The Philadelphia Eagles are coming off a surprising 9-8 season and the franchise’s first playoff burn with Jalen Hurts at quarterback.
Led by Hurts, a savvy group of veterans, and some young talent, the group seemed to mesh throughout the season under first-year coach Nick Sirianni. But making the postseason when most prognosticators penciled Philly in for six wins brings expectations. Philly fans are talking about winning the division, proving it wasn’t a fluke season. The pressure is on the aforementioned Hurts, who many doubt is a capable enough passer to take this team to the next level.
One of those non-believers is FS1 personality and Pro Football Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe, who voiced his concerns on “Undisputed” Thursday morning.
“I don’t believe he’s the answer to what they want to do. His legs will win you some games in the regular season. You might make the playoffs considering they’re in the NFC East.
He just can’t throw the football well enough, consistently enough to be your long-term solution.”
Sharpe wasn’t done …
“He’s 38 out of 44 quarterbacks in completion percentage since he came into the league. He’s 1-7 versus teams that made the playoffs. He beat the Saints in his first game and he’s lost his last seven starts. He’s 8-4 against non-playoff teams.”
Sharpe’s comments are very valid, as there’s never been a question of Hurts’ heart, desire, leadership and running ability. But when he has to beat teams from the pocket, he’s struggled with passing accuracy and being confident as a downfield passer, dating back to his days at Alabama.
While he’s gotten better in the passing game, it’s still the weakest part of his game.
— NFL (@NFL) May 5, 2022
Eagles Believe Hurts Is The Guy: Traded For A.J. Brown
While many outsiders don’t believe Hurts is the long-term solution on Philly, the team’s brass does. And since they’re the ones that matter, it’s going to be Hurts’ show until they feel he isn’t capable of leading them all the way. The Eagles were loaded with plenty of draft capital to make a run at quarterback Deshaun Watson when he was on the market, but they decided against it.
Per reports, GM Howie Roseman never really got involved in the QB shuffle this offseason, and with Watson’s sexual assault allegations still murky at best, the team chose to stand pat with Hurts.
They also didn’t believe any of the 2022 NFL draft prospects presented a significant upgrade enough to pull the trigger. They really believe Hurts can do the job, assisted by a great running game and a stout offensive and defensive line.
— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) January 19, 2022
Hurts and 2021 first-round pick DeVonta Smith, who tallied 916 receiving yards and five touchdowns in a run-based offense, will continue to develop chemistry. Adding another weapon of A.J. Brown’s stature should help Hurts and Smith.
Hurts won’t have to be pinpoint-accurate with someone like Brown, who has a propensity for winning jump balls and catching errant throws. Brown’s mere presence will take pressure off of Smith and bolster the running game even further.
— Jalen Hurts (@JalenHurts) April 29, 2022
Sirianni Talks Hurts: That’s His QB
Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni has been on the Hurts train since he was hired prior to the 2021 season. After a season where Hurts showed some real development in his reads, patience in the pocket and understand of defenses, Philly brass feels he’s ready to continue trending towards being a top-level passer.
In an April interview Sirianni spoke glowingly of Hurts.
“I couldn’t be more excited about Jalen Hurts, the type of player he is and the type of person he is,” the 40-year-old Eagles head coach said at a news conferences at the NFL owners meetings. “He knows he’s our guy, and we show him that with our actions day in and day out.”
From the sounds of it, the Eagles seem happy with Hurts, but quarterbacks fall out of season quickly in the NFL (Not For Long), so he’ll need to perform adequately.