The Philadelphia Eagles center defended Doug Pederson’s decision to bench Jalen Hurts for Nate Sudfeld.
The talk of the NFL has been the Philadelphia Eagles because of how their final game of the 2020 season played out. Specifically, head coach Doug Pederson benched rookie quarterback Jalen Hurts in the fourth quarter in favor of third-string quarterback Nate Sudfeld despite the fact that the Eagles were only down 17-14 to the Washington Football Team.
It led to backlash throughout the NFL for their tank to secure the sixth-overall pick in the NFL Draft. That, and reports surfaced that two Eagles players confronted Pederson on the sidelines following the decision.
Center Jason Kelce sent out an Instagram post on Wednesday to deny the report that he confronted Pederson about the benching, while also reciting Pederson’s claim that putting in Sudfeld was a way to help them win the game.
Kelce puts tank talk to rest
Kelce’s comments came as a bit of a shock, considering the impassioned speech he gave a few weeks ago decrying talks of tanking. If the Eagles had won in the regular-season finale, their draft position would sit at ninth overall. But with a loss, they’d move up to sixth on the board. The latter happened.
Eagles running back Miles Sanders spoke out about the Sudfeld debacle, saying that players were furious over Pederson’s decision to bench Hurts.
Even though Pederson viewed the activation of Sudfeld as a way to win, he didn’t do much to prove him right. It was well known throughout the week that Pederson had planned to put Sudfeld in the game. The way it was handled is what left a bad taste in the mouths of viewers. Sudfeld completed 5-of-12 pass attempts for 32 yards and an interception. That allowed Washington to clinch the NFC East title for the first time since 2015.
One of the biggest critics of the Eagles’ actions were the New York Giants. Players tweeted their displeasure while watching the contest, viewing it as the Eagles laying down to give Washington the win. Additionally, Giants head coach Joe Judge ridiculed Pederson and the Eagles without referencing them by name, while saying he’d never disrespect his players or the game by performing a similar action.
Kelce let it known that there was no plan to tank the final game of the season, they were trying to win.