It doesn’t mean Carson Wentz is finished here. It doesn’t mean he’ll never win another game in an Eagles uniform. It doesn’t mean he’s getting traded.
What the news that rookie Jalen Hurts will start at quarterback for the Eagles Sunday against the Saints does mean is that the Eagles understand there’s no reasonable reason to keep sending the 27-year-old Wentz out there game after game, only to have the same thing keep happening.
Doug Pederson gave Wentz plenty of chances to turn his season around. Twelve games is more than enough time for a fifth-year quarterback to get his act together.
And it just didn’t happen.
His pocket presence never got any better. His accuracy remained poor. His touch on his mid-range passes never improved. He continued to lock in on one receiver. He took sacks when he needed to throw the ball away or dump it off.
There’s no doubt Wentz didn’t get a ton of help. There’s no question the organization failed him by not stockpiling the roster with enough talent. There’s no defense of the way the offensive line has played. Play calling has been abysmal.
That said, Wentz is not the first quarterback to play behind a shaky offensive line or with a young struggling group of wide receivers or with a coach who won’t run the ball.
If you’re elite, you overcome it. If you’re decent, you make the best of it. But when you get to the point where you just can’t make plays to help your team win, that’s when you need to sit.
And if Wentz had just dealt with all that adversity a little better he’d still be playing.
But he was truly awful, the kind of awful you just can’t believe from a player who was so good the last few years.
When you look at the NFL quarterback leaders and see that he’s ahead of only Sam Darnold and Drew Lock, you know it’s time for a change.
If you think about it, this really isn’t about Jalen Hurts as much as it’s about Carson Wentz.
Because the Eagles have too much invested in Wentz to just move on from him or trade him or let him ride the bench forever. The big money from his massive contract extension doesn’t even kick in until next year, so to give up on a guy who played the way he did the last few years – he was the 6th-ranked QB in the NFL from 2017 through 2019 – makes no sense. That won’t happen.
No team is going to start a season with a healthy backup quarterback carrying a $35 million cap hit.
Nothing else has worked, so shutting Wentz down, letting him hold the clipboard and catch his breath, and then spending this offseason trying to not only fix him but also fix the rest of the offense has to be this organization’s No. 1 priority.
If Hurts plays lights out these last four games? Then you have a dilemma. But whatever happens, it’s a lock that Wentz will begin next year as the Eagles’ starting quarterback.
Maybe Hurts is special, and he’ll have a chance to show that he is. But the Eagles’ best chance to become an elite team again is for Wentz to become an elite quarterback again.
It’s up to Jeff Lurie to determine the best coach to help him do that and the best GM to bring in players who can help him get there.
Those are stories for another day.
For now, what may seem like the end of the Carson Wentz Era really has to be the start of the Carson Wentz Reclamation.
The Eagles’ future depends on it.
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