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Doug Pederson: Benching Carson Wentz would send 'wrong message'

Jason Owens
·2-min read

Another Sunday brought another poor outing from Carson Wentz.

After the 22-17 loss to the Cleveland Browns, it prompted another explanation from Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson on why he’s sticking with his starting quarterback.

With cries growing louder to give rookie quarterback Jalen Hurts a shot, Pederson said this after the game:

“I think you’re sending the wrong message to your football team that the season’s over. That’s a bad message. We have to work through this.”

Why doesn’t Pederson bench Wentz?

Pederson didn’t even bother to back Wentz as the better quarterback option after his Eagles fell to 3-6-1. He just doesn’t want to send a “bad message” to his team.

Wentz didn’t give Pederson much reason to laud his actual play — as he has failed to do all season. Wentz finished the loss completing 21 of 35 passes for 235 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. One of those touchdowns and 57 yards arrived via a meaningless late drive.

Nov 24, 2019; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson talks with quarterback Carson Wentz (11) during the third quarter of a game against the Seattle Seahawks at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Doug Pederson would rather "work though this" than see what Jalen Hurts has to offer. (Bill Streicher/Reuters)

Wentz put up points for Browns

When the outcome was still in the balance, Wentz directly accounted for nine Browns points. He got the scoring started on Philadelphia’s first drive, throwing a pick six to Browns linebacker Sione Takitaki.

In the third quarter with Cleveland leading 10-7, Wentz failed to recognize pressure in the end zone and took a sack for a safety.

Eagles have second-round rookie QB on bench

It was typical of a poor season that’s seen Wentz’s continued regression from his 2017 Pro Bowl campaign when the Eagles won the Super Bowl. Wentz threw his NFL-worst 14th interception of the season on Sunday in another ugly loss.

He thrived early in his career behind one of the NFL’s best offensive lines. Without that benefit, he has been one of the worst starting quarterbacks in football this season. And calls for Hurts — a second-round rookie out of Oklahoma — are mounting.

For now — with the NFC East still up for grabs — Pederson is sticking with Wentz, unwilling to give up on the former No. 2 overall pick or to send a negative message to his team in a season lacking much anything positive.

So Wentz will get the start again next week against the Seattle Seahawks.

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