The Eagles announced Jalen Hurts will start at quarterback this Sunday against the New Orleans Saints, benching Carson Wentz.
Wentz, who signed a four-year, $128-million contract extension in 2019, has been one of the worst starting quarterbacks in the league this season and was benched in place of Hurts last Sunday against the Green Bay Packers. The Eagles drafted Hurts in the second round of last April’s NFL draft with the hopes he’d offer them a low-cost backup quarterback in the event Wentz suffered an injury, but will instead turn to him to turn around a stagnant offense.
“I have come to a decision and I am going to go with Jalen Hurts this week against New Orleans,” Eagles coach Doug Pederson said in a release. “We’re not where we want to be as an offense. I looked at the whole thing and decided that for this week to look for that spark again to try to get the team over the hump, to try to get everybody playing better.”
Hurts starred at both Alabama and Oklahoma, winning a national championship with the former, before joining the Eagles. He’s been used sparingly as a change-of-pace quarterback, getting one or two plays behind center each week and but hardly ever for passing plays. Against the Packers, he came in for Wentz in the second half and completed five passes on 12 attempts for 109 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
“I just want to see development. I think it’s a great opportunity for him, a great opportunity for the team,” Pederson said.
Wentz showed sharp and alarming regression all season, throwing a league-leading 15 interceptions and completed just 57.4% of his passes this season. The Eagles offense is ranked 25th in points scored.
“Carson is like all of us right now, he’s disappointed. He’s frustrated,” Pederson said. “He’s been a professional through it all. He supports his teammates and that’s what you want to see from him, the leader of the team. I know sometimes the quarterback gets a lot of the blame like the head coach does. It’s the good with the bad. It’s not about Carson Wentz. It’s not about one person. We know we have issues on offense and it has been a struggle for us all season. That’s where the frustration lies a little bit, but he’s been a pro and would expect nothing less.”