Carson Wentz said he didn’t know the full plan at the time, but in the third quarter of the Eagles’ loss in Green Bay, he was told Jalen Hurts was going to be the quarterback for the next play, the next series.
Wentz didn’t see the field again.
Before his benching in the third quarter, Wentz was having another horrible performance in a season full of them. But he still called getting benched “frustrating” because of his competitive nature.
“I want to be the guy out there,” Wentz said after the 30-16 loss. “But it is what it is. They made the call today.”
When the Eagles made the switch to Hurts for the sixth drive of the game, it clearly provided the spark Doug Pederson wanted to see. With Wentz in the game, the Eagles averaged 3.5 yards per offensive play and with Hurts in there, they averaged 6.3 yards per play.
In the fourth quarter, Hurts threw his first career touchdown pass to cut the lead to 13 and then Jalen Reagor returned a punt to the house to pull the Eagles to within one score. Eventually, the Packers tacked on an insurance touchdown to spoil the Eagles’ comeback attempt. But with Hurts, there was finally some juice on offense.
After the game, head coach Doug Pederson said he wasn’t ready to name a starter for next Sunday’s home game against the Saints.
Does Wentz think he should still be the Eagles’ starter?
“Listen, that’s not for me,” he said. “I know what I’m capable of, I know I can play better. I never have doubted myself or lost my confidence in my abilities. Like I said, a lot of these things are outside of my control.”
It has been a miserable season for Wentz and Sunday against the Packers was not an exception. He completed just 6 of 15 passes for 79 yards and was sacked four more times to get him to 50 on the season. His biggest pass play on the day was a 41-yard toss to Dallas Goedert that was woefully underthrown. A good ball might have been a touchdown.
Wentz’s passer rating of 57.4 is one of his worst in five seasons as the Eagles’ starting quarterback.
The Eagles are now 0-4 since their bye week and this season is spiraling quickly. Wentz hasn’t been the Eagles’ only problem in 2020 but he certainly hasn’t played well. He hasn’t played like the Pro Bowler they need him to be.
In recent weeks, there has been plenty of chatter and plenty of folks wondering when this day was going to come. Wentz had to see it coming, right?
“I never like to think like that,” he said. “Obviously, there’s been chatter, I’ve had to get a lot of questions over the last handful of weeks. But I don’t let my mind go there at the end of the day. I’m a competitor and when I’m out on that field, whether it’s practice or a walkthrough or a game, I’m going to leave it all on the field and do everything I can. And today that’s what I did. I don’t think I played my best but I did everything I could and at the end of the day I came out of the game and that’s not my call.”
In some other situations during his time as head coach, Pederson has spoken about the positive effect a benching can have for a player. The Eagles did it with Nelson Agholor back in 2016 and he had the best season of his career in 2017. And earlier this season, when Jordan Mailata was benched as Jason Peters returned from injury, Pederson said it could be a good thing for Mailata to watch.
So maybe we can transfer that theory to Wentz. Perhaps sitting him for a game might have a positive effect.
Maybe the organization will see it that way, but Wentz certainly doesn’t.
“I don’t. I don’t personally,” he said. “That’s not in my DNA, that’s not in my competitive nature. I feel we can all play better. I can play better. We gotta turn it around here real quick.”
We’ll find out soon enough if he’ll be the guy out there to try.
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