Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson replaced starting quarterback Jalen Hurts with backup Nate Sudfeld early in the fourth quarter of Sunday night’s Week 17 game against the Washington Football Team. The move was not well received.
Yanking Hurts early served two purposes for Pederson: it reduced the amount of punishment the Eagles’ quarterback of the future was forced to endure in a meaningless outing, and it helped the franchise secure the No. 6 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Had Philly won their Sunday night showdown, the team would have walked away with the No. 9 overall selection.
Obviously the New York Giants were extremely ticked off by Pederson’s decision to essentially throw the game, since an Eagles win would have secured them the NFC East Title and a playoff berth, but they weren’t the only ones.
Hurts wasn’t an especially big fan of being benched.
“This ain’t right” -Jalen Hurts pic.twitter.com/81riyLOZ3t
— THE NMD NETWORK (@NMD_TV) January 4, 2021
Philly ultimately lost the game 20-14.
After the fact, Pederson maintained that he had gone into the outing with the intention of winning.
“Yes, I was coaching to win,” Pederson said.
“Yes, that was my decision solely. Nate has obviously been here for four years and I felt that he deserved an opportunity to get some snaps.
“Listen, if there’s anything out there that thinks that I was not trying to win the game, [Zach] Ertz is out there, Brandon Graham is out there, Darius Slay is out there. All our top guys are still on the field at the end. We were going to win the game.”
“Yes, I was coaching to win.”
Doug Pederson explains why he took Jalen Hurts out of the game vs. Washington: pic.twitter.com/chB3dxTRE3
— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) January 4, 2021
While some people may not have liked Pederson’s decision, it’s hard to argue with the logic of it. Aside from sparing Hurts (who the team has invested a lot in) a night of punishment, that three-pick difference in drafting order is huge.
In 2019, the Los Angeles Chargers were able to land Justin Herbert in the first round. You can find a ton of value that high in the draft, but it inevitably starts to dissipate as you move further down the board.
Reactionary hate is temporary – smart football decisions ultimately stand the test of time.
Paulina Gretzky knows what she’s doing.https://t.co/zfKrfjY8iP
— Game 7 (@game7__) January 3, 2021