On Sunday morning, a report came out citing that the Eagles were set to give Jalen Hurts an increased role in the offense in tomorrow night’s game against the Seattle Seahawks. Then, ESPN’s Tim McManus noted that the second-round pick had seen an uptick in reps with the first team in practice, doubling down on the expansion of his duties. But is it too little too late?
This, of course, comes just a short breath after it was reported that Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie has walked out of practices ‘in disgust’. Maybe this is some pressure from a higher power on Doug Pederson to make a change? It’s not like the Head Coach has been overly willing to ride the momentum Hurts generates when anything goes well and continues to tell reporters how it’s basically him and Wentz against the world. But even if it is a compromise, it’s another call by Doug Pederson that shows he cannot see the Forest for the Trees.
The Eagles are facing the worst-ranked pass defense in all of Football. If there was ever a game in which Wentz should be able to find moderate success and begin to build some momentum and confidence, this is it. To then rip that rug from under him again and begin phasing him out in favor of Hurts does nobody any favors. It’s neither benching Wentz, nor doubling down…instead just doing the exact same thing they’ve tried all year on a few extra snaps. The problem is, nobody knows what that is.
So Far, Jalen Hurts has played in just 31 (4%) of the team’s offensive snaps. The majority of them either came at a puzzling time or ended up backfiring massively. Whether it’s the repeated and predictable read-options, fumbled snaps, or sending him on a negative play that breaks the rhythm of the offense, it’s no secret that Doug Pederson had struggled to find the right way to use Hurts.
Beyond that, Carson Wentz was often left on the field lined up at wide receiver. This is great if you’re going to use both quarterbacks (which they’ve done one time on an aborted play), but otherwise it gives Hurts one less weapon to work with and makes it 10v11. It also gives a subtle nod to the defense that if there are two tight ends on the field and one of the wideouts is indeed a QB, chances are it’s probably going to be a rushing play.
Reports of an expanded role will only done thing – increase the intensity of the spotlight on Pederson and his quarterbacks. If Hurts sees a new career-high in snaps as Rapoport mentioned (he has a whopping 7 to beat!) and he plays well while Wentz fails to improve, that small sample size of success would be all that’s needed to get the ball rolling on a QB controversy that was a ticking time bomb the second Hurts was drafted. If Hurts either doesn’t see the playing time suggested or it’s yet again another slew of sloppiness, then that time bomb gets thrown (probably inaccurately) to Howie Roseman – the man responsible for taking Hurts in the second round to begin with.
It’s the messiest thing the team could’ve done but against a defense this bad, it’s either going to be their saving grace or the beginning of a very steep downfall.
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