The Eagles Have to Give Jalen Hurts Time

Jalen Hurts
Jalen Hurts / Stacy Revere/Getty Images

It finally happened. The move that everyone, including the Philadelphia Eagles, didn't believe would happen until it did. Jalen Hurts has taken the starting quarterback job from Carson Wentz. After Wentz managed less than 100 yards passing and zero touchdown drives in a little over one half of play against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, Hurts took over. On Tuesday, it became official as head coach Doug Pederson announced Hurts would be the starting quarterback for this week's matchup against the New Orleans Saints.

This does not portend good fortune for the Eagles. Hurts looked decent against the Packers given the circumstances, but Wentz is sitting on the bench with a huge salary and an even bigger cap hit. That is not exactly the platonic ideal of resource management. But sometimes these things just happen. The band-aid had to be ripped off after Wentz' exceptionally poor play this year, regardless of the money currently sunk into the former No. 2 overall pick.

Now that the Band-Aid has been ripped off, though, the Eagles have to stick with Hurts. Given that Philadelphia is still very much in the race for the NFC East title, the temptation to switch back to Wentz will be strong if Hurts doesn't play well this Sunday. That is a likely possibility, given his first NFL start will come against a Saints defense that has proven to be one of the best in the NFL after a slow start.

Rookie quarterbacks rarely succeed immediately in the NFL, much less when their first start comes two-thirds of the way through the year against one of the league's top defenses. But Philly can't afford to overreact. Not at this juncture. The rest of the season should be considered an audition for Hurts and then the evaluation of the position comes in the offseason. Making Hurts believe his job is on the line with each and every snap is not a great way to build his confidence.

And Hurts needs that confidence if he's to be the QB of the future in the City of Brotherly Love. If he stinks, he stinks. The Eagles still have Wentz under contract for the next few years and it'll be tough to move him no matter what happens. They can't afford to juggle the two around depending "who gives them the best chance to win every week" or whatever other coachspeak you want to insert there.

The damage has been done. The coaching staff's confidence in Wentz has dissipated and everybody knows it now. Going back would do nothing except tell Hurts he's walking a mighty thin line with his new job. That's not a conducive environment to excellence, and that's what the Eagles will need from Hurts if they want any chance of figuring out their quarterback position heading into the offseason.