Philadelphia Eagles bench Wentz in favor of rookie Jalen Hurts
An NFC East rival of the Dallas Cowboys made a big change at quarterback. Following the Philadelphia Eagles’ 30-16 road loss to the Green Bay Packers, Eagles head coach Doug Pederson named rookie quarterback Jalen Hurts as the team’s starter heading into a Sunday afternoon matchup against the New Orleans Saints.
“We’re not where we want to be as an offense,” Pederson said, according to the team’s website. “I looked at the whole thing and decided that for this week to look for that spark again to try to get the team over the hump, to try to get everybody playing better.”
A first-year pro drafted in the second round (53rd overall) in the 2020 NFL Draft from the University of Oklahoma, Hurts will now command Philadelphia’s offense. Meanwhile, the team’s franchise quarterback Carson Wentz, who signed a four-year, $128 million extension during the summer of 2019, will serve as Hurts’ backup.
Wentz was pulled in the midst of his worst year as a pro. The 27-year-old sign-caller from North Dakota State University entered Sunday’s contest against the Packers ranking first in the league in interceptions thrown (15) and sacks taken (46). In addition to these statistics, Wentz’s 58.1 completion percentage ranked 31st in the league, while his 6.02 yards per attempt was ranked 30th out of all qualifying quarterbacks in the NFL.
On Sunday, Hurts came in relief of a reeling Wentz and outperformed the starting quarterback in about a third of the time Wentz had on the field. Wentz finished with a stat line of 6-of-15 for 79 yards and he was sacked four times by the Green Bay defense. Meanwhile, Hurts completed 5-of-12 passes for 109 yards to go with 1 touchdown pass against 1 interception. Hurts also carried the ball 5 times for 29 yards.
Leading up to this decision, Hurts was a multi-use weapon for the Eagles offense, but was only on the field for 33 total snaps from Weeks 1-11. However, the former Sooners quarterback saw his first-team repetitions increase before a Week 12 game against the Seattle Seahawks.
During his time as a Sooner, Hurts racked up 52 total touchdowns (32 passing, 20 rushing), finished second place in the 2020 Heisman Trophy voting behind ex-LSU signal-caller Joe Burrow, who was selected with this year’s top pick in the 2020 NFL Draft by the Cincinnati Bengals.
The new-look Eagles will host the Saints at 3:25 p.m. on Fox. For more sports coverage, click here.