Previously this season I wrote about Eagles that needed to improve going into the first few weeks of the season. In pretty unusual fashion, most of my picks have actually come true. I would continue running that series but the only problem is, the Eagles have just been too good to continually name multiple different players who need to step up. This team is playing at a very high level because most of the individuals on the team that needed to step up, consistently have. In this piece, I would like to highlight a player who I think has improved greatly since the start of the season.
Was there ever really any other answer for the most improved Eagles of the season through the first 4 weeks of the season? Last season, Jalen Hurts showed glimpses of being a dynamic dual-threat quarterback, but was never able to show the consistency needed to be the face of the franchise. This season, Hurts has absolutely been the defense breaking weapon needed to bring the team as a whole to the next level. In 4 games, he has tallied 8 total touchdowns to only 2 turnovers, 1,130 yards and a 4-0 record. The thing that has impressed me about Hurts the most this season is his ability to succeed in multiple different ways.
In week 1 against Detroit, he was the tuck it and run quarterback that we remembered from last season. He rushed 19 times for 90 yards against the blitz heavy Lions.
In week 2, Hurts was absolutely masterful in the air. That first half against Minnesota is the kind of performance that people will remember far beyond this season. He was an ultra efficient passer, with only 5 incompletions as compared to 31 attempts and showed beautiful touch on deep, intermediate and short passes.
Week 3 wasn’t quite the transcendent performance of the previous game, but it was a worthy follow up. The big standout from this game is his calm and level headedness in a potentially precarious scenario. With under 2 minutes to go in the second quarter, Hurts led the team down the field with the score 17-0. The Eagles had a real chance to put the game out of reach from Washington with another score and he calmly threw dime after dime as he drove his team towards the end zone. Thanks to 2 insane DeVonta Smith catches, led the team to a touchdown as time expired at the half.
Week 4 was probably his worst statistical game of the season but it wasn’t as if Hurts played badly by any means. He threw for 204 yards and 1 interception and while on the surface that is pretty pedestrian, Hurts controlled the offense the way he needed to. When the team went down 0-14, he did not blink and calmly drove the Eagles for scores on their next 3 possessions to give the team the lead. Thanks to timely runs and well timed slant routes and tight end screens, Hurts was able to guide the Eagles to victory in gritty, come from behind fashion.
Eagles Franchise QB?
The evolution of Hurts over each game individually tells us just how good he really is. Players and teams who can win in different ways are the ones who find the most success and it seems as long as the Eagles put Hurts on the field, they have a chance to win because of his versatility.
People wanted him to become a more traditional passer and he answered the call. Statistically, he raised his completion percentage from 61% to 66% this and he increased his yards per attempt by almost 2 full yards, from 7.3 to 9.1, which currently leads the NFL. Add in the fact that he is still running for about 4 yards per carry and the Eagles have themselves the early favorite for NFL MVP.
There was a lot of doubt about Hurts being the franchise quarterback of the future coming into the season. After the first month of the season, most Eagles fans feel comfortable having him run the offense for the next 10 years because of his massive improvements in every aspect of his game.
AP Photo/Matt Slocum