Jalen Hurts vs the world: Can the Eagles QB continue to improve?

ATLANTA, GA – SEPTEMBER 12: Jalen Hurts #1 of the Philadelphia Eagles scrambles during the 2021 Week 1 NFL game between the Atlanta Falcons and the Philadelphia Eagles on September 12, 2021 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire)

We’re now on to week 11 of the 2021 NFL season and there seem to be some flowers blooming right now in the city of brotherly love. A team that was once an afterthought is making waves on the offensive side of the ball. Many people, myself included, had written off the Eagles QB situation as it seemed as if Jalen Hurts was stuck in his development.

Well, I may be eating my words from here on out because the 2nd year quarterback is playing the most efficient football of his career. The Eagles may have had their signature win of the season against the Denver Broncos which has the team fighting for a possible wild card spot.

While this is their 2nd in the last 3 weeks, the team is steamrolling into the direction of the NFL’s easiest remaining schedule. What could this mean for Jalen Hurts? Is it possible for him to redeem himself to the front office as the team’s franchise QB? Let’s take a look at the lay of the land.

The Draft Picks

Currently, the Eagles are still positioned to have three first-round picks. The Colts are having an up and down season but haven’t given up on Carson Wentz. Fortunately for Philly, Wentz has battled back from his two ankle injuries to playing about 666 snaps on the season so far which accounts for 99.2% of the Colts snaps to date, according to Jimmy Kempski of Philly Voice.

The Colts are averaging 66 snaps per game so far which means they’re projected to finish with 1,132 snaps on the season. Wentz needs to play 850 of those to reach that 75% marker.

So where do the Eagles’ first-round picks currently stand?

The Dolphins pick that the Eagles own is currently 5th in the draft order while Philly’s pick has fallen to 11th and the Colts’ possible first-round pick is at 15th. While the Eagles are still in striking range for a QB, they also have more than enough ammo to move up in the draft to select their guy if Hurts doesn’t convince them to do otherwise.

Now while the focus by several could be a rookie QB, there was a recent report out saying that the Eagles would prefer to go with a veteran QB such as Russell Wilson. Like the Deshaun Watson situation, Wilson would have to waive his no-trade clause to come to Philly. In other words, he would actually have to want to go to Philly. Yeah, that’s a big ouch moment.

Jalen Hurts

Then there’s this guy. Jalen Hurts. Let’s be honest, we’ve all had moments where we’ve yelled at the TV in complete disgust of his inaccurate throws, his bad habit of bailing out of the pocket too quickly, his missed opportunities when there’s a receiver wide open, but he’s becoming something now.

I’ve mentioned multiple times on the Flippin’ the Birds podcast that the game needs to slow down for Jalen and it felt like it hadn’t this season until the game against the Broncos. Hurts was on a tear in the first half as he ended it going 15/20 for 176 passing yards. He had an outstanding completion percentage of 75% at the halfway mark.

While Hurts was all the rave during the first half it seemed as if the offense focused on managing the clock with the run game which took the ball out of Hurts’ hands. He finished the second half going 1/3 with 3 passing yards.

The team was managing the game well with their running attack and after Darius Slay scored a touchdown on that fumble recovery to the end of the 3rd quarter it seemed as if the Broncos just had the life sucked out of them at that point. The Eagles were cruising for the first time since week1.

The Conclusion

Hurts managed the game very well on Sunday but it felt more like a Nick Sirianni signature win than a Hurts one. This isn’t to take anything away from Hurts, I felt as if he played brilliantly on Sunday. He was patient in the pocket, he went through his reads, and had very few mistakes. While I’m sure he wishes that he could have that interception back; throws like that need to be fixed. There was no one around the area and it was incredibly under-thrown.

This game should make Howie and Lurie pause on their fantasies of acquiring a new QB this offseason. If Jalen continues to develop in the right direction as he has for the last three weeks then the team could already have their QB of the future. Hurts has a couple of things to clean up in his game but noticed that I said a “couple” and not “a lot”. Things are trending in the right direction Eagles fans.

Photo Credit: Icon Sportswire