Eagles HC Praises Carson Wentz for How He Handled Being Benched for Jalen Hurts

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistDecember 24, 2020

Philadelphia Eagles' head coach Doug Pederson talks with Carson Wentz (11) during a timeout against the New York Giants during an NFL football game, Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020, in Philadelphia. The Eagles defeated the Giants 22-21. (AP Photo/Rich Schultz)
Rich Schultz/Associated Press

Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson credited quarterback Carson Wentz for remaining professional after being benched in favor of rookie Jalen Hurts.

"Listen, that's something that I really appreciate about Carson, how he's handled this," Pederson told reporters Wednesday. "He doesn't want to be a distraction to the team. He wants to help the team win. That's the bottom line. We don't let those kinds of things creep into our thinking and try to keep them out of the locker room so it won't divide your team."

The Eagles are 1-1 since handing the offensive reins to Hurts, a second-round pick in the 2020 NFL draft. The 2019 Heisman Trophy finalist has played well, especially throughout his four-touchdown performance in Sunday's 33-26 loss to the Arizona Cardinals.

Pederson explained Wentz hasn't done anything that could be detrimental to the team's chances as it tries to earn a playoff berth by winning the NFC East.

"That's one thing that Carson has not allowed to happen," he said. "And he's not going to let it happen. He's been a pro about it."

Pederson added Wentz has stayed active in meetings and tried to help Hurts in any way possible.

Yet, there are signs the 2017 Pro Bowl selection isn't happy with the arrangement, and the situation could come to a head in the offseason.

ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Sunday that Wentz would "would want to move on" if the Eagles are going to keep Hurts as their starter, and he's "not pleased with the way events have unfolded in the organization."

Wentz, who tallied 81 touchdowns and 21 interceptions in 40 games across the last three seasons, couldn't match that type of efficiency in 2020. He compiled 16 TDs and 15 picks in 12 games before getting benched. He was also sacked a career-high 50 times.

The Eagles sit last in the NFC East with a 4-9-1 record, but victories over the division rival Dallas Cowboys and Washington Football Team to close out the regular season combined with some help elsewhere could still land them in the playoffs despite a 6-9-1 mark.

Barring injury, Hurts will likely get the call to start in both of those key contests.ย  ย ย