A little more than three years ago, in February of 2018, the city of Philadelphia celebrated its beloved Eagles’ first ever national championship, thanks to the efforts and talent of quarterback Carson Wentz.
The Eagles gave up a lot of capital in the draft to acquire Wentz, as they thought he would be the franchise quarterback. For the first few seasons of his career, he in fact was the franchise quarterback, leading the Super Bowl-winning team to an 11-2 record. This was all before he got hurt with grade three LCL and ACL injuries, according to sportsinjurypredictor.com.
This was the beginning of the end, as Nick Foles caught lightning in a bottle and led Philadelphia to a title. However, the messy and strange divorce between the wonder boy and management did not have to be this dysfunctional.
The questions all started when Jalen Hurts was drafted in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft. This move was not only puzzling from a quarterback standpoint but also from an organizational standpoint because the Eagles had many other draft needs on defense. Furthermore, the Eagles had just signed Wentz to a four-year extension in 2019 that was worth more than $100 million dollars. The coaches and management justified taking Hurts that early under the cliché that they were evaluating every position.
This is not meant to be demeaning towards Hurts in the slightest. He has definitely earned his stripes, as he started for two of the best programs in college football, Alabama and Oklahoma, and he led these teams to multiple College Football Playoff appearances. However, I don’t agree that he was the wrong guy to pick for the Eagles at that juncture. I remember sitting on my couch and watching the virtual draft in awe and shock seeing that the Eagles would invest so much in a quarterback after all their indications of support for Wentz.
Was this the reason that Wentz played so badly in 2020 and was benched for the last four games? No. The offensive line was battered and marred, so the opposing defensive lines had free reign to tee off on Wentz. Many of the receivers were hurt, so players were brought up from backup or practice squads to start. The coach’s failure to stick with a running game that was fairly successful with Miles Saunders and Boston Scott certainly hurt Wentz’s ability to complete passes consistently.
The fact that Hurts was there surely contributed to Wentz slowly looking over his shoulder, wondering if he would actually be replaced. Once he was, the ship of Wentz had sailed. After a lengthy silence and trade rumors, he went to Indianapolis for a few draft picks.
Now, the Eagles management has created a new problem with reports coming out that they tried to trade up for the third overall pick in an attempt to get the BYU quarterback Zach Wilson. I have no idea why they would want a guy who had one spectacular season against horrible competition, but apparently they do.
Further reports now indicate the organization is “unsure” of Hurts. Again, the organization must be crazy to think this. In his first start against a formidable New Orleans defense, Hurts ran for more than 100 yards and led the Eagles to an improbable win. He did lose his last three games, but he played decently well in these games. The Eagles need to be sure of Hurts, and they need to give this leader and talented quarterback a full season to prove himself as the full-time starter.