After benching Carson Wentz for rookie Jalen Hurts in the third quarter of a loss to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said Monday morning he has not yet made a decision on his QB1 for Week 14. So, with Philly still in contention for the NFC East crown and a spot in the playoffs ...
Which quarterback should the Eagles start going forward, Hurts or Wentz?
JUDY BATTISTA: I don't see how the Eagles can do anything but start Jalen Hurts. Carson Wentz appears to be, unfortunately, broken. He ranks first in interceptions (15) and sacks taken (50), 30th in completion percentage (57.4%) and 29th in yards per attempt (6.0) among QBs with at least 200 pass attempts. How he has regressed this dramatically, from the player who would have been the league MVP had he not been injured late in the Eagles' Super Bowl season, and who is to blame is a conversation for the offseason. So is the accounting surrounding Wentz's franchise-quarterback-caliber contract. Right now, the Eagles have to win games, particularly because they play in a division that is still up for grabs. One look at Hurts on Sunday made clear that, right now -- not a few years ago, not after an offseason of work -- RIGHT NOW, Hurts gives the Eagles the best chance to win a game and, as importantly, he gives them a spark of energy. This is understandably agonizing for Doug Pederson and it is painful for Wentz. But forget about what the future implications of this decision are. The priority is to find a way to win and one step in that direction is putting the better quarterback on the field. As far as Wentz has fallen, Hurts is the better quarterback.
GIL BRANDT: I would go to Jalen Hurts, who looks like a more mobile quarterback to me. Through 12 starts, Carson Wentz has already been sacked a career-high 50 times (he was sacked 37 times all of last season) and thrown a career-high 15 picks (he threw seven in 2019). In other words, Wentz is obviously not playing very well. So I think it would make sense to see if Hurts -- who was trained very well by Nick Saban at Alabama and Lincoln Riley at Oklahoma -- can give the Eagles enough of a spark to help them win an NFC East title that still remains very much within reach. You also want to keep the rest of the roster happy, and that can be tough to do if the team continues to sputter behind Wentz while Hurts, who was very successful at the college level, sits on the bench.
NATE BURLESON: After replacing Carson Wentz in the third quarter on Sunday, Jalen Hurts provided a spark that brought the Eagles within one score of Green Bay with 6:30 remaining in the game. Though the Eagles didn't complete the comeback and Hurts' final stat line (5 of 12, 109 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, 3 sacks) wasn't overly impressive, it's worth riding out the energy provided by the rookie until it subsides.
JEFFRI CHADIHA: The Eagles need to stick with Carson Wentz as their quarterback. I realize he's not playing well. I understand rookie Jalen Hurts, a second-round pick, has plenty of upside. I also see a team that is in chaos, which has a lot to do with what's happening under center.
Yet, there's only so much a quarterback can do when receivers can't stay healthy and an offensive line can't provide adequate protection. This is what Wentz has been dealing with this year, and for most of last season as well. As much as we bemoan his skittishness in the pocket and penchant for holding onto the ball too long, he's also saddled with an offense that is nowhere near what he had around him in 2017, when people were talking about him as an MVP before he sustained a season-ending knee injury. There are precious few quarterbacks in the league who could do better under similar circumstances. Their names are Patrick Mahomes and Aaron Rodgers.
The danger in turning to Hurts now is two-fold. First off, he's not likely to have any more success than Wentz with that same supporting cast. Second, it sets up a legitimate quarterback controversy heading into next season. The Eagles gave Wentz a sizable extension in 2019 because they believed he was their franchise quarterback. You don't give up on him after one difficult season that was affected by several factors outside of his control.
People tend to forget that Wentz led this team to a division title last season when he was dealing with similar problems. He never got enough credit for his toughness and leadership in such troubling times. Sure, he has to improve in a number of areas after what we've seen of late. However, he's proven that he can weather adversity before and he certainly can do it again.
DeANGELO HALL: Carson Wentz gives the Eagles the best chance to stay alive in the NFC East race. In fact, I think getting pulled from Sunday's game might end up being a great learning experience for him. Hopefully, the decision to turn to Jalen Hurts in the third quarter against the Packers leads to a more accurate and disciplined Wentz going forward. He's too good a player to be constantly making such poor decisions.
JAMES JONES: It's gotta be Jalen Hurts, right? RIGHT? At this point in the season, the Eagles know what they're getting with Carson Wentz. I don't think there's any question about who should start against the Saints next week. It's Hurts' time to show whether he has what it takes.
MAURICE JONES-DREW: Carson Wentz has regressed in almost every statistical category in 2020. I keep waiting for him to rediscover his 2017 form that set the Eagles on the path to their first Lombardi Trophy, but I'm afraid those days are long, longgg gone. The page has turned. Let's see what the rookie's got.
MARC ROSS: Instead of displaying any signs of improvement, Carson Wentz loses more and more confidence each game and looks unplayable at this point. At least Jalen Hurts provided a spark on Sunday and showed enough flashes to possibly jump-start the offense going forward. Give him a chance to prove that the front office was justified in spending a second-round pick on him this year.