Hurts to start again for Eagles next Sunday at Arizona

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Philadelphia Eagles’ Jalen Hurts passes during the first half of an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints, Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Jalen Hurts earned another start.

The rookie quarterback will be behind center when the Philadelphia Eagles (4-8-1) visit the Arizona Cardinals (6-6) on Sunday.

Hurts led the Eagles to a 24-21 upset over the New Orleans Saints (10-3) in his first career start after replacing Carson Wentz.

“Jalen played well. He was a big part of the success we had on offense and obviously helping us win that football game,” Eagles coach Doug Pederson said Monday.

Hurts ran for 106 yards and threw for 167 and one touchdown as Philadelphia snapped New Orleans’ nine-game winning streak and ended its own four-game slide.

The Eagles racked up 413 total yards against the league’s top-ranked defense. Miles Sanders had 115 yards rushing, including 82 on a TD run. The Saints hadn’t allowed a 100-yard rusher in the previous 55 games before Hurts and Sanders each reached that mark.

Hurts wasn’t sacked, the first time Philadelphia’s depleted offensive line didn’t allow one this season. Wentz has been sacked 50 times.

“One of the things that Jalen did well when he was out of the pocket and there was nowhere to run or nowhere to throw is that he threw the ball away and that helps your offensive line,” Pederson said. “It doesn’t put you in a bad situation. Doesn’t put you in a second-and-long situation or third-and-long situation. I think that looking at the offensive line, really, across the board, they all played extremely well.”

Wentz’s $128 million, four-year contract extension signed in June 2019 kicks in next season. He was struggling through the worst season of his five-year career before Pederson benched him in the second half of last week’s loss at Green Bay.

The Eagles face a major decison because Wentz’s deal contained a then-NFL record $107.9 million in guaranteed money, including $66 million guaranteed at signing. Wentz’s salary cap amount next year is $34.7 million. The team would incur a significant cap hit by releasing him or trading him so their best option would be to figure out a way to have him regain his old form.

“Carson and I, our relationship’s great,” Pederson said. “We’ve had great communication. I just look at this year and the amount of adversity that we’ve faced and played with all season and trying to make things work.

“But there’s no issue with Carson and I. I look at maybe what I do or how I call a game, maybe I can approach it a little bit differently moving forward that way. … Listen, teams have a lot of film on your starter. They have ways to prepare for your starter. They can take away certain things and we’ve got to be able to compensate for that. But there’s been no issue between us.”

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