Jalen Hurts is a guy we all root for, dating back to when he was a backup and then starter again for Alabama and Oklahoma. His reputation is that of a consummate pro and leader. Hurts is that teammate that the locker room respects. His maturity is beyond his years and he’s still developing as a starting NFL quarterback. There have been many different opinions on Hurts’ ceiling as a signal caller, but his will and desire to be great can never be questioned.
Hurts had some breakthrough moments in Sunday’s 30-13 win over Denver. The former Hesiman candidate and national champion displayed the poise and dual skills that Eagles coaches want to see.
— Dan Orlovsky (@danorlovsky7) November 17, 2021
Hurts was an efficient 15 of 20 for 176 yards, 52 rushing yards and two touchdowns in the first half and played with a composure not seen in most young QBs. He never looked rushed and remained cool and calm under center.
Offensive Tackle Lane Johnson On Hurts’ Growth
“I think he’s very composed,” Johnson said. “He’s always composed. Never see him get too cheerful about stuff, or down. Every day he’s like that. Just been consistent. He works hard and leads our team at practice every day.”
In typical prisoner of the moment fashion, Hurts was asked about his play in Sunday’s first half. Was it possibly his best to date?
“Like I said, scoring on the first drive is very important to me. That’s something we didn’t do. I think they presented some different looks to us, sent a lot of pressure at moments in the game. I think there were highs, and the lows. The good, the bad and the ugly, we’re going to learn from it. I’m going to continue to learn from it and grow from it.”
Hurts is used to all three of those elements. His entire football career has been a combination of the good, bad and ugly.
Eagles Shock Everyone By Drafting Hurts In The Second Round Of 2020 NFL Draft
Eagles general manager Howie Roseman surprised everyone by drafting Hurts in the 2020 NFL draft, especially with Carson Wentz thought to be the franchise quarterback. Wentz wasn’t too excited about it and in turn demanded a trade, which ultimately cost head coach Doug Pederson his job just three seasons after leading the City of Brotherly Love to its first Super Bowl victory.
Despite the drama and the second-guessing, Roseman had his reasons for drafting Hurts where he did, durability being the biggest factor. Roseman explained his thinking in an interview with WIP Morning Show in 2020:
“We loved Carson, but we played four to six (playoff) games, and we needed our backup quarterback and all of them. It’s too important of a position not to have that. I think that just thinking about where we were at the moment, and I think it was the right thing to do. It’s a hard decision but it was the right thing to do.”
“I think that we talk a lot about Jalen and his leadership and what kind of person he is, which are really positive things, but the guy can play, and he can win. He’s another person like all of us, who has to prove it and show it, and we’re excited about that. But certainly he’s got a skillset that we’re excited about.”
Hurts played more than expected in his rookie season as Wentz was hurt again. Hurts passed for 1,061 yards, six touchdowns and four interceptions. His completion percentage was a tad low at 52 percent. He also rushed for 354 yards and three touchdowns.
The progression is evident, and he hasn’t even started a complete season yet.
Hurts’ 87.3 passer rating is seconnd-highest in franchise history by a quarterback in his first 14 starts, behind only Nick Foles. His 3,897 combined passing and rushing yards are ninth-highest ever by an NFL quarterback in his first 14 starts. He’s also improved his completion percentage to 62 percent this year.
His productivity has been sturdy as he’s produced 18 touchdowns and just five turnovers in 10 games this year for the 3-6 Eagles.
Jalen Hurts rushing this season
56% success rate (1st)
24.5 EPA (2nd)
39% 1st down rate (2nd)
38 first downs (4th)
20 10-yard rushes (t-4th)
5.6 yards/rush (5th)
His legs are a lethal weapon.
— Paul Hembekides (@PaulHembo) November 17, 2021
His trajectory is skyward, and head coach Nick Sirianni loves what he’s seeing despite reports that he’s not sold on Hurts as the franchise quarterback.
“I just see his arrow completely pointed up,” Sirianni said after Sunday’s game. “I think we’ve all seen the way he’s played.”
The coach also dismissed any notions about Hurts not being franchise material.
“Watch the last three games and that’s the biggest one right there, right? He’s started, what, 14 games now? … And so, to me, he’s still a rookie. He’s still in his rookie season essentially, if you count the amount of games started. And so all I see is improvement every day from him.
“It starts with the type of person that Jalen is and how much he loves this sport and how much he loves his teammates and how tough he is. And he doesn’t make the same mistake twice.”
Jalen Hurts was built in the mold of a winner. Sometimes it’s hard to see all of the things that make him a special player, but he’s been proving himself with an Eagles team that leaves a lot to be desired as far as talent is concerned. He does have one lethal weapon in wide receiver Devonta Smith. As the team around him improves, Hurts will continue to grow. The Eagles just have to believe that and put him in a position to lead and shine.