Eagle fans are some of the most intelligent football fans in the league. They know when a player is not giving the appropriate effort, when a gameplan isn’t working, and what the team need to do in the upcoming offseason. But fresh off a 31-15 beatdown in the Playoffs to the defending Super Bowl Champion, Buccaneers, the energy is arguably being pushed down the wrong path.
It’s fair to point out in the team’s wildcard playoff game, Jalen Hurts, and the rest of the birds, looked awful. Miscommunication, poor decision-making, and a poor gameplan all came together for a three-phase blowout. Philadelphia never had a chance.
A part of the blame should belong to Hurts – he wasn’t good at all on Sunday. But the rest of the team and coaching staff deserves their share of the blame too. The defense put the team in a 17-0 hole before they could blink, the OL was nowhere near as dominant as they’ve been all year, and the Special Teams group was probably the worst they’ve ever been.
But as the face of the franchise, it’s been Jalen Hurts catching the brunt of the criticism.
Never mind the fact that this team was expected to win three games all year and ended up going to the playoffs. The Eagles were formed of a rookie head coach and the youngest QB to ever make a postseason start. Just like there were at the start of the year, there were bound to be teething problems.
But make no mistake, there’s evidence here and in past instances to support the fact that Philadelphia is set up nicely with Jalen Hurts as QB in 2022, and potentially for years to come.
Forget the rash anger and willingness to fire everyone at this loss. Let’s look at it from a rational point of view.
Wanting what we can’t have
The expectations for a starting quarterback have become skewed in recent times and that’s nobody’s fault but the teams who lack patience and will risk it all to get the next Brady or Manning. If that risk fails, it’s time to do it all over again.
When the Eagles have had a scrambling playmaker, like a McNabb per say, pocket passers have been the guilty daydream. When they have pocket passers like Nick Foles or Carson Wentz, the lack of mobility otherwise provided by a Mike Vick or Jalen Hurts becomes desirable.
It’s an endless cycle of misery that will only be broken by winning.
Does Hurts have a lot to work on as a passer in this league? Absolutely. Has Hurts improved somewhat already as a passer this year as a 23-year-old? The answer is the same.
A new quarterback wouldn’t push the Eagles over the edge just yet, so why not ride the clear trajectory that this team is following? Hurts is improving and has shown more than enough to continue that trend, it’s just not one that will bring instant gratification.
Growing and Developing is no longer acceptable in Philly
Anyone remember how bad Josh Allen was from an accuracy standpoint in his first two years in Buffalo?
Anyone remember the deficiencies Lamar Jackson had as a passer his first year in the league?
Or how about how bad Troy Aikman was in his first couple of years? How about Terry Bradshaw?
A lot of superstar players in this league have gotten three-four years to develop into the stars they became. Their rise wasn’t meteoric and it didn’t happen overnight.
Josh Allen completed less than 60% of his passes his first two years in Buffalo before really growing into a passer and playmaker. Buffalo was patient with him, let him grow and develop his accuracy, and now he’s a superstar.
Lamar Jackson was extremely inconsistent as a passer his first year in the league. Baltimore didn’t run him out of town though – they doubled down on building the offense around his skillset and he won the MVP the next year.
Hurts clearly has his struggles. He needs to improve his accuracy and anticipation on throws. But this idea he can’t do it because he has never shown the ability to do so before is very odd considering he’s 23 years old. And this idea that the Eagles can easily get another QB that’s better than him is extremely farfetched all things considered, but I’ll get to that later.
Quarterbacks as raw as Hurts do not magically take a year to become a Pro-Bowl player. Josh Allen needed three years to develop his game. There’s no reason to think that with Hurts’ work ethic, he won’t get better. In fact, him getting better is something I’d take to the bank considering his comments yesterday.
Probably the funniest thing I heard yesterday is that the Eagles should use one of their three first round picks on a QB that could potentially be on the trade block, or sign a free agent.
Aaron Rodgers – The MVP candidate just won 13 games with the Packers for three straight years. It’s been reported that the two sides have made up and are clearly looking forward to more years together. Why would Rodgers want to come to a weaker roster and weaker coaching staff?
Russell Wilson – Would cost a kings ransom which would pretty much nail the fact that the team’s defense would not really improve from where they are now. Sure the OL is clearly better than the one in Seattle, but are the weapons better? Absolutely not. Plus, it seems Wilson would rather stay in Seattle, or if he’s going to be moved, he’d rather go to the Giants.
Deshaun Watson – 22 sexual assault cases. No.
Derek Carr – considering the Raiders almost won a road playoff game after one of the most rollercoaster seasons I have ever seen for one franchise, I highly doubt the Raiders let him walk. But let’s say the soon-to-be FA goes on the open market. We’ve already seen the danger of giving a QB a boatload of money and how it can effectively destroy any hope of building a talented roster around them.
Jimmy G – For everyone who wants a pocket passer….yikes. Just watch the 49ers game yesterday. They won in spite of Jimmy G. The Eagles roster isn’t as talented as the 49ers so you’d be asking the pocket passer to make the most out of lesser talent…and that sounds a little too familiar.
The reality is that the QB’s in this upcoming draft class aren’t really that good, and the QB’s on the trade block or FA are going to have absolutely no reason to come to Philly.
The Outlook of the team is a lot better than yesterday showed
Everyone wants to panic because people had this false sense that they’d upset the defending champs on the road for no reason other than they kept telling themselves it was going to happen. So because their blind faith was misplaced, someone needs to be at fault for it and everyone is looking at Hurts.
Hurts wasn’t good yesterday. He, like the rest of the team, was hot garbage. But this idea that in his first playoff game, showed why he’ll never be the guy is one of the most ludicrous takes I have ever seen.
Peyton Manning took over five years to win a playoff game, and he was shut out in one of those abysmal runs! Lamar Jackson was horrific in his first playoff game. As was Josh Allen, and even Andrew Luck.
This idea that one bad playoff game and an inconsistent regular season is enough to determine he isn’t ‘the guy’ is just an overreaction that’s marred by a fanbase that isn’t comfortable letting players grow.
The reality is that the future is extremely bright for this team. Three first-round picks gives them the flexibility where even if Hurts fails in year three, they have the resources to protect themselves from that.
But to say Hurts doesn’t deserve a year three with the Eagles is ridiculous to say with any reasoning that isn’t desperation.
People will say Hurts didn’t do anything against weaker competition and he was a “fraud” because the team didn’t beat a playoff team all year. In reality, it shows that the Eagles are far more ahead than we originally thought. They destroyed weaker and inferior teams all year – something that good teams need to be able to do. And now with a full year of learning and growing together will be better off with understanding what is needed to beat these playoff teams.
Yesterday was bad, but it might set the stage for a much brighter future with Hurts at the helm.
Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire