The Jalen Hurts experiment was put on hold Sunday night.
Now, we wait.
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The Eagles pulled Hurts midway through the third quarter of their 20-14 loss to the Washington Football Team, ending his four-game stretch as the team’s starting quarterback and giving way to the murky waters of this looming offseason.
Since the team’s second-round rookie came in for Carson Wentz against the Green Bay Packers in Week 13, the results have been volatile. Some of it was to be expected because of the instability on the offensive line and lack of production from the receiving corps, but a quarterback controversy looms heavy in the coming weeks and months.
Hurts’ role next season remains to be seen. Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie will make official decisions regarding the front office and coaching staff in the coming days and the organization will have to decide how to handle the delicate quarterback situation shortly after. According to an ESPN report confirmed by the Inquirer, Wentz is expected to request a trade in the near future because of a fractured relationship with Eagles coach Doug Pederson, although Pederson reiterated his confidence in Wentz after Sunday’s game.
“You know how I feel about Carson Wentz, I’ve got the utmost respect for him,” Pederson said. “I feel like we can, together, get these things corrected and get back on track and that’s my mindset going into the offseason and that’s where I’m at.”
Hurts finished the season throwing six touchdown passes, three interceptions and completed 52% of his attempts. He had 354 rushing yards and three touchdowns on the ground, two of which came against Washington before he got the hook.
Hurts wouldn’t say whether he felt he did enough to earn the starting job for next season during his postgame news conference, suggesting Pederson would have to be the one to determine that.
“That’s another question you gotta ask [Pederson],” Hurts said. “I’ll tell you where I’m coming from from a mentality standpoint. I want to get better as a quarterback every day. As a competitor, I want to dominate and take advantage of every opportunity that I have. ... I think I take that very personally and learn from it. As I alluded to earlier, I’m going into this offseason on a mission.”
Hurts may have been able to shut the door on a possible Wentz return a bit more with a stronger finish to the season, although it was always unlikely he’d totally claim the starting job. After solid outings in his first two starts, he fizzled a bit in the team’s final two games. He was 7-for-20 Sunday night with a 25.4 passer rating and missed several key throws, including an errant fourth-and-goal pass to an open Quez Watkins that cost the team a touchdown.
The former Oklahoma and Alabama star said he’d be “on a mission” this offseason because of his disappointment in the team’s 1-3 record with him as the starter.
“I think this is a situation where we’re all not satisfied with how this thing ended up, but it’s a ‘so-what, now-what?’ mentality,” Hurts said. “That’s what I have and we’re going to be stronger from it. We’re going to work our tail off, I’m going to work our tail off and the sun will shine real soon.”