The Jalen Hurts benching might have cost Doug Pederson his locker room.
The Eagles head coach replaced Hurts with quarterback Nate Sudfeld on Sunday night with Philadelphia trailing the Washington Football Team but just three points in the fourth quarter. The baffling decision, widely decried as evidence of tanking, has angered many across the NFL, particularly players and coaches with the Giants. Had the Eagles won the game, New York would have won the NFC East.
Hurts’ benching also proved controversial among Eagles players and coaches, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Jeff McLane. In fact, multiple players had to be held back from approaching Pederson, who eventually was confronted by some of the Philly’s locker room leaders.
“When Doug Pederson pulled Jalen Hurts for Nate Sudfeld early in the fourth quarter in Sunday’s season finale against Washington, many Eagles players and coaches were shocked and outraged, team sources told The Inquirer,” McLane wrote.
“Some were angry. Two defensive players had to be held back from approaching Pederson. Center Jason Kelce and another offensive starter went to the coach to ask him why he had pulled the starting quarterback with the Eagles trailing by only three.”
McLane added that Hurts himself was ‘distraught’ over the benching.
Pederson explained himself after the conclusion of the game, but his comments failed to prevent the eventual backlash.
Reports over the weekend indicated the Eagles planned to keep Pederson as their head coach for next season, despite the team’s disappointing 2020 campaign. No word yet on whether their plans have changed after the events of Sunday night.