When the Philadelphia Eagles drafted Jalen Hurts, back in 2020, I questioned who was going to teach this kid how to play in the NFL. When he played at Oklahoma – he was good but never caught my eye as being a potentially great NFL quarterback. And if we’re being completely honest he has always had a problem with making some really boneheaded throws. His ability to throw an interception is high, and he finished the 2021 season with 9 with an interception rate of 2.1%. He often has a problem with throwing the ball to his first option even if they’re covered or double-covered. That was one of the problems I had with him coming out of Oklahoma, as well as when he played in Alabama previously. Philly knew there were many flaws in his game but they still rolled the dice on him, they seemed to fall in love with the “mobile athletic QB build” that has worked for other teams. I just don’t think they got the QB part right in him.
When Jalen is heavily pressured he often gets the “deer in headlights” look, showing to have a lot of problems reading the field and where to go with the ball. In 19 games he has completed 59% or less of his passes in 11 of those games, he has really struggled to throw an accurate ball. Now granted, he doesn’t have great wide receivers – they blew it on their pick for Jalen Reagor – and JJ Arcega-Whiteside really still hasn’t panned out from what they were hoping he would be. Only recently getting DeVonta Smith in the 2021 draft – with any potential to be an NFL caliber WR. So that can be taken into consideration as well to be an X-factor.
Jalen can extend plays with his feet as his 139 rushing attempts led the team verifies – but he lacks any kind of aggressiveness throwing the ball. He falls into predetermined throws on almost every play, going to his first read almost immediately. This trait unfortunately is often a problem with QBs who love to use their feet, they tend to not develop division to go through the reads, and immediately rely on their feet, when they need to move the ball downfield. He showed promise during a short stretch in 2021, but overall, Hurts has been average, at best. And games where he throws the ball 30 times or more – the Eagles have struggled terribly, winning just 2 of those 7 games. They aren’t winning games because of Jalen Hurts – he simply isn’t the reason when they win.
The Eagles cannot win consistently if they can’t have a good consistent QB. In the time and age of the QB that we are in – it is starting to become more and more obvious that a team has to have a “better than average” QB to win games, not just the “running QB prototype.” If we look at the final 4 QBs going in the playoffs, none of them are “running QBs.” I think the Eagles have wasted their time with Jalen Hurts.
It was pretty obvious that the Eagles can’t pass the ball, and they haven’t even attempted to pretend they are going to pass it at times. Jalen hasn’t shown an ability to read a defense and make key passes, but he does have, finally, a receiver in DeVonta Smith that can make a play. Maybe they should work him far more into the offense and get him more than 6 targets a game. Philadelphia has to at least try to pass the ball, far more than what they did in 2021 – and if the passing game isn’t working, then the coaching staff needs to adjust. Not just say “Jalen run it” because a QB running the ball more puts your QB into more dangerous situations, and it is simply not the most efficient way to move the ball downfield. There is no excuse a team’s QB should be leading the team in rushing attempts. A multidimensional team is far more entirely dangerous then a one dimensional team, we all could agree on that. When everybody in the stadium knows that you’re running the ball or that your QB is probably running to the edge – it makes you that much easier to defend.
They have done a lot more this year than what was expected of them. I think most people weren’t expecting any more than 5-6 wins – for them to get 9 wins and make the playoffs was a very pleasant surprise for Eagles fans. So for them to keep the momentum, they seem to be a couple tweaks away from giving the Dallas Cowboys more of a run for the division. The Eagles have to make a big decision. If Hurts isn’t the answer, then who is? I don’t see an easy answer out there. If they are going to stay strong with him, then they need to try and get another decent WR and the Eagles can get their young QB more help. He doesn’t seem to be a guy who can make something happen with subpar players like a great QB can – I think he needs better talent to throw the ball to.