Jalen Hurts showed everything he needed to in the preseason opener

PHILADELPHIA, PA – AUGUST 12: Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (1) fires up the crowd during pre-season game between the New York Jets and the Philadelphia Eagles on August 12, 2022 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia PA. (Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire)

The Eagles may have lost to the Jets on Friday night, but Jalen Hurts balled out and did everything he needed to do to highlight the leap he has taken over the summer months. As we inch closer to the regular season, Hurts may finally be restoring faith in those that lost it over the course of the 2021 campaign.

Jalen Hurts draws praise

“He was flawless in the game, six for six. He was great moving in the pocket on the first play, he got out and made the explosive play on that one. It was a really good start.” offensive coordinator Shane Steichen said at Tuesday’s practice.

During the offseason, the Eagles starting quarterback worked out to reportedly improve his footwork and balance in the pocket. A quicker release has followed and the third-year pro is already turning the heads of his coaches.

“If guys are covered, you’re going to hit — that’s one of his (Hurts) superpowers is that he can get out on the move and create plays, and we don’t want to take that away from him. So, when guys are covered, let’s go create the big play on the move.” Steichen said.

It’s an important balance in football. If receivers are blanketed, a quarterback who can create offense by himself becomes extremely important. While Carson Wentz drew criticism during his time in Philadelphia for leaning on his legs and ‘hero ball’ too often, refusing to throw the ball away, and instead attempt a miraculous play, Jalen Hurts seems to have the risk-reward scales weighed up perfectly. We saw examples on Friday of him not only scrambling, but getting the ball out of harm’s way when needed.

Nick Sirianni doubles down

Head coach Nick Sirianni recognizes that when Hurts begins to scramble from a clean pocket, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s because he has his head down.

“I think it’s also to be known that leaving the pocket isn’t just something that you see when the protection breaks down. I think that people think like, oh, we left the pocket early, and the protection was good. Well, sometimes nobody is open. And sometimes the defense calls a good play and it’s not a good look in the coverage.” Sirianni said.

Finding a balance is key for Jalen Hurts and the Eagle’s offense. With the additions of Zach Pascal and A.J Brown, the receivers should be far better this season and give Hurts more confidence in the pocket. But make no mistake, just because Hurts is growing as a passer, it doesn’t mean we’ll see a regression as a runner. If anything, we’ll see more discipline, more explosiveness, and a more dangerous offense as a result.

Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire