Eagles OTA preview: What to watch in the QB room

Jalen Hurts
PHILADELPHIA, PA – SEPTEMBER 19: Philadelphia Eagles QB Jalen Hurts (1) throws a pass in the first half during the game between the San Francisco 49ers and Philadelphia Eagles on September 19, 2021 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire)

To say that the Eagles are in a unique spot heading into OTA’s and Training Camp would be an understatement. After a near-perfect Draft that balanced aggression with vision for the long-term future, it’s safe to say all eyes are on one man and one man only: Jalen Hurts. But what about the rest of the QB room?

Jalen Hurts

This is a very important year for Jalen Hurts. Not only is he going into his second full NFL season as a starter (third overall), but he could not have a better setup for success. You could ask Rodger Goodell to sign whoever you want for free and still struggle to create a better environment for Jalen Hurts to thrive in…and that means that the excuses will soon run out.

Everyone wants Hurts to succeed, both inside and outside the locker room. But the Eagles do have an extra first-round pick next year and will be met with a much stronger QB class than that of 2022. If Hurts struggles to take a significant step forward, the temptations will be strong for Howie Roseman. It’s down to Jalen to prove himself worthy of a long-term home in Philadelphia.

In terms of what we need to see from Hurts during the offseason, it’s tricky because so much of what we see is designed to either aid the defense or the offense. Seeing what reporters notice about his scrambling will be key. Is he able to stay in the pocket longer before taking off in 11-on-11’s? Can he climb the ladder and go through more than his first two reads? How is his ball placement down the field? Is he able to add velocity on passes in the shorter area of the field? Those will be the areas that determine his success in 2022, and they can all be worked on heavily during the summer.

Gardner Minshew

While Jalen Hurts has the weight of the world on his shoulders, Minshew doesn’t exactly have it easy. He’s now in his contract year, knowing fully well that Jalen Hurts is the unquestioned QB1. This could well be an audition for any team looking for a fringe-starter, especially considering the Eagles didn’t trade him this offseason, like some assumed they would.

Minshew played well during his lone start in 2021, completing 20/25 passes against the Jets. He wasn’t asked to throw that much, but a pair of touchdowns and no picks rounded out a clean outing.

The former Jaguar just needs to go all-out this offseason. There’s nothing to lose and everything to gain, and if he can show some real leadership qualities with the second-stringers in OTA’s, that’s only going to benefit him once preseason rolls around.

Carson Strong

The fact that Strong went undrafted is still stunning, even in spite of his concerning injury history. He was once regarded as a day-2 pick and understandably so. He’s a big boy at 6’3 and has a cannon for an arm. He threw for 4,175 yards last year along with 36 touchdowns and 8 picks.

Strong is like an inverse Jalen Hurts. A statue in the pocket who throws bombs down the sideline for fun and generates enough velocity to power a small home. Where he lacks is mobility, durability, and keeping that same level of confidence when blitzes start coming, largely because he can’t escape the trouble and makes some ill-advised throws, or the right throw but without the required power.

There’s no pressure on Strong this offseason, but it will be very interesting to see how he fares in comparison to Jalen Hurts and Gardner Minshew. Has Howie Roseman found a hidden gem to add to his QB factory, or has he decided to stay in the burning building a little too long while the rest of the NFL darted for the exits?

Reid Sinnett

Sinnett has become the forgotten man in the Eagles’ QB room. The former UDFA was claimed off waivers by the Eagles back in October, having previously spent time with the Dolphins. He’s also been a part of the QB room in Tampa Bay, the team he signed with after going undrafted in 2020.

It is interesting that Sinnett has worked under both Tua and Hurts. Is this by design? Maybe, maybe not. But his main competition is going to be with Carson Strong for that QB3 spot. One would think Strong has the advantage, but Sinnett has been around the NFL for two years now and may well have enough experience at the professional level to spring a surprise or two.

Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire

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