For a guy who was a career backup quarterback, and a guy who won a Super Bowl with a backup quarterback, Doug Pederson sure doesn’t seem to think much of his backup quarterback.
Asked after Sunday’s loss if he would consider benching error-prone, ineffective starter Carson Wentz, who leads the league with 14 interceptions and whose pick-six buried the Birds in Cleveland, Pederson replied:
“I think, if you get to that spot, where you don’t start him, or you bench him, you’re sending the wrong message to your football team. That the season’s over. That’s a bad message.”
Pederson sent a lot worse messages when he said that.
Message No. 1 : “We can’t win with Jalen Hurts.”
Message No. 2: “We can’t win if Carson Wentz isn’t the quarterback; so no, Nate Sudfeld can’t win, either.”
Message No. 3: “While Jalen Hurts is a fine gadget-play distraction, I don’t think Jalen Hurts is an NFL-caliber starter right now. Even though he’s my game-day backup.”
And, maybe, “Drafting Jalen Hurts in the second round was not my idea.
Pederson seems to have forgotten that he won Super Bowl LII with a backup quarterback. You might have heard of him: Nicholas Edward Foles. He won the MVP in that game. Beat Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. Got a statue erected of himself and some guy named ... um ... Doug Pederson.
Was the “season over” when Wentz got hurt in 2017?
Will the season be “over” if Wentz gets hurt in 2020?
Maybe these weren’t Pederson’s intended messages.
Maybe his intended message was that Wentz can salvage himself this season.
Maybe his intended message was that, even though he’s the worst quarterback in the NFL, Wentz still possesses enough big-play talent to win more games than he loses — even though, at 3-6-1, he has lost twice as many games as he’s won.
Maybe that’s what Pederson meant to say. But that isn’t what the football world heard.
Pederson said what he said after a 22-17 loss in Cleveland in which Wentz threw that pick-six as well as another red-zone interception. HIs 14 interceptions are as many as he threw in the last two seasons combined. His 18 total turnovers also lead the league. Only three NFL teams had more than his 16 giveaways as he took the field in Cleveland, and he was the lowest-rated passer and least-accurate passer in the league among starters with at least 250 throws.
Pederson might at least want to reevaluate Hurts’ role going forward. Maybe a few more snaps.
Preferably, all of them.
Pederson didn’t even think of turning to Hurts on Sunday. He won’t next Monday night against the Seahawks, either, or on any given Sunday, for that matter.
Asked if he thought about pulling Wentz on Sunday and whether Wentz would remain the starter, Pederson replied:
“I did not consider that ... Yes. No question about it. He’s our starter.”
Get used to this. Pederson and his bosses, general manager Howie Roseman and owner Jeffrey Lurie, have their man.
Wentz could kidnap the Lindbergh baby and sell the colonies’ secrets to the British, but he’d still remain Doug Pederson’s favorite son. A $128 million contract buys lots of excuses.
It will be interesting to see how long it takes before the rest of the team mutinies.
Skittish, gun-shy, inaccurate and bone-headed: That is, at this moment, who Carson Wentz is.
But who is Jalen Hurts?
Jalen Hurts is a raw college star who shined at both Alabama and Oklahoma, with excellent speed and a solid arm.
Jalen Hurts is a luxury item -- clearly drafted by Roseman and Roseman alone, to feed Roseman’s self-styled “quarterback factory” -- acquired with a precious, second-round pick. That pick could have helped Pederson’s receiving corps or bolstered the worst linebacking corps in franchise history.
Jalen Hurts is the Heisman Trophy runner-up that Doug Pederson won’t let on the field.
We won’t know who Jalen Hurts is. Not as long as Carson Wentz can still take a snap.