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The Philadelphia Eagles are making a change at quarterback.
Head coach Doug Pederson announced that rookie Jalen Hurts will start for the Eagles on Sunday against the New Orleans Saints, replacing starter Carson Wentz, who recently signed a four-year, $128 million contract that begins in 2021.
Hurts replaced Wentz in the third quarter of Philadelphia’s 30-16 to the Green Bay Packers. He completed 5 of 12 passes for 109 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Hurts was also sacked three times in the loss.
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“We’re not where we want to be as an offense," Pederson said on the team’s website. "I looked at the whole thing and decided that for this week to look for that spark again to try to get the team over the hump, to try to get everybody playing better.”
Both Pederson and Wentz joined the Eagles in 2016 and were key contributors to the franchise’s only Super Bowl title in 2017. Before suffering a significant knee injury that season, Wentz led the Eagles to an 11-2 record. But he was replaced by backup Nick Foles in the playoffs, who then led Philadelphia through the playoffs and in the Super Bowl over the New England Patriots.
Wentz finished third in the NFL MVP voting that season.
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“Carson is like all of us right now, he’s disappointed. He’s frustrated,” Pederson added. “He’s been a professional through it all. He supports his teammates and that’s what you want to see from him, the leader of the team. I know sometimes the quarterback gets a lot of the blame like the head coach does. It’s the good with the bad. It’s not about Carson Wentz. It’s not about one person. We know we have issues on offense and it has been a struggle for us all season. That’s where the frustration lies a little bit, but he’s been a pro and would expect nothing less.”
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So far during the 2020 season, Wentz has posted a career-low 72.8 passer rating with 19 total turnovers, and the decimated Eagles’ offensive line has allowed 53 sacks.
“Carson’s been a big part of the success that we’ve had,” Pederson said. “He was on that championship team that got us to that level. Even in ’18 and ’19 he led the team and got us into the postseason and I know we can get back to that level. That’s why I have so much confidence in him.”
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Hurts, the 53rd overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, will have his first opportunity as an NFL starter but will have his work cut out for him against one of the best defenses in all of football.
“I just want to see development. I think it’s a great opportunity for him, a great opportunity for the team,” Pederson said.
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