Here’s Doug Pederson after Carson Wentz beat the Browns in his first career start: “For him to have that kind of poise in the pocket for his first start and only having about four series throughout the entire preseason, you just can’t teach that.”
Here’s Doug Pederson after Jalen Hurts beat the Saints in his first career start: “It took everybody in uniform to win this game, not just one guy, and I'm going to repeat myself again that it takes a village to get this stuff done. Jalen was a part of it, yes, but it took a team effort to win, honestly.”
Doug on Wentz after the Browns game in 2016: “The poise was tremendous and that’s just who he is.”
Doug on Hurts Sunday: “He obviously was a part of the win, but my hat’s off to a lot of guys in this football game.”
Doug in 2016: “Those are things you see from more veteran type of quarterbacks.”
Doug Sunday: “I thought overall there were some good things and he kind of gave us the spark as a team that I was looking for and we were looking for as a team, but this win today was not about one guy. This win is about this team and how resilient this team is.”
Time and time again Sunday night, Pederson went out of his way to avoid praising Hurts and it reached the point of absurdity when he declined to even name Hurts as the Eagles’ starter for next Sunday against Arizona.
“You know, I’m going to enjoy this one, I’m going to go home, relax, be with my family tonight and enjoy this win and get ready for the week,” he said.
Hurts completed 17 of 30 passes for 167 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions and ran for 106 yards against the NFL’s top-ranked defense, ending the Saints’ nine-game winning streak, ending the Eagles’ four-game losing streak and becoming the first QB in 45 years to end a team’s nine-game winning streak in his first career start.
But literally every time Pederson was asked about Hurts, he deflected the question and instead spoke about the defense, the offensive line or overcoming injuries.
It got so weird Pederson was even asked why he was so reluctant to say anything nice about Hurts and whether he was because he had to take into consideration Wentz.
“Um, I have to take into consideration the entire football team,” he said. “Jalen played well, obviously we won the game, but you know there’s a lot of good performances out there tonight.”
Hurts' numbers weren't mind-blowing, but his pocket presence, command of the huddle, playmaking and big plays at big moments were a stark contrast to the way Wentz has played lately.
The 24 points are the most the Eagles have scored in their last seven games and the most the Saints have allowed in their last eight games.
Why did Pederson go out of his way to show he wasn’t impressed with Hurts?
Maybe he’s concerned about Wentz’s feelings and doesn’t want to come across as too complimentary about his replacement. Although it’s hard to imagine any NFL quarterback is that sensitive.
Maybe he wants to make sure Hurts doesn’t get too full of himself. Although Hurts hardly seems to be the kind of athlete who would do that.
Maybe it’s just more Doug being contrary just for the sake of being contrary, which he likes to do from time to time to try and keep people guessing what he really thinks.
But when you compare the way he spoke about Wentz four years ago with the way he spoke about Hurts on Sunday, the difference is clear.
Trying to figure out exactly why isn’t clear at all.
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