Carson Wentz can still be ‘exceptional’: Eagles’ Doug Pederson

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The Eagles have a massive mess on their hands with the benching of franchise quarterback Carson Wentz, whose $128 million contract extension doesn’t kick in until next year.

But Doug Pederson is trying to keep Wentz’s confidence up in the wake of turning to second-round rookie Jalen Hurts for Sunday’s game against the Saints.

“I think Carson Wentz can be an exceptional quarterback in this league. He’s proven that,” Pederson told reporters Tuesday. “We’ve got to continue to battle, fight and work. … Just get back to being Carson Wentz and back on track. That’s my focus with him, to just get him back to the level of play that we all know that he has shown us and that he is capable of doing.”

Wentz, 27, has a league-high 15 interceptions along with 16 touchdowns and 2,620 yards in 12 games. He was benched for Hurts during Sunday’s loss to the Packers, which dropped the Eagles to 3-8-1.

Eagles Carson Wentz Doug Pederson Jalen Hurts
Doug Pederson and Carson Wentz.
Getty Images

Wentz has flashed MVP potential but his future is incredibly murky as the Eagles have struggled even in the weak NFC East. The mess has Pederson on the hot seat just three years removed from leading Philadelphia to its first Super Bowl title.

As for Hurts, Pederson says he just wants him to be himself.

“Just go out there this week and obviously take control of the huddle…and just lead, lead the way he knows how,” the coach said.