After the trading of Carson Wentz, rumors surrounding the Eagles’ confidence in Jalen Hurts swirled for weeks on end. When all was said and done, Philadelphia doubled down on the quarterback they drafted in the second round one year ago, bringing in a familiar face at WR in the way of DeVonta Smith and arguably the top center prospect in the class.
Nick Sirianni has preached competition at all positions since being hired, but many misconceived this as a refusal to get behind Jalen Hurts. Instead, over time, it’s become clear that the new Head Coach wants to cultivate a culture of hard-working players who will give their all to the team on and off the field. It’s to build a monster that plays until the final down.
The former Colts offensive coordinator has been pestered with questions regarding Jalen Hurts and the idea of him being QB1. Last week he finally gave in and clarified what he meant about competing for the starting job and to no surprise, it makes a ton of sense.
“This is all part of the strategy of we want everyone to feel that they’re competing for their jobs. I’m competing for my job. Shane [Steichen] is competing for his job. [Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan] Gannon is competing for his job. Like every single day, so many people want to do what we do in the NFL, right? So we’ve got to compete — we’ve got to fight — everybody on this team has got to fight every single day to get better and to compete, and competition is never a bad thing. In my mind, competition is never a bad thing. It doesn’t matter the position. It’s never a bad thing. It takes people and the cream rises to the top when you compete.”
After a statement like this, you start to wonder more and more as the calls for a big QB trade continue to grow. Why are there constant articles and reports pushing a narrative of Deshaun Watson to the Eagles?
Players like Lane Johnson, Jalen Reagor, and others have praised the former Heisman runner-up for his leadership and ability to command a room. A member of the same draft class, Shaun Bradley, came on to our featured podcast, Flippin’ the Birds, and mentioned that Hurts’ leadership can’t be questioned. He raved about the fact that the defense would be left frozen when the offense was on the field because they wanted to see what Hurts would do. His play was that mesmerizing for them.
Of course, though, numbers do all of the talking when it comes to winning. Jalen only completed 52% of his passes while throwing for 4 interceptions as a rookie. He did pass 6 touchdowns in 5 games but the turnovers and lack of accuracy has fans feeling like the leash on the Oklahoma product is short. GM Howie Roseman has even stated that Jalen has the keys to the franchise this season because they want to see what they have ahead of an NFL Draft where the team are set to have a trio of first-round picks.
Fortunately for Hurts, history is on his side. He had a strong collegiate career as he completed 65% of his passes during his four years between Alabama and Oklahoma. In his final season, Hurts completed 70% of his passes while tossing 32 touchdowns and 8 interceptions, which is a better completion rate than Deshaun Watson had in his finals year at Clemson. He also had 9 fewer interceptions than Watson had in his junior season which was his last year there.
Let’s not forget that Hurts also ran for over 1,200 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns in his final time there. Hurts can do it all but imagine if he doesn’t have to. He has a better supporting cast here than he did in his last year at Oklahoma and with Sirianni’s ability to scheme around Hurts, this might be the time that we see Jalen take the next step a little earlier than most QBs.
Sirianni’s focal point is to maximize the talent of his players which means we’ll see Jalen Reagor do things that made him a first-round pick. We’ll also see DeVonta Smith show out is his rookie year along with the burner brigade of wideouts beneath him.
Hurts is in a prime position to succeed with Sirianni and the coaching staff on his side. You’re going to see the best version of a QB that many refuse to believe in and if he succeeds, the Eagles can build on top of it with those three first-round picks.
There’s no reason to be against the idea of Hurts as the QB1. He does everything Deshaun Watson does but his contract is cheaper and he’s younger…(not to mention the fact he currently isn’t being investigated for some very serious allegations with regards to sexual assault.)
He’s the type of leader you want your young guys to be around and to lead your franchise and has handled the outside pressure with ease up to this point. His mental toughness is at the level of a 10-year veteran but the fire in his soul is of a kid who’s still trying to make the team. The Eagles and Hurts are in a great position entering his sophomore season and it may end up shooting to the moon instead sinking like last season.
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