The Eagles have plenty of work to do to repair the external damage done by Sunday night’s apparent decision to deliberately lose to Washington. They also apparently have plenty of work to do to repair the internal damage.
Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports that “many Eagles players and coaches were shocked and outraged” by the decision to remove quarterback Jalen Hurts for Nate Sudfeld in the second half of the Week 17 game.
Per the report, two defensive players “had to be held back” from confronting coach Doug Pederson. McLane also reports that center Jason Kelce (pictured) and another offensive starter approach Pederson for an explanation as to the move.
Pederson explained after the loss that he was trying to win the game. On Monday, Pederson gave a rambling non-answer when asked again about the perception that the Eagles weren’t trying to secure a victory that would have knocked Washington out of the playoffs and would have delivered the NFC East title to the Giants.
The incident puts a dark cloud over the team at the conclusion of a lost season. Clearing it away will require plenty of frank and candid conversations. Ultimately, Pederson may have to admit to his players (at a minimum, to his team leaders) that the goal was to enhance the team’s draft position or, possibly, to take steam out of potential push to make Hurts the starter in 2021, allowing the team to make a more reasoned and deliberate decision as to the quarterback position next season, given their belief that Carson Wentz‘s poor season may have been an aberration.
The Eagles benefited significantly from pandemic protocols that keep reporters out of the locker room in the raw and real moments after a game. Still, this problem hasn’t quickly gone away — and the Eagles have offered up nothing in the aftermath of the game to reduce the discontent arising from the apparently deliberate decision to not try to beat Washington in the final game of the 2020 regular season.