The quarterbacks of the two teams have offered some level of similarities. Both Jalen Hurts and Justin Fields entered the league as unpolished passers but outstanding athletes. With Hurts in year three and Fields not even done in his second year though, that’s where a majority of those similarities end.
In reality, Hurts and Fields couldn’t be more different.
Justin Fields and Jalen Hurts came to the NFL from two very different standpoints. Fields came to the NFL as a first-round pick as a part of one of the more complete quarterback classes in recent memory. As a top passer from Ohio State, Fields was considered a top quarterback prospect that just needed some seasoning to the NFL game.
Jalen Hurts was much different. Hurts was benched during college and many NFL analysts and scouts believed that there wasn’t a place for him to play QB at the NFL level. People considered his draft selection in round two a reach for the Birds and made no sense to a team that already appeared to have their quarterback.
Hurts has had to grow more to stay in the NFL because he wasn’t a first-round pick. Fields has had the benefit of getting more time because he is a first-round pick.
It’s easy to say how Justin Fields and Jalen Hurts are similar because they are both scramblers. In reality, their game is very different. Hurts has shown the ability to win from the pocket thanks to his work in the offseason. While Fields hasn’t taken a massive step in his passing development, his work on the ground has made him a weapon.
Could Fields become as good as Hurts is as a passer? Absolutely. But the Eagles also invested in Jalen Hurts far more than the Bears did in Fields. The Eagles hired Nick Sirianni and an offensive-minded coaching staff. Doing so allows Hurts to grow among the top young minds in the game.
Fields is behind a defensive-minded coaching staff. That means, like most defensive head coaches, quarterbacks will have short leashes as the coaching seat gets hotter.
We can think that coaching won’t matter if Fields develops as he should in the offseason, but there is a fundamental difference between defensive-minded coaching staffs as opposed to offensive.
The Eagles, throughout the 2022-23 offseason have overwhelmingly been about putting as much talent around Jalen Hurts as possible. Because of that, Hurts has played like an MVP candidate. The Bears have done very little to help Fields as an overall passer.
Chicago’s offensive line is a mess, the defense is very low on talent and Chase Claypool is not enough of an investment in Justin Fields from a skill spot.
In short, the Eagles know what they have in their quarterback and they trust that they can continue their success because of him. The Bears expect Fields to bail them out and don’t seem prepared to know just how to get the talent around them.
It’s another fundamental difference.
AP Photo/Matt Slocum