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Doug Pederson on whether Jalen Hurts is Eagles starter beyond Week 14: 'I don't have a crystal ball'

Doug Pederson made the switch to Jalen Hurts for Sunday's game against the New Orleans Saints. The Philadelphia Eagles coach won't commit to the rookie quarterback beyond one week.

"I don't have a crystal ball," Pederson said Wednesday when asked if Hurts will be the starter beyond one game. "I can't predict the future, right? I mean, come on, that's. ... All I can focus on is today and getting our team prepared today and getting our guys ready for Sunday."

Hurts will be the first Eagles rookie since at least 1950 to make his first career QB start in Week 14 or later (A.J. Feeley, Koy Detmer and Jack Concannon all started in Week 13).

In his first bulk action last week in relief of Carson Wentz, Hurts completed 5 of 12 passes for 198 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT. He also rushed five times for 29 yards against Green Bay.

Hurts' dual-threat ability -- 1,298 rush yards in his final college season -- could bring an added element to a stagnant Eagles offense.

"That's the message to him. Be Jalen Hurts, and do the things that he can do," Pederson said. "From an offensive perspective, just run the show, just run it how he sees it. We'll coach him up through the week and get him prepared."

Tossing the rookie into the fire against a Saints defense that has pummeled more seasoned offenses is asking a lot. Since 2016, New Orleans is 6-1 versus rookie QBs, allowing a 53.3 completion percentage, 179.6 passing yards per game, 9 TDs to 4 INTs and an 80.2 passer rating.

While moving to Hurts thrusts the organization into limbo at the quarterback position, Pederson said he's not giving up on Wentz.

"I think Carson Wentz can be an exceptional quarterback in this league, and he's proven that, back in '17, '18, last year, and we've got to continue and fight and battle and work with him individually, work with him within the confines of the offense, the structure and just get back to being Carson Wentz and back on track," he said. "That's my focus with him, to just get him back to the level of play that we all know that he has shown us and that he is capable of doing."

Longtime Eagles center Jason Kelce took a diplomatic approach when weighing in on Wentz's benching Wednesday.

"I think there's a lot of different things that you can look at, and whenever you're this bad, it's never just one person, it's never just one position group, and it's never just players, coaches, front office -- its everybody. And that's the reality," he said, per The Philadelphia Inquirer. "We should be able to manufacture more points than we're putting up and wee should be able to play better no matter what's called and put up more points than we're putting up. So this is ultimately a failure on a lot of different levels to facilitate a good offense, and we just gotta keep trying to do better, and I think that's when you see decisions like this being made are when you're trying to get something going.

"We owe it to the rest of the team here, we owe it to the Eagles, we owe it to the fan base, certainly, to figure something out."

With a massive cap hit for Wentz in 2021, whether the Eagles keep him or walk away, Pederson is trying to straddle the line between letting Hurts test-drive the offense and not completely losing Wentz for good.

Pederson noted that when the Eagles drafted Hurts in the second round, he never dreamed his team would collapse in 2020.

"Are we where we want to be as a team? No," he said. "Are we beat up and banged up and got a ton of guys on injured reserve? Yes. Are we not playing well? Yes. Are we not coaching well? Yes. We need to do a lot of things better. I don't take Carson Wentz out of it. I didn't expect us to be in this situation back in April. So let's just start there. It has nothing to do with Carson. It has everything to do with the team and where we are, and my expectation was definitely and still is extremely high for this football team, but I didn't expect us to be here, no."

Alas, the Eagles are a mere half-game from the cellar of the NFC East, looking up at New York and Washington. Few predicted those two teams would be battling for a postseason bid while the Eagles struggled to figure out who would play QB. Like Pederson, no one in the real world owns a crystal ball.

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