A year ago at this time, the Philadelphia Eagles' selection of Jalen Hurts was still somewhat puzzling.
Would he offer the Eagles another element for their offense, a Taysom Hill of sorts? Was he the quarterback of the future when the franchise quarterback was still in his prime years?
Now, head coach Doug Pederson is gone and so too is quarterback Carson Wentz following a disaster of a 2020 season in which Hurts' potential was the only highlight to emerge after Wentz turned in his worst career campaign and Pederson oversaw an NFC-worst 4-11-1 showing.
Much ado has been made about the Eagles' drafting of Hurts in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft as the starting point for the disharmony that undid the club from within.
However, Pederson is adamant that picking Hurts wasn't done to undercut Wentz, but because in the NFL you're always looking for quarterbacks, especially in the case of a franchise that's lone Super Bowl victory was led by a backup QB.
"You know, 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, cause 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."
Hurts' talent is likely to be looked on to lead the Eagles into their new era under first-year head coach Nick Sirianni. Major work will have to be done for the franchise to rebuild from last year's last-place finish in the NFC East. It was a season of calamity for the Eagles in which drama was prevalent, wins were seldom and the obstacles piled up.
Injury woes from seasons past continued and Wentz' play dropped drastically. It was a freefall in Pederson's eyes, but one he was hoping to pilot the franchise out from. That chance wasn't afforded him, however. Wentz has been shipped off to Indianapolis and Pederson is walking the earth looking for a new opportunity instead of walking the Philly sideline.
"And really 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. And it's just unfortunate for me because I was hoping to really have an opportunity to fix the issues that we had and kind of get everything back on track — whether it was going to be this year or the next year. And, obviously, that didn't happen. I don't spend a lot of time thinking about the ifs, ands, and buts. I just focus on the future and look forward to that."
In retrospect it's almost staggering to see how the Eagles fell from the pinnacle of winning a Super Bowl in the 2017 season to essentially starting anew in 2021.
Pederson is looking for a fresh start just the same and reiterated his aspirations to coach again, bolstered by the experience of being the only head coach to lead the Eagles to a Super Bowl victory, but set on looking forward and not back.
"Obviously my goal in my hiring in 2016 was to hopefully bring a championship to Philadelphia and we accomplished that in our second year there," Pederson said. "So, I look back on my time and there were a lot of positives I take from it. But I'm not going to dwell too much on the past. I'm gonna learn from it, obviously, and hopefully if I get an opportunity to coach again, which I hope I can do, I'll take the good with me. "