Going into yesterday’s game against the Ravens, there was a lot of chatter around Jalen Hurts. The stars were aligning for the second-round pick to be used more prominently after a week of practice where he emulated Lamar Jackson, and align they did. It’s now time for the Eagles to double-down on what worked, especially with everything else crumbling around them.
Written in the stars
Marty Mornhinwegs’ influence this game was always going to be huge. After all, he was the offensive coordinator who helped facilitate Lamar Jackson’s late rookie season breakout. 2-QB sets are something the Eagles had flirted with at times this season, without ever fully dedicating. Jalen Hurts played in 4 snaps or less in each game so far this season. Not only did he play in 7 against Baltimore, but he was actually used.
Jalen Hurts kept the wheels moving
Coming off of a game where he completed his first pass, the Oklahoma product carried the ball twice for 23 yards, with one attempt being a huge 20-yarder. Not only that, but the Eagles actually amassed 109 yards of offense on the six snaps where both Wentz and Hurts were on the field.
Hurts caught a reception with the intent of throwing a pass, rushed twice, helped draw attention on that stunning 74-yard Miles Sanders TD run, and more importantly added an unpredictable layer to the offense. Previously, he had only really been in on dummy looks and options, without ever there being a threat of Hurts running. That is beginning to change and quickly.
“He’s part of the game plan every week. Just felt it was the right time to get him in the game.” Doug Pederson said after the loss to Baltimore. “At the time we had been struggling a little bit offensively, especially running the football and gave us an opportunity to do that with him. It kind of calmed the defense down a little bit, too. There wasn’t as much pressure when he was in the game at quarterback. Just had to find a spark and got him in the football game.”
Making the case for more Jalen Hurts
The Eagles are now facing a dire offensive scenario. The potential returns of Jalen Reagor, DeSean Jackson, and Alshon Jeffery are enticing, but Miles Sanders suffered what looked to be a scary injury, Zach Ertz limped off the field, and a depleted wide receiving corps doesn’t inject confidence.
The offensive line is now comprised entirely of 3rd and 4th string players outside of Jason Kelce, and it’s getting Carson Wentz killed. He’s been sacked 25 times – more than any other QB in the NFL. When Jalen Hurts is in the game, the defense can’t send as much as pressure due to having to account for his dual-threat ability. It’s something Carson Wentz alluded to post-game.
“I think Jalen’s a playmaker.” He said. “You bring him in off the bench and defenses have to be ready for him. He’s at where I’m at and all of the above and I think it puts a little stress and a little pressure on the defense. There are some exciting plays potentially there to be had. It’s something that we’re going to keep repping, keep working on and hopefully find ways to supplement our offense and find ways to get some big plays that way.”
With the Eagles needing to find any kind of offensive lifeline they can going into a short week, it might be time to take some strain off the group by making Jalen Hurts a much bigger part of the gameplan moving forward.
Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire