Doug Pederson disagrees with the belief that his relationship with Carson Wentz disintegrated to an irreconcilable level last season, prompting both exits from Philadelphia.
“I do believe that there’s a little misnomer out there that Carson and I were on such bad terms, and I’ve never felt that way,” Pederson said told the “Takeoff with John Clark” podcast.
Speaking for the first time since being fired by Philly, Pederson said he understands why Wentz was frustrated with being benched in favor of Jalen Hurts late in the season, with the playoffs still in reach, but doesn’t believe it led to a strained relationship.
“I understand where Carson’s coming from because it’s difficult,” Pederson said, via NBC Sports Philadelphia. “When you’re the starter and things like this happen and you basically get benched. Our season wasn’t going the way we wanted it to go and it’s difficult. It’s difficult for any player to go through that. … You’ve got to have the conversations, you’ve got to have the open-door policy, and you’ve got to communicate, and felt like we did that.
“I’ve always felt like I was going to do the right thing for the Philadelphia Eagles, but yet I understand what he was feeling and what he was going through. I know there was frustration there.”
Wentz was clearly frustrated with Pederson’s decision to play Hurts, but his discontent with the Eagles spread further than the former coach; otherwise, the QB’s dissatisfaction would have dissipated once Pederson was fired. Wentz’s issues with Philly went back further to the drafting of Hurts.
Pederson, who said he plans to sit out the 2021 season before possibly getting back into coaching next season, believes Wentz can recapture his 2017 form following the trade to Indianapolis, which becomes official today.
“I still have a lot of respect (for Wentz) and we drafted him five years ago to be the guy and I’m excited to see what he does with the Colts now,” Pederson said. “And he has a fresh start too. I think that’s something that players go through in their careers. … I know that’s what he’s looking forward to and I’m excited to watch his career moving forward.”
Pederson added that he believes Hurts can also thrive for the Eagles.
“A lot like Carson, he’s got such a great leadership style,” Pederson said. “Guys really gravitate to him. His work ethic is second to none. I think the coaching staff can, if they’re patient with him, can really teach and dial things in for him and really tailor the offense around his skill set.
“He’s going to have success. He’s a proven winner. He’s been a proven winner obviously in college at a couple of places he’s been. I know he can do that in the National Football League. He’s young but yet he’s eager. He’s going to outwork everybody on the football team. That’s just who he is.”
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