Lurie on Wentz: ‘Very fixable, and I fully expect him to realize his potential’

The Doug Pederson era in Philadelphia is over. Pederson was fired by the Eagles, the team announced on Monday. Pederson spent five seasons with the Eagles and has been to the postseason three times, including winning a Super Bowl with the team in 2017. 

The 2020 season was a struggle for Pederson and the Eagles. The team finished a disappointing 4-11-1, and reportedly, QB Carson Wentz, who struggled mightily this season, had a bad relationship with Pederson. According to reports, Wentz felt the relationship with Pederson was irreparable. In 12 starts, the 28-year-old Wentz threw 16 touchdowns and 15 interceptions(tied for most in the league), had a 72.8 quarterback rating(second-worst among starting quarterbacks), and was sacked a league-high 50 times. Ultimately, Wentz was benched for the final four games of the season in favor of 2020 second-round pick Jalen Hurts. 

What the Eagles will do at the quarterback position in 2021 should be interesting, and according to Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie, who addressed the media on Monday after the announcement of Pederson’s firing, the decision on the quarterback position in 2021 is up to the new head coach, but Lurie appears to be a fan of Wentz.

“First of all, I don’t think any owner should decide that,” Lurie said. “Carson, to us, to me, and to I think virtually everybody in our organization, is a quarterback that his first four years was in many ways elite and comparable to some of the great quarterbacks’ first four years in the league.

“Fifth year, obviously not satisfactory, for whatever reasons. There are probably multiple reasons for that. The way I look at it is we have an asset, and we have a talent. He’s a great guy, and he wants nothing but to win big and win Lombardi Trophies for Philadelphia. This guy is tireless. He has his heart in the right place, and he’s really dedicated off-season, on-season – he’s just what you want. It behooves us as a team with a new coach, a new coaching staff, to be able to really get him back to that elite progression where he was capable of, and at the same time, understand that there have been many quarterbacks in their fourth and fifth year … if you trace this, you can come up with many, many quarterbacks that have a single year where it’s just, whoa, the touchdown-to-interception ratio is not what you want. And we’re talking some great ones, like Peyton [Manning] and Ben [Roethlisberger] and guys like that.

“So I take sort of a more, probably a longer view of this was not the best season for our offense, it was a poor season, and we also had a poor season from Carson in terms of what he’s been able to show in the past. Very fixable, and I fully expect him to realize his potential.”

Based on Wentz’s performance, it appeared that having Hurts around was a distraction to the fifth-year quarterback, so the new coach and organization has to figure out how to fix that situation.

As for Pederson, he will get another job. He’s had a lot of success in Philadelphia and has proven to be a very good coach in the NFL, but at this point, it was not good enough for the Eagles going forward. 


Giants’ Joe Judge believes the Eagles ‘disrespected the game’ on Sunday night

Many around the NFL are not happy with the way the Philadelphia Eagles handled their season-finale against the Washington Football Team on Sunday night. There was a lot at stake in this game. If Washington wins, they win the NFC East. If they lose, the Giants, who beat Dallas earlier in the day, win the division.

Here is what got a lot of people upset. First, with the Eagles down 17-14 in the third quarter, Philadelphia had an opportunity to tie the game with a short field goal, but Eagles head coach Doug Pederson decided to go for it on fourth down, and ultimately, Washington would stop them.

Finally, Philadelphia decided to remove their starting QB Jalen Hurts, who ran for two touchdowns on Sunday, and replaced him with Nate Sudfeld, who had not thrown a pass since 2018. Well, Sudfeld proceeded to commit two turnovers(fumble, interception) and finished the game 5/12 for 32 yards. Philadelphia would not score again and would fall to Washington 20-14.

With the loss, the Eagles secured the sixth overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, Washington won the NFC East, and the Giants were eliminated.

On Monday, Giants head coach Joe Judge addressed the situation, and he was not very happy.

 “I’ll let Philadelphia speak for themselves on that in terms of how they approached the game,” Judge said. “Really simply, I was in my office last night. I watched our film from the game yesterday, and then I was actually watching our first Tampa game with the Philly-Washington game on in the background. There’s been a lot made of that game internal or from the outside. Let me just be very clear on this; we had sixteen opportunities this year, that’s it. It’s our responsibility to take care of our opportunities and perform better and execute the situations when they’re on our plate. We don’t ever want to leave our fate in the hands of anybody else. We’re not going to make excuses as an organization. Not now, not ever. We had our opportunities. We need to learn from the lessons we have from this year and carry them forward. That’s the experience you truly gain. That’s really the most important thing right there, our opportunities.

“That being said, obviously, players have asked me throughout the day. The one thing to keep in mind with this season is we had a lot of people opt into this season. We had a lot of people opt-in. Coaches, players, that includes family members as well. To look at a group of grown men who I ask to give me effort on a day in day out basis and to empty the tank. I can look them in the eye and assure them that I’m always going to do everything I can to put them in a competitive advantage and play them in a position of strength. To me, you don’t ever want to disrespect those players and their effort and disrespect the game. The sacrifices that they made to come in to work every and test before coming in. To sit in meetings spaced out, to wear masks, to have shields over those masks, to go through extensive protocols, to travel in unconventional ways, and to get text messages at 6:30 in the morning telling them practice was going to be canceled we have to do a virtual day. To tell them to please don’t have your family over for Thanksgiving, please avoid Christmas gatherings, we know it’s your wife’s birthday; let’s make sure we put that one off to the offseason. There’s a number of sacrifices that have been made by all the players and coaches in this league. There’s a number of sacrifices that come along as well for the family members of the people connected to them. To disrespect the effort that everyone put forward to make this season a success for the National Football League, to disrespect the game by going out there and not competing for 60 minutes and doing everything you can to help those players win. We will never do that as long as I am the head coach of the New York Giants.”

In life and in football, you never let anyone control your destiny, and in the end, New York did not do enough to control their destiny, and because of that, the Washington Football Team are NFC East champions. It’s that simple. 

However, one thing for sure, when the Giants and Eagles play next season, it should be a lot of fun!

Watch Judge below:

Eagles’ Roseman: ‘I certainly regret that comment about quarterback factory’

The Philadelphia Eagles ended a disappointing 2020 season by losing to the Washington Football Team 20-14 on Sunday night. With the loss, the Eagles finished the season at 4-11-1. 

You could argue the season went bad back in April when the team drafted QB Jalen Hurts in the second round. After the selection, Eagles Executive Vice President/General Manager Howie Roseman said the following:

“For better or worse, we are quarterback developers. We want to be a quarterback factory. We have the right people in place to do that. No team in the National Football League has benefitted more from developing quarterbacks than the Philadelphia Eagles.”

On Monday, Roseman talked about those comments. According to Roseman, he now has regrets.

“Of some of the things that I’ve done this season, I certainly regret that comment about quarterback factory,” Roseman said. “Really it was just in terms of how — the importance of the position around the league, the importance of the position to this organization, and really a reflection of our experiences with backup quarterbacks when we did that.”

In 2019, the Eagles signed Carson Wentz to a four-year, $128 million contract extension, so it seemed odd that Philadelphia would draft a quarterback the following season. You could argue that Wentz was bothered by the selection of Hurts, and it showed on the field this season. The fifth-year quarterback had his worst year as a pro. In 12 starts, the 28-year-old Wentz threw 16 touchdowns and 15 interceptions(tied for most in the league), 72.8 quarterback rating(second-worst among starting quarterbacks), and sacked a league-high 50 times. All is not on Wentz, but he was not very good in 2020.

When asked if he regrets drafting Hurts, Roseman said the following:

“I think certainly when you talk about Jalen and his talent and his work ethic; it’s all the things that we saw in college in terms of the big picture and how we are building this team, you even see it last night,” he said. “Two teams are playing for a playoff berth with their backup quarterbacks. As we go towards 17 games, depth is important in this league, and I think that’s an important position that you’re trying to find depth and certainly a guy that we liked as a player.”

According to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, Wentz has a poor relationship with Eagles head coach Doug Pederson and wants out of Philadelphia. However, according to Pederson, his relationship with Wentz is solid.

“Listen, I’m not going to speak for Carson, obviously, but I can speak for myself and say that, yeah, the relationship is good. It’s fine,” Pederson said. “It’s something that we’re going to continue to build upon, and listen; I know Carson’s disappointed. It’s not the season that he had anticipated. It’s not the season I had anticipated as the head coach. There were a lot of moving parts. It’s not about one guy here. It takes all of us, and that’s something that we’ve stressed a lot here.”

Hurts showed flashes during his four starts, but he did not blow anybody away. If I’m the Eagles, I try to work things out with Wentz. Outside of 2020, he has played at a high level. Other than this season and his rookie year, Wentz has not thrown more than seven interceptions in a season, so you could argue what happened in 2020 was an aberration. Based on how his contract is structured and barring a trade, Philadelphia could be stuck with Wentz until after the 2021 season, when they will be able to get out of the deal without a significant cap hit. 

However, you don’t draft a quarterback in the second round for no reason, so what happens next should be interesting.

Eagles’ Pederson on Alex Smith: ‘He’s a proven winner in this league’

When The Washington Football Team QB Alex Smith severely injured his right leg in 2018 and then had a life-threatening infection after surgery to repair the leg, many thought his career was over. However, Smith defied all the odds. After almost two seasons rehabbing the injury, he made his return in Week 5 when Washington’s Kyle Allen injured his arm. Ultimately, Smith took over the job on a full-time basis when Allen dislocated his ankle a few weeks later.

Before injuring his right calf against the 49ers in Week 9, the 36-year-old Smith was 4-1 as a starter and had Washington on top of the NFC East. Now, Smith is looking to work his way back from that calf injury to start on Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field against the Eagles. It’s simple, if Washington(6-9) wins, they are NFC East champions. At this point, Smith is listed as questionable for Sunday’s game. If Smith can’t go, Taylor Heinicke will start for Washington. Heinicke replaced the recently waived Dwayne Haskins last week in the team’s 20-13 loss to Carolina.

Eagles head coach Doug Pederson, who spent three seasons as an offensive coordinator in Kansas City with Smith, has a lot of respect for the 16-year veteran.

“I’ll tell you something, I really have a lot of respect for Alex Smith, for him and his family,” Pederson said. “Again, the way he has come back from this adversity in his career with the injury and putting him in a position to play this season and potentially start this game Sunday night. My hat goes off to him.

“It doesn’t surprise me that he’s been in this position because our time in Kansas City for three years, just watching him work, the work ethic that he has for himself, number one, to be the best player that he can be, but also within the team, how he can elevate and make things run smoothly with his offenses.

“But he’s a guy that really knows how to run the system. He’s not going to put the ball in harm’s way. He takes care of the football. He utilizes everybody on offense, quite frankly. That’s been one of his strengths. That’s why his win percentage is so good.

“But I think the key is just that he takes care of the football, number one. He’s done that his whole career. I would say there’s probably been a lot of things said and piled up upon him over his career that he can’t do this, he can’t do that. But bottom line, he’s a proven winner in this league at quarterback, and that is what you are measured by, and I have a lot of respect for him.”

Smith is a winner in the NFL. He’s led a team to the playoffs five times. He knows what it takes to get his teams to the postseason, so if he can play, we’ll see if Smith can work his magic on Sunday against the Eagles.

Eagles’ Pederson on winning a Super Bowl: ‘I know what it takes’

The Philadelphia Eagles did not have much success in 2020, but because they are in the NFC East, Philadelphia had a legitimate chance to win the division. However, that all ended when the Eagles lost to the Cowboys 37-17 on Sunday. With the loss, Philadelphia(4-10-1) is officially eliminated from the playoffs. 

Philadelphia, who will miss the playoffs for the first time since 2016, has dealt with many injuries in 2020. The offensive line and secondary were hard hit by injuries. Those injuries, along with poor quarterback play from Carson Wentz, hurt this team tremendously.  

Although Philadelphia struggled in 2020, Eagles head coach Doug Pederson, who some believe could lose his job at season’s end, believes he can turn things around.

“This season has been tough for myself personally as the head coach here,” Pederson said. “Obviously, as the team and dealing with the pandemic and just everything that’s really hit us through injury and not playing well, it’s very disheartening.

“I just sit here today and just have to apologize to the fans. Really just this is not what we expected. It’s not what I expected back in training camp and the early part of the season.

“But I know in my heart that this is a great place to play, a great place to coach. We do have the best fans. When we win, it’s unbelievable. It’s exciting. I know we can get back to that level.”

Pederson was the first and only coach to lead the Eagles to a Super Bowl victory back in the 2017 season, and according to him, he knows what it takes to get his team back to that point.

“Like I said earlier, I know what that looks like. I know what it takes,” he said about winning a Super Bowl. “Me personally, I’ve been in three Super Bowls, been on three Super Bowl teams, and I’ve seen exactly how it can be done. We’ve got to get that back. We’ve got some great players, some great young players, and they’re getting valuable experience right now playing.

“It’s just unfortunate that we’re not winning these games. I think of yesterday’s game. It’s kind of like how our season has gone. We’ve had opportunities, right? We’re in the red zone, in the scoring zone, and we just come up short. That’s kind of been the way our season has gone. It is unfortunate, but I know we can get it turned around and get it fixed.”

This is Pederson’s first lousy season with the Eagles. He’s been in the playoffs for three straight seasons, including a Super Bowl victory. So, what that being said, he deserves a chance to fix what’s wrong. Obviously, they have a decision to make at the quarterback position, which should be interesting. But, in the end, Pederson should be the guy to fix everything that went wrong with Philadelphia in 2020.

Reagor on Jalen Hurts: ‘He is a winner’

Eagles rookie QB Jalen Hurts, in his first career start, made a few plays, and with the help of Miles Sanders(115 yards rushing, one touchdown), who had an 82-yard touchdown run and an opportunistic defense that sacked Saints QB Taysom Hill five times and forced two turnovers, Philadelphia(4-8-1) was able to defeat New Orleans(10-3) 24-21 at Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday.

Hurts, who replaced an ineffective Wentz, was 17-30 for 167 yards with a touchdown and 106 yards rushing, played a solid game on Sunday against the Saints number one ranked defense, and was excited to get a win in his first career start.

“It felt good, it felt good. [It’s] always a great feeling to get a ‘W’,” Hurt said. “All week, we talked about going out there and executing and dominating our box. Coming out at halftime without looking at the scoreboard. I’ve said it a lot, just having a standard for play. We got this win, but is it up to our standard of play? No. So that’s why I say we have so much to build on and so much more to work for. [We] have to continue to build, continue to learn. Every game is an opportunity to learn, and we need to use it to our advantage moving forward.”

Eagles head coach Doug Pederson felt Hurts gave the team a spark on Sunday.

“Jalen got the start this afternoon, and I thought overall, there were some good things and really, kind of gave us a spark as a team that I was looking for, and I think we were looking for as a team,” Pederson said. “But you know, this win today is not about one guy. This win is about this team and how resilient this team is.”

Eagles WR Jalen Reagor(65 total yards) was impressed by what he saw out of Hurts and was proud of his performance.

“Ah man, you guys saw, he looked good,” Reagor said about Hurts. “He is a fearless guy, just like myself. He is a winner. He knows how to play, and I am proud of him. I am proud for him, and I am happy to see where he goes.”

When asked if Hurts will be the starter next week on the road against Arizona, Pederson has this to say:

“I’m going to enjoy this one. I’m going to go home and relax and be with my family tonight and enjoy this win and get ready for the week.”

Obviously, Hurts will start next week against the Cardinals. The rookie was solid today and used his legs effectively against New Orleans. Maybe this move should have happened sooner. Who knows. However, Hurts and Philadelphia have to keep it going, and this win against the Saints should give the Eagles some hope.

Eagles’ Pederson: ‘I think Carson Wentz can be an exceptional quarterback in this league, and he’s proven that’

On Tuesday, Eagles head coach Doug Pederson made it official and named rookie QB Jalen Hurts the team’s starting quarterback for their home game against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday. The second-round pick replaced an ineffective Wentz against the Packers last Sunday.

It’s been a very disappointing 2020 season for Wentz, as he leads the league in interceptions(15). But just last season, the fifth-year quarterback was playing at an elite level when he led the Eagles, who had numerous injuries on the offensive side of the ball, to the playoffs. In 2017, before he went down with a torn ACL, Wentz played at an MVP level and threw 33 touchdowns with only seven interceptions in 13 games.  Ultimately. the Eagles would get home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, which helped Nick Foles and Philadelphia get to and win the Super Bowl. 

According to Pederson, Wentz has been and still can be an elite quarterback in the NFL.

“I think Carson Wentz can be an exceptional quarterback in this league, and he’s proven that, right? Back in ’17, ’18 and last year,” Pederson said on Wednesday. “We got to continue to battle and fight and work and work with him individually, work with him within the confines of the offense, the structure, and just get [him] back to being Carson Wentz and back on track. So, that’s my focus with him, to just get him back to the level of play that we all know that he has shown us and that he is capable of doing.”

If we look a the numbers, you could argue that Pederson is right. Outside of his rookie season, when Wentz threw 14 interceptions, Wentz has thrown no more than seven interceptions in a season, so in reality, what happened to Wentz in 2020, seems to go contrary to who and what he has been as a quarterback in the NFL. 

However, Pederson and the Eagles had to make the switch. The 27-year-old Wentz was not playing well, and it did not appear he would get right anytime soon. It should be interesting to see what happens moving forward if Hurts plays well in the next four games, especially when you consider Wentz signed a four-year, $128 million deal with the team in 2019. Based on how his contract is structured and barring a trade, Philadelphia could be stuck with Wentz until after the 2021 season, when they will be able to get out of the deal without a significant cap hit. 

We’ll see how this situation plays out. However, it’s time for the Eagles to see if they can succeed with Hurts in 2020.

Eagles’ Pederson on Jalen Hurts: ‘He played okay’

Philadelphia Eagles QB Carson Wentz continued to his season-long struggles on Sunday against the Green Bay Packers, and Eagles head coach Doug Pederson finally had enough. Pederson pulled the fifth-year quarterback in the third quarter and handed over the game to rookie QB Jalen Hurts. Wentz finished the game 6/15 for 79 yards.

It was a mixed result for Hurts. Did Hurts give the team a spark? Yes. He led Philadelphia on a scoring drive, including a 32-yard touchdown pass to Greg Ward. However, the second-round did complete less than 50% of passes and threw an interception. Hurts finished the game 5/12 for 109 yards with a touchdown and an interception. 

When asked how he felt Hurts played against the Packers, Pederson said:

“He played okay.”

When asked to elaborate, Pederson said the following:

“Yeah, I thought it was the spark that I was hoping for when I made the change. He came in and did some things. One of the things is that obviously he extended some plays with his legs. Made a nice throw to [WR] Jalen Reagor. Was good to see that. And then obviously the throw to [WR] Greg Ward for the touchdown on a scramble. But there are some things that if and when he looks at the film, that we can clean up and he can improve upon.

“But I thought it was the spark that got us back in the football game.”

At this point, Pederson has not made a decision on who will start next week against the Saints, and while Hurts played okay on Sunday, he did not blow anybody away with his performance. Maybe Pederson will treat this situation how Andy Reid handled Donovan McNabb in 2008 when he sat McNabb in the second half against the Ravens. Ironically enough, McNabb was replaced by another second-round pick, Kevin Kolb. McNabb would start the following week and ultimately lead the Eagles to the NFC championship game.

Who knows what Pederson will decide at this point, but the Eagles’ offense needs a spark, and maybe Hurts is the guy to do it.

Eagles’ Pederson: ‘We’re still leading the division, so we have a lot to play for right now’

It has been a struggle for Carson Wentz and the Philadelphia Eagles this season. After ten games, the Eagles are 3-6-1, and Wentz has thrown a league-high 14 interceptions. However, fortunately for Philadelphia, they play in the NFC East. Therefore, with only three wins as they enter their Week 12 showdown against Seattle, the Eagles are in first place in the division. At this point, every team in the division has three wins, so anything can happen.

“Right now, we’re still in the hunt, we’re still leading the division,” Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said on Monday. “So, we have a lot to play for right now.”

After another subpar performance out of Carson Wentz, that included two interceptions, many feel it could be time for the Eagles to turn to rookie QB Jalen Hurts. Philly’s offense has struggled mightily and is 2-21 on third down conversions in the last two games. However, Pederson, who is sticking with Wentz, thinks the whole team needs to play better.

“We still have a lot to play for. We have a lot to fix. It’s not — in this city, the quarterback and the head coach, it’s all about the QB and the head coach,” Pederson said. “Everybody else can almost go by the wayside, I guess. So it’s almost like a two-man band. But there is enough work to be done, as I’ve mentioned, by all positions. Receivers can play better. O-line can play better..

“It was just another one of those days. Running backs, we need to hang on to the football. Quarterback needs to play better. Defensively, we have got to get off the field on third down. Got to be able to tackle better. Same way on special teams. Got to be able to tackle in space. There is enough to go around that none of it is excusable. We all hold each other accountable, coaches, and players. That’s why I keep saying that we have a lot to play for. There is a lot of pride here. That’s what we’re going to do.”

Wentz gives the Eagles the best chance to win, and while he has not played well this season, the Eagles are still in the mix, but the next four games will be brutal. After Seattle, they have @Packers, Saints, @Cardinals. Philadelphia could easily go 0-4 in those games, and even if they go 0-4, the Eagles could still be in the mix because the Giants, Cowboys, and Redskins are not good, so who wins the NFC East is anybody’s guess.

Eagles’ Pederson says Giants had Philly ‘on the ropes’ in their Week 7 matchup

The New York Giants have been involved in a lot of close games in 2020. New York’s last five games have been decided by 10 points. In those five games, New York is 2-3, and both wins have come against Washington. This is the first season in their history in which they have played five consecutive games with such a small cumulative margin. The last NFL team with five games decided by no more than 10 points was the 1987 Chicago Bears.

In addition, the Giants have also played five straight games decided by three or fewer points in a single season for the first time in their history. No NFL team has played so many consecutive close games in a single season since the San Francisco 49ers in 2017 (who lost all five by a total of 13 points).

This week the Giants host the NFC East-leading Philadelphia Eagles. In their Week 7 matchup against the Eagles, New York was on the verge of defeating Philadelphia after taking a 21-10 lead late in the fourth quarter, but Carson Wentz would lead the Eagles on two scoring drives to get the victory 22-21 at Lincoln Financial Field. According to Eagles head coach Doug Pederson, New York had his team on the ropes in that contest. 

“I go back and watch our first game, and they have us against the ropes there with just a few minutes left in that game,” Pederson said during a conference call with the New York media on Wednesday. “I’m sure it’s in the back of their mind obviously, as it would be with us. Listen, it’s one of these games, too, where it’s an NFC East opponent, and it doesn’t really matter what happened the first time, the last time, or everything in between. It’s always a good football game, it’s a tough, hard-fought football game, and that’s what we expect.”

This game is another chance for New York to make their move in the NFC East. The Giants are 2-7 and are 2 1/2 games behind the 3-4-1 Eagles, so a win for New York puts them right back in the mix for a division title. A loss and their chances of winning the division are probably over.

“Obviously, it’s a big game,” Giants OG Kevin Zeitler said on Monday. “We know where we’re at; we know where the division is at. Every win in the division is a big thing.”

Giants QB Daniel Jones added: “We’re certainly aware of the situation in the division and where the division stands. I think there’s opportunities for us. You can say it’s coach speak, you can say whatever you want to say it is, but the truth is we have to take it game by game. That’s the reality of how you have to approach these situations if you want to play your best week to week.”

While their record does not indicate it, New York has played decent football at times this season, but they have to find ways to close out games, and if they can find a way to beat the Eagles on Sunday, who knows, maybe the Giants could find a way to be legitimate contenders in the NFC East.