Doug Pederson Admits Eagles' Plan at QB Went Awry

The Eagles wanted Jalen Hurts to settle in as a cost-effective backup for Carson Wentz
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Not that it's any surprise but the Eagles did not draft Jalen Hurts in 2020 with the idea of him becoming the starting quarterback by the 2021 season.

Although it didn't need to be, that sentiment was confirmed by former Eagles coach Doug Pederson while appearing on Sirius XM's NFL Radio.

"[We] brought in Jalen Hurts, not to undermine Carson Wentz, not to do anything to take away his job or anything because Carson was our starter," Pederson said. "[Wentz] was the franchise and all that moving forward. But [we wanted] someone that could come in and could be the backup and learn how to play the NFL game, bring his talent to the Philadelphia Eagles."

The law of unintended consequences hit Philadelphia hard, however.

The atypical nature of selecting a QB so high in the draft at No. 53 overall when the perceived face of the franchise was in the prime of his career at 27 and about 10 months off a record-setting extension proved to be a miscalculation of epic proportions as Wentz began to question the franchise's motives.

From there the snowball started rolling down the hill resulting in a loss of confidence by Wentz and ultimately a benching that fractured the coach/QB relationship.

Pederson was out of a job by January less than three calendar years off a Super Bowl LII championship and Wentz soon followed him out of town when the QB was traded to Indianapolis in March after Jeffrey Lurie agreed to take on a massive $33.8 million dead-money hit.

"Really as the season began, things just started to kind of I guess spiral out of control," Pederson admitted. "Injuries began to set in. We weren’t playing very well. Turnovers offensively, just a number of things, penalties, more injuries compounded problems, and it just became harder and harder as the year wore on."

Pederson refused to point fingers, though.

"No one person is to blame for any of what happened last year," he said. "And it’s just unfortunate for me because I was hoping to really have an opportunity to fix the issues that we had and kind of get everything back on track — whether it be this year or the next year. And, obviously, that didn’t happen."

The goal of the Hurts pick was just as it was advertised at the time, a cost-effective insurance policy at the game's most important position.

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“You go into drafts and you go into each year looking for quarterbacks,” Pederson said. “And we continued to look for quarterbacks, and that’s always something that will never change. We won a Super Bowl with our backup quarterback [Nick Foles]. And we’ve had to play with our backups a couple of times in Philadelphia."

In many ways, the selection of Hurts may have made some sense in a vacuum but it failed to take into account human nature.

The rest is history.

"I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about the ifs, ands, and buts," said Pederson. "I just focus on the future and look forward to that.”

John McMullen contributes Eagles coverage for SI.com's EagleMaven and is the NFL Insider for JAKIB Media. You can listen to John, alongside legendary sports-talk host Jody McDonald every morning from 8-10 on ‘Birds 365,” streaming live on both PhillyVoice.com and YouTube. John is also the host of his own show "Extending the Play" on AM1490 in South Jersey. You can reach him at jmcmullen44@gmail.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen

Ed Kracz is the publisher of SI.com’s Eagle Maven and co-host of the Eagles Unfiltered Podcast. Check out the latest Eagles news at www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.