Some would argue that Jalen Hurts’ first full season as the Eagles’ starting quarterback was a success, given that they went 9-8 and made the NFC playoffs as a wild card team. Some would also argue that Hurts did well as a young leader and a skilled running back, but he continues to raise big questions about whether he’s the long-term answer in Philly.
Hurts was humiliated by the defending Super Bowl champion Buccaneers in his professional playoff debut on Sunday. Tampa Bay’s defense didn’t let him and the Eagles’ offense out the door until late in the Bucs’ dominant 31-15 win.
Hurts was out with his shooting (23 of 43 passes, 258 yards, one TD, two INTs, 6.0 yards per attempt, 60.0 grade) and contained running back (eight carries, 39 yards). He faced good pressure at times, but other times he was imprecise on intermediate and deep passes. He also kept up his inconsistent connection with the Eagles’ wide receivers from the regular season.
When the Eagles decided to trade Carson Wentz and make Hurts the first quarterback for offensive-minded rookie coach Nick Sirianni, they weren’t anointing a worthy successor. The move was more about getting a free extended look at Hurts as a second-round pick in the sophomore draft. He came in with the advantage of a cheap, solid quarterback.
Sirianni and her staff adapted well. Philadelphia became the most prolific running team in the league, taking advantage of Hurts’ top-tier running skills to support a traditional committee of Miles Sanders, Boston Scott, Jordan Howard and rookie Kenneth Gainwell. That game plan was facilitated by the Eagles’ defense taking advantage of lesser opponents on the team’s schedule so there could be a consistently positive game script.
The Eagles weren’t well positioned to win games with Hurts passing at high volume to get past top QBs. Although he is a playmaker in a sense, he was treated like a caretaker.
Did the Eagles see enough this season to move on from Hurts? Are you hoping for a big jump in year 3? Or were there enough concerns about Hurts in his most recent game to consider a trade?
The truth is, Philadelphia already had an intriguing contingency for Hurts when they added former Jaguars starter Gardner MInshew, who appeared in his only significant replacement start, a Week 14 win over the Jets. They should think more about giving Hurts a real battle for the job.
The Eagles will pick No. 19 overall in the 2022 draft after his wild-card loss. They also have the 15th and 16th picks in the first round of trades with the Colts and Dolphins, respectively.
There are no unerringly high first-round quarterbacks this April, but there are enough potential mid-first-round quarterbacks that the Eagles can’t rule out using one of those three picks on the most intriguing quarterback for the system. by Sirianni and Shane. Steichen.
Hurts took over at a difficult time. Even as a developing green passer, he showed great maturity and pushed above his talented ground. But your ceiling feels lower now that you’ve provided ample sample size.
The Eagles needed a stable presence after Wentz, and Hurts appeared in that capacity. The team also has the luxury of not having invested heavily in it yet, so it should want to expand its options.
From what Philadelphia saw in the biggest game of Hurts’ young career, they can’t commit to him without first bringing competition.