Eagles fans need to be patient with Jalen Hurts
At the mid-way point of the third quarter in yesterday’s loss to the Green Bay Packers, Jalen Hurts replaced Carson Wentz at quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles. The move by Doug Pederson gave the Eagles what seemed to be a much needed spark on the offensive side of the ball. Jalen Hurts provided a level of mobility that has been missing from Carson Wentz’s game this season. Jalen Reagor was also a key part of that “spark” with a punt return touchdown to cut the lead to seven late in the fourth quarter.
Of course, Twitter absolutely exploded. Fans were ready to hand Hurts keys to the city and offered to help Carson Wentz pack his bags. More than half of the internet seemed ready to hand over the Eagles quarterback position to Jalen Hurts after his first career touchdown pass.
Was Hurts somewhat impressive during his first few series? Absolutely. Eagles fans do however, need to pump the breaks a little bit. Through a quarter and a half of play, the numbers certainly don’t look as good as the film showed. Hurts finished the game throwing 5 of 12 passes with a touchdown and an interception.
Jalen Hurts impressed with his mobility but was still sacked three times by the Packers defense. He found Greg Ward on the run for a 32-yard touchdown to bring Philadelphia back into the game. He was also able to hit Jalen Reagor in stride on a perfectly placed ball for 34 yards. The talent to play at an NFL level seems to be there, however playing 26 snaps against simply isn’t enough to determine whether he is the Eagles’ quarterback of the future.
As history shows, many highly touted rookie quarterbacks have followed the same path.
Johnny Manziel: Replaced Brian Hoyer in the 4th quarter, threw 5/8 and had a 10-yard rushing touchdown. Next week threw 10/18 with 2 interceptions in a 30-0 loss.
EJ Manuel: Threw 18/27 with 2 touchdowns in a close loss to the New England Patriots, he was benched early next season.
Brock Osweiler: Replaced Peyton Manning and threw 20/27 and 2 touchdowns in a win over the Chicago Bears. Brock was signed by Houston that offseason to one of the worst NFL contracts ever.
I’m definitely not saying that Hurts is comparable to any of those quarterbacks. At the end of the day, I want what’s best for the Philadelphia Eagles and hope Hurts succeeds any time he steps foot on the field. I will go down any path needed regardless of who’s behind center if that means we can win another Super Bowl. We do however, need to pump the breaks on the Jalen Hurts “franchise quarterback” talk.
Defenses will begin to adjust to any quarterback’s style of play. Good quarterbacks are able to take these changes head-on and grow and and continue to get better. We don’t know that yet about Hurts, for better or for worse. The lack of a preseason has made things even more difficult for Hurts to learn and develop.
It is very likely Jalen Hurts will be starting these remaining 4 games so there will be a lot of film to evaluate. I would reserve any initial judgements until after Arizona or even Dallas. Many of the names listed above and countless more looked like the real deal after only a short time. This isn’t a decision that can be made off of 12 throws or even two games.
Eagles fans have been very eager to pull the plug on Carson Wentz and I would advise them to tread lightly on making any decisions this year. Coaching has been a big issue this season and has hurt Carson Wentz tremendously. It wouldn’t shock me if it does the same for Hurts.
We know what we have at quarterback with Carson Wentz. We have seen him at his best and this year, we are seeing him at his worst. Jalen Hurts is exciting, mobile, and has ton of potential. I’m just not ready to hand over the reigns to a quarterback based on one or two good series under center.
Mandatory Credit: Dylan Buell Getty Images