Ding, ding, ding. Philadelphia’s QB controversy continues as round two begins.
Taking reps, veteran quarterback Carson Wentz, drafted in 2016, signed to a four-year, $128 million contract. Taking the other half of reps — rookie quarterback Jalen Hurts, drafted in 2020, earning his first career start in Week 14 this past season.
In a city that prides itself on being the underdog, technically, both players currently fulfill that role. A franchise quarterback benched and ridiculed now looking for a second chance (with or without Philadelphia) versus a second-string working to make a name for himself.
The question now is, which underdog becomes top dog in Philadelphia moving forward?
THE PEDERSON ERA
Former head coach Doug Pederson was under a lot of scrutinies this season. Little did he (or most fans, for that matter) know that his fate with the Philadelphia Eagles would come down to one man — Carson Wentz.
Despite Wentz’s performance this past season, it seemed as if he would continue to lead the Eagles each week. In Week 12, Pederson stated that Wentz would continue as the team’s quarterback during a press conference, as pulling him would be “sending the wrong message to your football team.”
But the script flipped. In Week 14, Wentz was benched, leaving Jalen Hurts to take his place for the remainder of the season.
Fans believed Pederson’s job was on the line leading him to switch out of desperation to save himself. However, following Pederson’s dismissal on January 11, Philadelphia fans gained some new insight that proved otherwise.
Days after Pederson was fired, Troy Aikman had his own theory.
In a podcast, he stated, “What I gathered it came down to was a difference of opinion as to how they were going to move forward at the quarterback position. I sensed that, here, Jeffrey Lurie, the owner, has paid a lot of money to Carson Wentz, and they’re on the hook with him; they can’t get out of that contract right away. And yet, it’s my belief that Doug Pederson felt that Jalen Hurts was probably the quarterback going forward, and how does that mesh?”
It’s possible that the controversy, after all, was a rivalry between Pederson and Wentz.
THE SIRIANNI ERA
With Pederson gone, it was assumed Carson Wentz would be the guy moving forward. Why get rid of Pederson if the Eagles were also going to part ways with Wentz?
Then the Eagles hire Nick Sirianni, former Indianapolis Colts’ offensive coordinator. Better yet, he’s an heir of Frank Reich, who Wentz had the most success under. Just when fans thought they were getting clues about who the quarterback would be, Sirianni tossed a curveball.
In Sirianni’s first press conference last Friday, he stated that he “can’t answer” whether Wentz will be with the team in 2021.
He stated, “We have two quarterbacks in Carson Wentz and Jalen Hurts that are top-notch quarterbacks. A lot of teams don’t have any. So just really excited to work with both of them.”
The quarterback ordeal was mentioned again on Monday when Sirianni spoke with Angelo Cataldi of SportsRadio 94WIP Morning Show. Sirianni referenced his “core values” of coaching, focusing on competition.
“A core value is competition. And that’s competition at quarterback, that’s competition with the wide receivers, that’s competition with the DBs, that’s competition everywhere. And so it’s just — everyone is going to compete. Sirianni continued, Competition is the core value that we’re going to use for every position that we have here with the Philadelphia Eagles.”
THE FUTURE OF THE QB POSITION
Although trade rumors surrounding Wentz continue, Sirianni stated there was no timeline established yet as to when things need to be decided.
Hurts gave his two cents, stating, “I’m putting the work in on my end. I’m trying to put in relationships with my guys. I’m just trying to take the next step. Regardless of what’s what, I’m challenging myself to be the best quarterback I can be. Learn from my mistakes as a team, learn from my mistakes last year. Those four games, I got the opportunity to get my feet wet and take off next year.”
Wentz has not commented, continuing to remain silent since he was benched late last season. In 12 games, he finished 3-8-1, completing 57.4% of his passes.
Hurts finished with a 1-3 record, completing 52% of his passes. Neither quarterback played at franchise standards.
Only time will tell what remains a rumor and what quarterback will lead the Philadelphia Eagles to an improved season in 2021.