Will Jalen Hurts be the long-term starter for the Eagles?
Three weeks before the Eagles loss to Washington in Week 17 analysts, pundits and fans everywhere were singing Jalen Hurts’ praises coming off a debut win against what was arguably the best defense in the league in New Orleans. However, now people are questioning whether Philadelphia should turn the reigns back over to Carson Wentz for the 2021 season.
Frankly, I never liked the Eagles drafting Jalen Hurts. I thought he was a nice prospect, but it was a waste of a pick for a team who I believed had an elite quarterback and were play-off bound. Nonetheless, Carson Wentz’s play this season made drafting a quarterback look like a wise move, that does not however mean Jalen Hurts has played well. It is instead the ultimate indictment on Wentz’s level of play this season, as while some people were sold from game one of Hurts’ career I was not. He got the win but is numbers were far from appealing: 167 yards on 56.7% completions and a 59.9 QBR, and it’s fair to say they haven’t been much better in his other 3 starts:
WIN Vs Saints, 17/30, 167 yards, 56.7%, TD, 57.7 QBR, 18 rushes for 106 yards, 1 fumble
LOSS Vs Cardinals, 24/44, 338 yards, 54.5%, 3 TD, 60.5 QBR, 11 rushes, 63 yards, TD, 2 fumbles
LOSS Vs Cowboys, 21/39, 342 yards, 53.8%, 1 TD, 2 INT, 19.3 QBR 9 rushes, 69 yards, 3 fumbles
LOSS Vs Washington, 7/20, 72 Yards, 35%, 1 INT, 44.5 QBR 8 rushes, 34 yards, 2 TDs
Hurts also has 6 fumbles, 2 of which he lost across those 4 starts and an average QBR of 41.2 which places him behind Drew Lock, Nick Mullens and Nick Foles, none of whos praises anyone is singing.
Further, the situational stats highlight a glaringly obviously problem for the rookie quarterback. Whilst no one has denied that he is not a one-read then take off kind of quarterback at this stage of his development, that style of play is not hard for defenses to adjust to, especially good ones. Which is why his stats would indicate that he is nice young game managing quarterback in the first half of games but an absolute bust in the second half:
39/66, 59.1%, 555 yards, 8.4 YPA, 5 TD, 1 INT, 3 sacks, 105.3 rating
7/11 3rd downs
2/2 4th downs
17 points, 20 points, 17 points, 14 points = 68 points
38/82, 46.3%, 506 yards, 6.2 YPA, 1 TD, 3 INT, 10 sacks, 55.2 rating
9/23 3rd downs
3/5 4th downs
7 points, 6 points, 0 points, 0 points = 13 points
Yet despite his level of play, his teammates love him, on and off the field:
“His confidence level is through the roof, and that’s what I really like about him, especially being a rookie quarterback in the NFL…. We really don’t know what’s going through his head, but he doesn’t really show any weaknesses. I love his confidence, his command in the huddle, and I’m excited to see him play, honestly.” - Miles Sanders
“From Day 1, since Jalen’s stepped in the building, he’s brought this type of swagger… He’s always had a confidence, and you could tell as soon as he walked in, the man had confidence and he’s always had confidence” – Jordan Mailata
“You can’t even tell Jalen’s a rookie,” – Jack Driscoll
“He has all the intangibles “He’s got great confidence in himself first and foremost which breeds off into other guys.” – Jason Kelce, Team Captain.
“But I think he’s really smart. Just from the questions he asked me, he wants to figure things out. He’s very curious as to what’s happening each week. He’s accountable. If he gets an opportunity, he’d be ready.” – Jason Kelce, Team Captain
“I think he works extremely hard, and that’s a credit to him. Something that you can’t teach or coach. It’s just in you, that hard work and work ethic that he displays on on a consistent basis.” – Rodney McLeod
“Natural Leader” – Greg Ward
Therefore, Hurts’ natural leadership cannot be ignored when determining who is the better quarterback to go forward with. Especially when comments such as those have rarely been echoed about the previous franchise quarterback Carson Wentz.
Overall, Hurts’ reminds me of Dak Prescott, they both have a very similar build and play style when they entered the league, and both have this natural ability to lead men. Further, Dak was not the best thrower of the football when he entered the league but has developed that part of his game to the extent he threw for just under 5,000 yards last season and was averaging 371.2 per game this year before he got injured.
The likely outcome of this starting quarterback conundrum is in my opinion that Jalen Hurts wins the starting job by default. This is because that the Eagles should and will move on from both Head Coach Doug Pederson and General Manager Howie Roseman after the actions taken in the fourth quarter in their Week 17 game against the Giants as not only have, they arguably disrespected the game we love but have also lost the confidence and respect amongst the players in the locker room and the fans. Therefore, I expect Philadelphia to bring in a new General Manager and Head Coach who will naturally make the starting quarterback position a competition between Hurts and Wentz, further, with reports that Wentz is “not interested” in being a backup and wants out if he is not the starter, one would imagine that he wouldn’t be very happy with an open competition either. Therefore, I expect Wentz to be traded and Philadelphia to either move forward with Hurts or look to the draft in the hope Fields or Wilson falls to 6th overall.
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