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Pederson: Eagles didn't intend to 'undermine' Wentz with Hurts pick

Mitchell Leff / Getty Images Sport / Getty

The arrival of Jalen Hurts was the beginning of the end for Carson Wentz in Philadelphia, but former Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said Wednesday the team didn't mean to pressure its starter by selecting another quarterback in the second round of the 2020 draft.

"You go into drafts and you go into each year looking for quarterbacks," Pederson said on SiriusXM NFL Radio. "And we continued to look for quarterbacks, and that's always something that will never change. We won a Super Bowl with our backup quarterback. And we've had to play with our backups a couple of times in Philadelphia.

"So we did that a year ago and brought in Jalen Hurts. Not to undermine Carson Wentz, not to do anything to take away his job or anything because Carson was definitely our starter. He was the franchise and all that moving forward. But someone that could come in and could be the backup and learn how to play the NFL game - bring his talent to the Philadelphia Eagles."

While the Eagles didn't intend for Hurts to usurp Wentz just a year after signing the latter to a four-year, $128-million contract extension, the starter's poor play forced their hand.

Wentz was benched for Hurts after throwing 15 interceptions and taking 50 sacks - both NFL highs - through Week 13. The veteran then reportedly requested a trade instead of competing for the starting job in 2021, ultimately moving to the Indianapolis Colts for a conditional 2022 second-round pick and a 2021 third-rounder.

Wentz's regression from MVP candidate in 2017 to one of the NFL's worst statistical starters was held up as the main reason for the Eagles' worst finish of the Pederson era. However, the head coach believes the team's failure doesn't rest solely on the quarterback's shoulders.

"As the season began, things just started to kind of, I guess, spiral out of control," Pederson said. "Injuries began to set in. We weren't playing very well. Turnovers offensively - just a number of things - penalties, more injuries, compounded problems, and it just became harder and harder as the year wore on. No one person is to blame for any of what happened last year."

Pederson is sitting out the 2021 season after being fired but said recently he hopes to return to coaching in 2022.

The Eagles have opted against handing Hurts the starting job after bringing in Joe Flacco, but the sophomore signal-caller is widely expected to be under center in Week 1.

Meanwhile, Wentz said in late June that he feels "a new passion for the game" after joining the Colts and reuniting with head coach Frank Reich, who previously served as the Eagles' offensive coordinator.

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