I think back quite often to the Eagles’ explanation after they used a second-round pick to draft Jalen Hurts in the spring.
Aside from all the silliness about the Eagles’ being a quarterback factory, there was this one quote from GM Howie Roseman that still sticks with me:
“The decision to draft Jalen Hurts is independent of Carson Wentz. This is about who we are, what we believe in and what we think this player is about. Period.”
But that was impossible. The decision to draft another quarterback with the No. 53 pick wasn’t independent of Carson Wentz. It simply couldn’t have been independent of Carson Wentz.
From the moment the Eagles drafted Hurts, they invited all this.
No, they couldn’t have known Wentz would struggle to this degree, but it’s also not clear just how much thought the front office put into the possibility that drafting Hurts could have an adverse effect on their franchise quarterback. You know, the guy they committed to with a four-year, $128 million extension.
In a way, drafting Hurts has become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Some may look at the Eagles’ pick of Hurts as some kind of success because of Wentz’s struggles — maybe they have their next QB. But how much of those struggles are related to the mere presence of a second-round backup quarterback.
We’ll never know for sure just how much the presence of Hurts has affected Wentz mentally — only one guy really knows that answer and he ain’t spilling — but it’s fair to wonder. And it’s fair to think it’s affected him at least a little bit.
Even if Wentz won’t admit it.
“No. I’m not the type to worry about or look over my shoulder or any of those things,” Wentz said after getting benched in the third quarter of Sunday’s 30-16 loss. “I think at the end of the day, I can play better. We can, as a team and an offense, especially, play better.
“There’s always going to be different things going on in the building and different chatter and all of that stuff. It’s part of this business. I think I’ve said it a couple of times. It’s what I signed up for. The scrutiny, the challenges, the adversity, all of it. I gotta handle it all, the good, bad and ugly.”
In fact, a report from FOX’s Jay Glazer surfaced on Sunday afternoon that said there’s a thought inside the building that Wentz’s confidence issues stem from Hurts’ presence.
Maybe you hear all this and think it’s a big problem if the franchise quarterback is insecure to the point that he lets the rookie affect his performance. And, sure, I agree.
It’s almost too perfect that Wentz finally got benched in the Green Bay game. Because the Packers this spring drafted quarterback Jordan Love in the first round and Aaron Rodgers has responded by putting together the best season of his already Canton-bound career.
Maybe the Eagles thought that was the type of response they’d get out of Wentz. Instead, they’ve gotten the complete opposite.
Wentz has played so poorly that when he got benched on Sunday afternoon, it was probably overdue. And now Doug Pederson will have to make a decision about his starter for next week’s game against the Saints.
Does Doug think having Hurts around has affected Carson?
“It’s hard for me to answer that question because I’m not in Carson’s shoes,” Pederson said. “Carson’s been, obviously, a professional about everything this season with Jalen, helping Jalen, so it’s hard for me to answer that.”
When asked how much thought went into the Hurts pick from the standpoint of it possibly having an adverse effect on the franchise quarterback, Pederson struggled to answer, saying it was hard for him in the wake of a loss to remember back to April. He instead just reiterated that he was “on board” with the pick.
You know who probably wasn’t on board with the pick?
And you can argue the merit in that. You can argue — and I won’t disagree — that a franchise quarterback should have the fortitude to not look over his shoulder, to not worry about the backup because you’re the starter and you’ve got to play your game.
But the Eagles’ front office invited all this when they drafted Hurts without ever seeing the potential for the mess they find themselves in now. That’s on them.
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