints and New Orleans' No. 4 ranked defense.

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