Keyshawn Johnson criticized Philadelphia Eagles fans for wanting backup quarterback Gardner Minshew to play over starting quarterback Jalen Hurts.
When Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew was traded away to the Philadelphia Eagles in favor of Trevor Lawrence, it seemed the Jaguars were all too ready to give up on a quarterback who had proven his potential on the struggling franchise.
In 2019, Minshew Mania was all the rage in Duval, where Minshew stepped up as the backup quarterback and brought the Jaguars six wins in the season. A losing record, but one that still stands better than the 2-10 position the Jaguars currently face with Lawrence.
It seems that memory is short in Jacksonville and Philadelphia, where, after a dazzling return to the field, Minshew Mania has now resurfaced in Pennsylvania. Minshew took the field to play for an injured Jalen Hurts, bringing the Eagles a commanding 33-18 win and successive scores on their first seven drives. Minshew had a lean 20/25 completions for 242 yards and two touchdowns.
The resurgence makes the case that Minshew is too talented to remain a backup quarterback, and many Eagles fans believe he should be the one replacing Hurts as the Eagles claw for a coveted playoff spot.
ESPN analyst Keyshawn Johnson reminded Eagles fans of their distinct pattern of behavior: somehow, Eagles fans always seem to be calling for the backup quarterback to replace the starter.
ESPN analyst Keyshawn Johnson calls out Eagles fans for giving up on Jalen Hurts too easily
Here’s the message Johnson, a former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver, directed at Eagles fans, per NBC Sports Philadelphia:
“What I would say about Philadelphia is, the backup quarterback is always the favorite in Philadelphia. I can go back as far as I remember from my time just playing in the league alone. Whether it’s Koy Detmer, whether it’s Kevin Kolb, whether it’s Michael Vick, whether it’s Nick Foles, whether it’s Jeff Garcia, I can just go on and on and on about the backup quarterback in Philadelphia. They have this, I don’t know, this lust for backup quarterbacks in Philadelphia. One or two wins, ‘Get him out! Sports talk radio, early in the morning, get him out!’ Like man, just let Jalen Hurts continue to develop. Gardner Minshew was not brought there to challenge Jalen Hurts as the starting quarterback. Stop it. … One of the things the Philadelphia Eagles fanbase, and I’m involving their sports media in this fanbase, they’ve got to realize: you don’t start messing with the quarterback. You don’t start putting doubt in his mind by hot takes. You’re not helping the situation at all.”
Johnson has plenty of examples to make his case for an unfair preference for backup quarterbacks, but perhaps there’s a positive to rooting for the underdog.
Eagles fans believed in Nick Foles, who brought the team their only Super Bowl thus far back in 2017. Unlike many NFL analysts who may dismiss late-round draft picks and undrafted free agents, Philadelphia believes the best man should win the starting job.
While now may not be the time to call for Hurts to be benched, the egalitarian idea that the best player should take the field might make the city of the Liberty Bell more meritocratic than other NFL fanbases. Either that, or Eagles fans are quick to root for replacements at the first sign of difficulty.