Deep Dive: Jalen Hurts is developing right before our eyes, credits relationship with Hall of Fame QB for midseason progression
It took them half the season, but the Eagles have finally established an identity on offense.
For much of the summer, Sirianni and his coaching staff preached about putting their skill players in the best positions to succeed. Throughout the first seven weeks of the season, they did the exact opposite.
Prior to Week 8, Jalen Hurts had averaged over 34 pass attempts per game. He accounted for 85% of the offense as the team put too much responsibility on their first-year starter. In addition, Miles Sanders was hardly featured in the offense — there was a three-week stretch where he had only carried the ball a combined 20 times.
Granted, Philadelphia was playing from behind for most of those games — but asking Hurts to produce without a rushing threat to keep defenses honest isn’t a recipe for success.
Ironically enough, Sirianni switched up the playbook when Sanders went down with an ankle sprain. The Eagles brought up Jordan Howard from the practice squad — who arguably should’ve never been there in the first place — and Jalen Hurts has been a direct beneficiary.
Jordan Howard rushing ranks in Weeks 8-10:— Matt Martellucci (@mattlucci12) November 16, 2021
211 rushing yards (5th)
3 touchdowns (T-3rd)
3.51 YAC/attempt (6th)
78.7 PFF rushing grade (T-6th)
80.7 PFF offensive grade (5th)#FlyEaglesFly pic.twitter.com/9Zzd5cqVXy
Over the last three weeks, Hurts has only thrown the ball 54 total times while the team is averaging over 40 rushing attempts per game:
Rushing yards per game since Week 8:
- Eagles: 208.7
- Patriots: 159.0
- Colts: 156.7
- Ravens: 152.0
This gameplan has allowed Hurts to become more decisive as a passer and continue to make opposing defenses pay with his legs, especially while under pressure:
Jalen Hurts against the blitz vs. Denver
- 92 yards
- 1 TD
- 1 INT
- 31 rushing yards
- 93.4 passer rating
While addressing the media Wednesday afternoon, Jalen Hurts mentioned his relationship with the Manning family and how Peyton has helped him improve as a player this season:
Jalen Hurts says he’s maintained a relationship with Peyton Manning since going to the Manning QB camp in high school. Manning sends him cut-ups that illustrate important details of playing the position, he said. pic.twitter.com/9EWlTxJATZ— Les Bowen (@LesBowen) November 17, 2021
With Miles Sanders due to return as soon as this Sunday, Sirianni will have four players all averaging over 4.8 yards/attempt at his disposal:
- Jalen Hurts: 5.6 yards/carry
- Jordan Howard: 5.1 yards/carry
- Boston Scott: 5.1 yards/carry
- Miles Sanders: 4.8 yards/carry
The Eagles currently lead the league in rushing first-downs with 94 and, as a result, have become very efficient in running play-action.
ESPN’s Dan Orlovsky recently spoke glowingly of Hurts as well, stating that he’s afforded himself another year in Philadelphia:
.@danorlovsky7 says Jalen Hurts has bought himself some time in Philly 🦅— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) November 17, 2021
“Jalen Hurts is the guy, AT LEAST, next year for the Philadelphia Eagles. … I think the young man has proven he’s at least in the conversation for being the guy, right?” pic.twitter.com/BSOaMuLOaN
Whether or not this type of offense is sustainable is another conversation — but for now, it’s working and has Jalen Hurts developing within his comfort zone.
Nick Sirianni deserves a lot of credit for making the necessary adjustments and turning this ship around. With five of their remaining seven games against teams under .500, the Eagles aren’t out of the playoff race just yet.
Jalen Hurts in the red zone this season:— Victor Williams (@ThePhillyPod) November 16, 2021
• 10 passing TDs
• 5 rushing TDs
• 0 INTs
• 113.9 passer rating
• Only sacked once pic.twitter.com/Cl0L1GA7lK