Perhaps Howie Roseman is just a big fan of the film "Network" and he wanted to get every quarantined Eagles fan to run to their window (or Twitter in this case) and yell, “I’m as mad as hell and I’m not gonna take it anymore.”
That explanation makes as much sense as any other possible explanation provided for the decision to select Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts in the 2nd round of the NFL Draft. (Insert caveat that this isn’t about Hurts. He's a perfectly good kid who deserves to celebrate a major life accomplishment without having it diminished. Etc., etc.)
So if it wasn’t an homage to a film from 1976, what was the reason for taking Hurts? Let’s look at some of the proposed rationales and play “Buy It Or Don’t Buy It.”
Quarterback Factory: Don’t buy it
There’s one objective in pro sports, winning the championship. Any ulterior motive or interest is a waste of time and resources. So when Roseman suggests he believes the Eagles have been and desire to be a “quarterback factory,” you have to wonder why the organization cares about that.
It’s perhaps easy and unfair to bring this back to the Patriots. But could you ever imagine Bill Belichick saying that he wants his team to be the best at a certain position? Of course not. In the pros, winning is all that matters.
Taysom Hill 2.0: Don't buy it
Within minutes of the Hurts selection, the buzz began to circulate on social media that Doug Pederson could create a package for Hurts similar to how the Saints use former college quarterback Taysom Hill. Pederson later confirmed that the team envisions being creative to get Hurts on the field in the short term.
Yet, it’s worth noting that Hill was an undrafted free agent that forged an NFL path by playing special teams and has yet to be the primary backup for Drew Brees. Perhaps Hurts will play special teams, but that appears unlikely for a quarterback taken in the 2nd round. Howie Roseman intimated last night that this upcoming season will be Nate Sudfeld’s last in Philadelphia. So how often will the Eagles be willing to run gadget plays with Hurts as a runner/receiver when he’s the primary backup?
Lastly on this front, roster spots are not a luxury in the NFL. Especially not for the Eagles. There always has to be a contingency plan for Brandon Brooks. He had to leave a November game last season due to anxiety-related symptoms. Injuries also can mount in a game. The Eagles are very familiar with that concept. Can this particular team really afford a roster spot for five-to-ten offensive snaps?
Challenging Carson: Don't buy it
The notion that it’s a good thing to challenge Carson Wentz with a potentially dynamic back-up has been making the rounds on social media. Hey, it worked when Nick Foles was brought in.
No, it didn’t. When Foles was signed prior to the 2017 season, he was a guy that knew the system that had failed with the Rams before riding the bench for the Chiefs. No one, NO ONE, saw Foles as a player to push Wentz until after he won the Super Bowl as Wentz’s injury replacement.
Last season, Wentz made the playoffs by winning out with Boston Scott and Greg Ward as key offensive pieces. That’s enough of a challenge.
In fairness, Roseman did not claim the Hurts selection was an effort to push Wentz.
Wentz’s injury history: Buy it
The NFL is not about building the most talented team. It’s about having a deep enough team to function in late January and February as the physical toll accumulates. Even the most ardent Wentz supporter has to acknowledge that he’s been unable to finish the last three seasons.
When it’s not your livelihood, it’s a lot easier to have a macro approach and opine that it isn’t wise to use a 2nd round pick on a luxury item like backup quarterback. But when you live it every day and jobs are on the line, it’s a different story.
The Eagles know from experience that you can win a Super Bowl with the right backup quarterback. Roseman and Pederson also lived through the playoff loss to the Seahawks last season as 40-year old Josh McCown limped through a 17-9 loss following the concussion Wentz suffered in the first quarter.
It’s not difficult to imagine a scenario where the Eagles envision Hurts being able to save the day in that Seahawks game, winning the next week in Green Bay and allowing Wentz a chance to take on the 49ers in the NFC title game.
Decisions are often the product of your experiences and the Eagles’ experience of late has been to expect Wentz to be unavailable when it matters most.
Does that make the decision the right one? Time will tell.
Personally, I subscribe to the Tom Moore school on quarterbacks. When the former Colts offensive assistant was asked why Peyton Manning takes most, if not all, of the team’s practice reps, he said the team is bleeped without Manning. And the team doesn’t practice bleeped.
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