Philadelphia Eagles coach says Jalen Hurts is ‘relentless’ in pursuit of QB job
The Philadelphia Eagles have been stingy in their praise for sophomore quarterback Jalen Hurts for much of the offseason, but new head coach Nick Sirianni is finally giving the appellant some props.
Shortly after Sirianni suggested that Hurts would be entrenched in a QB competition with none other than Joe Flacco, the coach took on a whole different tone following the performance of the young field general throughout the team’s organized activities, according to Chris Franklin of NJ.com:
“He’s a hard worker. […] I just saw him come in and take command of the offensive and I was there. When you ask him a question, he’s on it. […] He just has a very compact throwing motion where he can take it out easily. He is super athletic and [can] throw running while moving and reading defense. I was really happy with a lot of the things he did.
Philadelphia Eagles coach Nick Sirianni on QB Jalen Hurts
Hurts came into action as a second-round rookie pick in 2020 after Carson Wentz regressed so powerfully the Eagles had no choice but to put him on the bench.
Behind a broken offensive line and a disinterested coach in Doug Pederson did not help the cause. Nor the fact that the organization fell into complete dysfunction in the middle of the season.
Sirianni didn’t really blow the doors down during his opening press conference. It may have been the worst in NFL history. Hopefully he’s a better coach than a speaker – for Hurts sake and for everyone in Philadelphia, because if Sirianni fails as badly as he did in his presser, Eagles fans will be a bunch of angry birds.
But credits Sirianni: he at least seems to have the common sense and the clarity of thought to realize that he should probably try to rally with Hurts. This is one of the first things he has done since taking over as Iggles coach which offers a glimmer of hope for the 2021 season.
Philadelphia Eagles rightly back Jalen Hurts after setting him up for failure in 2020
Jalen Hurts’ stats in 2020 weren’t pretty from a shooting standpoint: 77 for 148 (52% completion rate), 1,061 passing yards, six touchdowns, four interceptions and a 77 rating, 6 couriers.
Aside from Hurts’ impressive 354 rushing yards at the moment, let’s take a little more in-depth look at the background to those passing numbers, shall we?
What the Eagles were asking of Hurts was essentially impossible. For all the blame Wentz receives for his poor play, he had a questionable array of pass catchers around him. Even a worldwide performance by Hurts wouldn’t have increased that supporting cast.
Also consider these numbers: Per Next Gen Stats, Average damage of 9.5 planned aerial work sites ranked second among qualified couriers. His aggressive throwing percentage (14.2%) was just behind Baker Mayfield (13.8%), who played in a strong running Cleveland Browns that relied heavily on play passes for easier throws.
Bottom line: Hurts was in no rush, but he was still asked to broadcast it regularly on the pitch – again, under greater strain, with several starters missing from his offensive line – to a questionable group of wide receivers.
Pro Football Focus has just ranked the The Eagles 30th receiving corps of 32 NFL teams enter the 2021 campaign. with the addition of Heisman Trophy and top 10 draft winner DeVonta Smith, Hurts varsity teammate for a time.
Jalen Hurts has athleticism and intangibles to gain with the Philadelphia Eagles
So Sirianni praised the mechanics of Hurts, kicking the movement and IQ of football into OTAs. There is little reason to hype at this early stage of the offseason schedule, so the fact that Sirianni bodes well for Hurts’ job security in 2021.
Even though Hurts is billed as QB1, keep in mind that Philadelphia isn’t necessarily committed to him for the long haul. With a few trades ahead of this year’s NFL Draft, the Eagles have three first-round picks in 2022. They can control their own destiny if Hurts falls short.
Anyone should know that Hurts should not be counted, even if the situation in Philly looks rather bleak. He was benched for Tua Tagovailoa in the national title game in Alabama and made giant strides as a passer the following season.
Once it was clear that the Crimson Tide were committed to Tagovailoa as a starter, Hurts was transferred to Oklahoma. Having to adapt immediately to the new power schedule, very high playoff expectations and serving as a reminder of No.1 draft picks at Mayfield and Kyler Murray, Hurts thrived under the pressure.
All of this prepared Hurts for Wentz’s side show starting in 2020. Now the Indianapolis Colts are tasked with reviving Wentz’s career, and the Eagles can see what they’ve got when they do. in fact commit to Hurts.
Again, kudos to Sirianni for making a bit of a course correction, at least in terms of public rhetoric. Hurts is a dynamic double-threat playmaker, and if Smith can make an immediate impact as a go-to receiver, this Eagles offense could shock a lot of people.
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