In what may be the biggest no-brainer of the Philadelphia Eagles’ troubled season, head coach Doug Pederson said on Monday that rookie Jalen Hurts will get his third straight start in Week 16 when the Eagles take on the Dallas Cowboys.
After Hurts’ performance against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, there was really no other choice Pederson could have made. The Eagles lost 33-26, but Hurts shone brightly and held his own against Kyler Murray. He threw for 338 yards with three touchdowns, plus 11 rushes for 63 yards and one touchdown. Hurts gave the Eagles’ offense, which had been listless under now-benched QB Carson Wentz, a spark of life for the second straight week.
Pederson wouldn’t name Hurts as starter during the media conference following the game, and on Monday he declined to name a starter for the Eagles’ final regular season game in Week 17. Despite that, he did say that the decision to keep rolling with Hurts was an easy one.
“Well, obviously, I’m going to have Jalen continue to start this week,” Pederson said via the Philadelphia Inquirer. “I’m focused on this week, and this week [only] right now. I want to see how he and the team respond to a tough loss yesterday, so Jalen will be the starter this week.”
Despite the improvement in play across the entire team since Hurts began starting, Pederson wouldn’t specifically credit that to his rookie QB.
Pederson said the rest of the team has raised their play, but he didn't attribute that specifically to Hurts. Asked if this would have happened without the QB change, he said he can't answer that question.
— Zach Berman (@ZBerm) December 21, 2020
Hurts has obviously been the difference maker for the Eagles, but it looks like Pederson is still tiptoeing around that to avoid stomping on Wentz’s feelings. Hurts doesn’t seem affected by it, but it’s worth wondering when the Eagles are going to stop making the feelings of a 27-year-old man one of their top priorities.
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