PHILADELPHIA – The Eagles, who ran back Miles Sanders, said “nobody” on the team was in favor of the decision to pull quarterback Jalen Hurts in favor of Nate Sudfeld early in the fourth quarter against the Washington Football team on Sunday night.
“If I’m being honest, nobody made the decision. Nobody. That’s all I can say,” said Sanders during an appearance at 94.1 WIP on Tuesday. “I don’t know who was the main person behind this decision, but I just know that a lot of people on the team were confused.”
Pederson said the plan during the week was to get Sudfeld some snaps in a week 17 game that had no impact on the Eagles playoffs. Some players, including the quarterbacks, knew of their intention to bring Sudfeld into play in the second half while others were surprised.
Center Jason Kelce, a team leader, reached out to Pederson to ask him about his decision to pull hurts during the game, a source confirmed, although it has been described as non-confrontational.
Two defensive players had to be prevented from approaching Pederson after the move was made, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. ESPN has not confirmed this report.
The move from Hurts to Sudfeld in a competitive game that would determine the winner of NFC East sparked reaction across the league, including from New York Giants coach Joe Judge, who made a strong suggestion of Philadelphia’s actions did not respect the game. The Giants would have won the NFC East title with an Eagles win over Washington.
According to a source, Hurts’ health took into account the thinking not to play him the whole game. The week before he had a thigh strain against the Dallas Cowboys. Pederson described it at the time as “lower body tightness” and said he believed it affected his game against Dallas in the second half. Hurts wasn’t on the injury report this week, but since he wasn’t 100% healthy the Eagles saw no advantage in playing him all the way, especially behind a battered offensive line.
The Eagles were generally careful with the staff. Carson Wentz and Alshon Jeffery were healthy scratches. The final injury report listed nine players, including Sanders, Dallas Goedert, Fletcher Cox, Derek Barnett and DeSean Jackson.
Philadelphia was competitive regardless of what turned out to be a six point loss. Pederson said immediately after the game that he was “training to win”.
Washington had a 17-14 lead when Sudfeld replaced Hurts on the line-up and stayed 12:35 in the game. The next two possessions generated sales. With the defeat, the Eagles secured their sixth overall victory in the April NFL draft. A win against Washington would have put them in ninth place overall.