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November 17, 2020

Eytan Shander: Eagles stink, but should not bench Carson Wentz

Opinion Eagles
Eagles_Cowboys_Jalen_Hurts_Week8_Kate_Frese_11022060.jpg Kate Frese/PhillyVoice

Jalen Hurts during the Philadelphia Eagles game against the Dallas Cowboys at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia on November 1, 2020.

The Eagles stink.

Come to think of it, that might be too nice of a description. They are worse than stink. They smell.

This is a terrible football team and people both in and around this team are running out of excuses. Howie Roseman, Doug Pederson, Jim Schwartz all the way down to the radio and Twitter versions of each. Everyone is running out of ways to pass the buck and push back the inevitable; this team is awful.

So, if you agree with me that there is group accountability and culpability and any other adjective to describe the actions from the GM to Carson Wentz… Why in the world would you want to take anyone off the hook?

There are a bunch of reasons – football and non-football – to not bench Wentz, but the above scenario is the one that speaks loudest to me. Benching the current Eagles franchise QB this year takes way too many people off the hook, including Wentz himself.

The division is so bad – it’s truly difficult to watch anyone from the NFC East play – the team can play at its current clip and still find a way to win it. That will be the team message, one that I can at least understand.

Wentz can’t be rescued by some magic hook coming down at the hand of Pederson. A huge part of him growing as a QB will be playing through slumps, even if it feels like a season-long setback. This is the franchise QB that the team moved up twice to snatch in the first round.

Moving to Jalen Hurts allows the Eagles to soften the landing of this tailspin that Wentz is behind. It pulls Wentz from behind the wheel not allowing him to either pull out or experience the crash. It also does a tremendous disservice to Hurts.

Roseman and his unnecessary drafting of Hurts will be tied to his legacy. The move to Hurts would further highlight how ridiculous of a draft pick it was, while asking the backup QB to climb and insurmountable hill.

Hurts hasn’t been worked like a traditional backup; he’s been thrown into the game during “trick” packages. There’s nothing at all we’ve seen from him leading a drive, not even a series. This insistence in using a player that has been reduced to a gadget has stunted the young man’s growth to the point where he couldn’t even step in and be the backup.

Benching Wentz takes Howie Roseman off the hook for making a terrible choice in the second round and continuing to justify it through the head coach. Benching Wentz takes Pederson off the hook for having this team routinely unprepared and listless throughout games – especially the first halves.

Moving to Hurts resets expectations for this team. Allowing wiggle room for people who deserve the opposite. Jim Schwartz has coached some of the worst football in his career; he doesn’t deserve room for excuses with an unprepared rookie QB taking over.

The optics say Carson is playing really bad football. Your eyes don’t deceive you by any means, this is truly bad. But benching him is a panic move. The damage it does is twofold from surface to depth. It allows Roseman and his two coaches the ability to pawn off the blame on Wentz. It scapegoats a ton of responsibility onto one person, despite a lot of people being at fault for the poor makeup and execution of this team.

It’s also irresponsible to both quarterbacks. It sets Wentz back from any growth that can come from this misery. It takes pressure off of the team to find a strong voice to put around him, because it was simply his play that was the issue.

It also throws a young QB in Hurts right into the mix. This kid will be playing with a bad OL, skill guys who constantly rotate in and out of games, and a defense that can’t afford to have the offense turn it over. Nope.

Eagles Bet of the Week

Each week I’ll provide one big bet I like for the Eagles game. It can be a simple line bet or a more specific prop. 

The Eagles/Browns game is off the board at a lot of places because of the COVID issue in Cleveland. One thing you will find will be the first quarter spread. Take the Browns – and lay the points – in winning the first quarter. It’s been painful to watch the Eagles early in games, this won’t change come Sunday in Cleveland. Expect another lower scoring game, especially with windy conditions as a strong possibility.

The Middle w/ BROOKS, MAYES & EYTAN – Clip of the Week

This week we highlight – what else – our reaction to the Eagles display

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Props & Locks

Catch Props & Locks on Fox29 Thursdays at 7p with myself, Scott Grayson, and the always entertaining Sean Bell! We will be loaded with props for the Eagles game and break down other big value matchups.

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Follow Eytan on Twitter: @shandershow

You can listen to Eytan on The Middle w/ Brooks, Mayes and Eytan right here on PhillyVoice (Mon.-Fri., 11 a.m.-1 p.m.) and on @foxphlgambler (Mon.-Weds., 6-8 p.m.). You can also catch him on FOX 29 Good Day and on his new show Props & Locks Friday nights on FOX 29.

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