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Why are Eagles letting Roseman, Pederson and Wentz fix their problems?

Martin Frank
Delaware News Journal

So where do the Eagles go from here?

They're obviously not changing the structure of general manager Howie Roseman and head coach Doug Pederson from a team that finished 4-11-1, a season that Roseman called "disappointing, embarrassing, frustrating."

It was all of that, and more.

And they certainly don't appear to be ready to move on from quarterback Carson Wentz.

Both Roseman and Pederson spoke Monday about fixing the Eagles' problems less than 12 hours after the season concluded embarrassingly with a 20-14 loss to the Washington Football Team on Sunday night.

Philadelphia Eagles' Doug Pederson, left, and Carson Wentz talk during organized team activities in 2019.

The mea culpas came after Pederson became a national punchline, benching his backup quarterback Jalen Hurts for third-stringer Nate Sudfeld in the fourth quarter of a game the Eagles were losing by three points, even as the playoff chances of both Washington and the Giants (if the Eagles won) hung in the balance. 

Then Pederson had the nerve to say he didn't bench Hurts in an attempt to lose the game because he had planned all along to get Sudfeld in the game. He also said he was playing to win. 

SUDFELD TIME:Why did Eagles coach Doug Pederson bench Jalen Hurts for Nate Sudfeld vs. Washington?

BUMBLING FINISH:Carson Wentz, reportedly seeking a trade, watches as Eagles' bumble to season-ending loss

All of this tomfoolery for the Eagles to pick No. 6 in the first round of the draft instead of No. 9. 

OK, fine. Tank away, and the Eagles did. 

But now the hard part begins, as Roseman put it: "That's something we have to hit on, the sixth pick in the draft, in a huge, huge way, and I think that we have the right people to do that."

So unless Eagles president and CEO Jeffrey Lurie does an about-face when he meets with Pederson on Tuesday, and presumably Roseman, nothing seems to be changing.

Roseman will be making those picks, just like he did with wide receiver Jalen Reagor in the first round last spring over wide receiver Justin Jefferson, who went on to have a record-setting year with the Vikings.

"Obviously, the guy you're talking about (Jefferson) has had a phenomenal year," Roseman said. "It's not like our head is in the sand and we don't see that." 

Reagor missed five games after tearing a ligament in his thumb. He was playing with a quarterback in Wentz who got benched over the final 4½ games because he was playing like one of the worst quarterbacks in the NFL. 

And that was just a microcosm of the Eagles' failures this season.

"To not sit there and review everything we've done and see if there's a better way to do it, you know that would probably be ignorant," Roseman said. "So we have to do that."

Roseman wouldn't give details about the better way(s), saying on several occasions that the just-completed season "is too raw" right now.

It certainly seems like Roseman and Pederson are making those decisions, as they both pointed to their track record for fixing the team – the Super Bowl victory three years ago and playoff berths the next two seasons before the bottoming out this season.

First, there's the issue of Wentz, who according to an ESPN report on Sunday will seek a trade during the offseason. The report also said that Wentz feels his relationship with Pederson is "fractured beyond repair."

Yet both Roseman and Pederson said that's not the case.

They wouldn't say if Wentz will have to compete for his starting job with Hurts, chosen in the second round last spring when the Eagles didn't necessarily need a quarterback considering their shortcomings at other positions.

Again, the "too raw" response.

Remember, that when Hurts was drafted, Roseman said the Eagles saw themselves as "a quarterback factory."

"Of some of the things that I’ve done this season, I certainly regret that comment about the quarterback factory," Roseman said Monday.

But he also meant it, feeling that successful teams need at least two quality quarterbacks on the roster.

It's possible Roseman didn't take into account the effect drafting Hurts would have on Wentz, when Wentz, who just turned 28 last week, was supposed to be entering his prime.

Or maybe Roseman figured that Wentz, who was given a four-year contract extension worth as much as $128 million the summer before, should have been able to handle that.

Wentz, through an Eagles spokesman, declined to speak to the media Monday, and he has not made himself available since he was benched Dec. 6.

So it's hard to know what he's thinking, not only about possibly competing for his job in the spring, but with the report about him wanting a trade.

All that is left is speculation from reporters citing anonymous sources.

"I think anybody who knows Carson knows how strong of a person he is," Roseman said. "And how much he believes in his own abilities … To put it on Carson isn’t fair."

That doesn't tell the whole story.

Sure, the ESPN report might not be entirely true, but it is based on some truth. The reporter, Chris Mortensen, has been doing this for decades.

Just ask Eagles tight end Zach Ertz, who likely played his last game as an Eagle after eight seasons.

"I take all of those reports with a grain of salt, especially when it comes to a franchise quarterback saying he doesn’t want to be a backup quarterback," Ertz said. "I mean, that is so obvious to me. No one wants to be a backup anything in this league.

"I haven’t spoken to (Wentz) as to what his plan is for the future. This week has honestly been a lot of reflection, but I’m not going to be the spokesperson for Carson."

So yes, the Eagles began their offseason Monday insisting their main objective is fixing Wentz, not messing up the No. 6 pick, and rebuilding an aging team filled with broken-down players (hello Alshon Jeffery, DeSean Jackson, Jason Peters ...) with youth, speed, and yes, strong quarterback play.

They'll be fixing it with the same people who won the Super Bowl three years ago, then saw it crumble bit by bit until there was a 4-11-1 carcass left.

"Incredibly disappointing," Roseman said. "Even when we thought of how the season would go, I can't tell you there's any situation where we felt like we would be where we are today, sitting here.

"We have to come back and look at it with fresh eyes." 

And the same eyes.

Contact Martin Frank at mfrank@delawareonline.com. Follow on Twitter @Mfranknfl.