PHILADELPHIA - A candid Jason Kelce held virtual court over the rubble of a 3-8-1 season that has manifested into a quarterback change in Philadelphia.
The veteran Eagles center didn't expect to hear that Carson Wentz was being benched for rookie Jalen Hurts in advance of Sunday’s game against the top team in the NFC, the New Orleans Saints, but acknowledged that's life in the NFL where performance is everything.
“This season has not gone the way any of us obviously anticipated or liked it to have gone,” said Kelce. “Sitting here at 3-8-1, we’ve got to do something, and you’ve got to make a change.
"The offense has been absolutely terrible, the last four weeks in particular."
The All-Pro was an equal-opportunity offender making sure to note that everyone has a hand in what the Eagles offense has become.
"Carson has unfortunately not played well so these are the situations that happen," he said. "... Obviously the entire offense has been terrible. Offensive line, running backs, receivers, coaches. You aren't this bad unless everybody shares blame in this whole thing. And I think everybody here knows that."
According to Kelce, Wentz tops that accountability list but also shouldn't be shouldering that blame internally.
"I know that Carson knows that," the All-Pro said.
With Wentz set to sit and watch on Sunday against the Saints, Kelce will become the only Eagles offensive player to start every game this season, and Hurts will likely be lining up behind the 12th different offensive line group in 13 games if Nate Herbig replaces Jason Peters, something that was at least intimated by coach Doug Pederson earlier Wednesday.
“We’ve got to do something,” said Kelce. “We have to try and spark some sort of difference. You can’t keep doing the same thing and expecting to get better, and we just haven’t been able to do it.
"Jalen’s going to go out there and get opportunities this week. As a young kid, he’s got a great attitude. He went in at the end of the game (against Green Bay) and did some things. We’ll see how he does in a full game.”
Kelce has also seen glimmers when it comes to Hurts and the intangibles it takes to be successful at the QB position.
"I think he's got leadership ability," he said. "I mean don't get me wrong, he's different than Carson, just like Carson was different than Nick (Foles), like anybody who goes in there is going to have a little bit different personality.
"But he has all the intangibles. He's got great confidence in himself first and foremost which breeds off into other guys. He's a little bit quieter, but then again most rookies are, especially when you're just trying to learn and figure out where your place is on the team and what you're doing.
"But I think he's really smart. Just from the questions he asked me, he wants to figure things out. He's very curious as to what's happening each week. He's accountable."
While some have speculated the move from Wentz to Hurts is raising the white flag on the 2020 season and shifting into more of an evaluation mode, Kelce is compartmentalizing by insisting the goal needs to be getting better on the offensive side of the football no matter who he's snapping the football to.
“I think that that’s when you see decisions like this being made, are when you’re trying to get something going,” Kelce said. “We owe it to the rest of the team here. We owe it to the Eagles and the fan base to figure something out. Whether it’s too late or not, you still keep working, and you still keep fighting and try to grind out and figure out what’s going on. "We’ll still keep trying to win and keep trying to have success on game day. That’s what we’re going to do this week.”
John McMullen contributes Eagles coverage for SI.com's EagleMaven and is the NFL Insider for JAKIB Media. You can listen to John every Tuesday and Thursday on "The Middle" with Eytan Shander, Harry Mayes, and Barrett Brooks on SportsMap Radio and PhillyVoice.com. He’s also the host of Extending the Play on AM1490 in South Jersey. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen
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