With reports that Jalen Hurts will get increased playing time over Carson Wentz in the Eagles’ game tonight against the Seattle Seahawks, Philadelphia now has itself a full-blown quarterback controversy. But while significant enough on its own, this QB instability for the Eagles is part of a greater picture of chaos for the NFC East at the most important position on the field.
Injuries and performance issues at quarterback have arguably shaped the current division standings and the eventual outcome of the race more than COVID-19, coaches, or any other factors. The two projected frontrunners, Dallas and Philadelphia, have fallen this year due to the absence (Dak Prescott) or regression (Carson Wentz) of their starting QBs.
Jalen Hurts has been getting first team reps at quarterback in front of Monday’s game against the Seattle Seahawks, according to sources.
ICYMI: The #Eagles will feature QB Jalen Hurts more tonight than we’ve seen him, as the rookie is set for increased snaps with Carson Wentz off the field: https://t.co/QqFNeRlGV2
Dak’s injury and Wentz’s decline opened the door for New York or Washington to cruise to a division title. And while they are currently the top two teams in the division, their matching 4-7 records are hardly what I’d call “cruising.” They could still easily be overtaken by the Cowboys or Eagles by the end of the year.
The Giants have plenty of issues but Daniel Jones’ lack of progress in his second year is a big one. Now he’s picked up a hamstring injury that could force him to miss multiple games and forces New York to turn to veteran journeyman Colt McCoy.
Washington started the year with instability as Dwayne Haskins went 1-3 and then replaced him with an equally ineffective Kyle Allen. But now the Football Team seems to have found something with the return of Alex Smith and are poised to take the division as the rest of their rivals crumble around them.
It’s hard as Cowboys fans to see how winnable the NFC East is in 2020, arguably the easiest it’s ever been, and still feel so far out of it. And while some will point out that Dallas was only 1-3 before Dak Prescott went down, there’s no denying that Dak would have made the Cowboys far more competitive since Week 5 than they’ve been.
Maybe he wouldn’t have made enough of a difference in some games, but what if Dak had played instead of Ben DiNucci in Week 8? Or how about in the near upset of the Steelers? Or even this past Thursday?
The Cowboys would likely be the current NFC East leaders, even with just four or five wins, if they’d had their starting QB all year. And the same goes for the Eagles; Wentz has been playing but has been a shell of his former self.
These shaky QB situations in Dallas, New York, and Philadelphia probably aren’t getting better anytime soon. Andy Dalton’s improved but could fall apart again now that Zack Martin may be absent for a few games. And there’s no telling what tonight’s events could mean for the Eagles on the field and in the locker room.
Sure, it’s no great leap to say that quarterback play has a huge impact on a football team. But it’s been the greater and more dramatic part of the NFC East narrative in 2020 than most years, and it looks like it may push the Washington Football Team to their first division title since 2015.