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Joe Banner is back to his old tricks again. In his weekly Q&A with Inquirer columnist E.J. Smith, Banner, the former President of the Eagles from 2001-12 made sure to take an opportunity to be as negative as possible about Jalen Hurts. When asked to grade him he gave him the insulting mark of “Incomplete.”
According to Joe Banner you still can’t tell whether or not Jalen Hurts is good enough to be the starting quarterback.
On the season, Hurts has completed 61% of his passes for 3,144 yards, 16 touchdowns, and nine interceptions. On the ground, he’s rushed the ball 139 times for 784 yards and 10 touchdowns.
So what exactly is Banner’s issue with Jalen Hurts this week? What could possibly be the problem with a 23-year old second year starter that has led his team to the playoffs?
EJ: What areas do you think the team has the most ground to make up?
JB: I still worry a lot about the defense both from a coaching and talent perspective. We saw progress on offense, but there’s still things that Jalen Hurts needs to be able to do that he hasn’t even had to do yet. It’s not a negative or a positive evaluation, it’s just incomplete. You don’t want to overvalue any games, so he could go into a playoff game and do really well or really poorly. Whatever happens, for me, the season is kind of done in terms of being able to evaluate that and learn what you can.
What an absolutely insulting shrug of an answer. Only a complete clown or someone with an agenda would call Hurt’s season “incomplete.” He’s punting on the answer because he wants to be negative.
Joe Banner has decided to lean into the role of naysayer ever since the Eagles started winning this year. Particularly he has been trying to downplay any success Jalen Hurts has had. In one of his earlier Q&A’s following the loss to the Chargers:
“Believe me, all the stats about running and passing and getting early leads, they know. We did it when I was there, we left it behind. You can watch the way they play the game and how they built the team. Their preference is to play with the philosophy that I’m describing. The fact that they’re not does tell us that, at this moment in time, they’re trying to manage how much they’re putting on Hurts’ plate.”
There’s something particularly gross about the way he minimizes the success of Jalen Hurts.
We all know why: It’s playing into the age old trope that black quarterbacks either can’t or won’t succeed running pass heavy offenses. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, go ask your most problematic uncle, he’ll fill you in. Just be advised you’ll have to talk to him about cancel culture for a while. So have fun with that.
Now to be clear, I am not saying that Joe Banner is a racist. That’s for the angry mob I’ve decided to whip into a frenzy today to decide. I will say that he’s saying stuff that sounds racist. Stuff that will be used as ammo by racists to try to tear down whatever success Jalen Hurts has. But why?
Because he wants the Eagles to throw the ball more. It’s that simple. He honestly believes running the football is bad. And he’s so committed to that take that he’s willing to say anything.
Later in the interview from this week he talks about the types of coverages and schemes Hurts has encountered.
“They see that the good things are exciting. They see how the team has turned around and responded. They also know he hasn’t really had to play against a top press defense. He hasn’t completed a lot of tight throws — I’m not saying he hasn’t completed any. He hasn’t played against enough variety of defenses that could be challenging depending on what you think his strengths and weaknesses are.”
How many “top press defenses” are there in the league? Two or three? What’s the criteria Joe is using here to define them as such? As for the “enough variety of defenses” part of the answer, I have no idea what other defenses Joe would like to see Hurts compete against to have earned a grade. Does he want to see him defeat the 85 Bears? Or maybe go take on the 01 Ravens?
Jalen Hurts can only play the hand he’s dealt, and so far he’s done a great job. Considering his experience, age, and projections on the season (not including those of the prophets at The Wolves of Broad Street podcast) Hurts has easily earned an “A”. Whether Joe Banner likes it or not.
Mandatory Credit: GEOFF BURKE/USA TODAY SPORTS