The Philadelphia Eagles dropped their seventh game of the season on Monday. Their playoff chances, which only exist because of the putrid state of the NFC East, are shrinking. Carson Wentz struggled again. The cries to play Jalen Hurts continue to get louder. Owner Jeffrey Lurie even reportedly chimed in saying to play Hurts if Wentz struggles.
And yet Hurts barely touched the field. He was on the field for two plays. And this was after NFL insiders spent Thanksgiving weekend reporting that Hurts would see an increased role in the Eagles' offense.
Ian Rapaport of NFL Network wrote that Hurts would see "increased playing time." ESPN's Tim McManus reported an increase in Hurts' first-team snaps in practice. And then... two snaps. Nothing changed except for the opponent beating the Eagles. Maybe Doug Pederson wasn't lying about Hurts not getting more snaps.
After the game, Pederson tried to explain the lack of playing time. Via PFT:
“The plan was to use him when we could. The way the game started, we just didn’t have many opportunities, too many three and outs. I don’t think we got a first down until the second quarter. We just didn’t — we failed to execute. It just wasn’t in the cards, I guess, so to speak, early in the football game. But no more, no less than what we would use him each week.”
It seems like the solution was right there in front of Pederson's face. If you have a bunch of three and outs and you're looking for a place to use your exciting rookie quarterback in a nearly lost season, maybe try those first three plays that keep failing.
Who knows why Pederson is so stuck on Wentz. A feeling of obligation? An emotional attachment? It doesn't really matter. It just looks like Pederson and his boss are not on the same page or Hurts would have played more last night, as the owner apparently wished.
After winning 13 games and a Super Bowl in his second year with the Eagles, things have fallen apart three years later. Pederson doesn't deserve all the blame, but he - along with Wentz - are the two most visible people involved. As much of a mess as the entire team is, the coach and quarerback are going to be the ones to fall if things don't start to change. It's up to Pederson who goes first.