Eagles training camp preview: Jalen Hurts leads QB room into 2023 with heightened expectations

Jalen Hurts
FILE -Philadelphia Eagles’ Jalen Hurts celebrates after the NFC Championship NFL football game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the San Francisco 49ers, Sunday, Jan. 29, 2023, in Philadelphia. Jalen Hurts is set to sign one of the richest deals in NFL history, agreeing to a five-year, $255 million extension with the Philadelphia Eagles, including $179.3 million guaranteed, a person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press. The Eagles announced on Monday, April 17, “QB1 is here to stay,” but terms were not yet announced, according to the person who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the deal was not yet final. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum, File)

There won’t be any surprises coming from the Philadelphia Eagles when it comes to the quarterback position. After his career season in 2022, Jalen Hurts enters his fourth NFL season as the team’s franchise quarterback – both on the field and in the checkbook.

Newly anointed as the highest-paid Philadelphia Eagle ever, Hurts now has heightened expectations thrust upon him as he tries to bring the franchise back to the Super Bowl for the second straight year. While the quarterbacks behind him may have changed, this is Jalen Hurts’ show for the foreseeable future.

As training camp gets closer, we break down the biggest questions surrounding each position group, as well as who is expected to shine. With the NFL season drawing closer, we shall start with the most important position on the roster.

QBs on Roster: Jalen Hurts, Marcus Mariota, Ian Book, Tanner McKee

Biggest Questions Heading into Camp

What does Jalen Hurts look like under Brian Johnson?

Philadelphia has a new play-caller and offensive coordinator. Brian Johnson has had a personal relationship with Hurts since he was a kid but the stakes are a lot higher now.

Luckily for Hurts and the Eagles, Johnson comes with plenty of experience as a play-caller and with several types of quarterbacks. He helped Kyle Trask get on the Heisman Ballot, Dak Prescott reach collegiate stardom as well as Nick Fitzgerald. In short, he’s got plenty of experience in getting the most out of young quarterbacks.

Eagles
PHILADELPHIA, PA – JANUARY 29: Philadelphia Eagles coach Brian Johnson looks on during the NFC Championship Game between the San Fransisco 49ers and the Philadelphia Eagles on January 29, 2023 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire)

The offense should still be able to put up plenty of points in 2023, but Hurts’ development will be a major turning point in just how good the entire organization will be for years to come. If Johnson can get even more out of Hurts, he’ll be the front-runner for a lot of head coaching jobs.

Should expectations be tempered against a harder schedule?

With the hardest schedule on paper entering 2023, the likelihood of the Eagles topping their 14 wins last season is very hard to see. Does that mean expectations should be tempered heading into the new season?

What would a good season for Hurts look like? 12 wins? Another playoff appearance? The difficulty surrounding franchise quarterbacks is that nothing is deemed good enough for fans and analysts. That makes it hard to judge what a good season is for a quarterback.

In the end, the only expectations that matter are those in the halls of the Novacare Complex. If the Eagles get back to the Super Bowl, there’s a good chance Hurts will be the reason, and that alone should be enough to keep expectations at a high level in Philadelphia.

Can Marcus Mariota be trusted to win a start or two?

When a scrambling quarterback is considered the franchise quarterback, the odds of him playing a full 17 games is very unlikely. Since Hurts became the starting quarterback, that fact has remained true. It isn’t a bad thing – it just means having a competent backup is extremely important.

Eagles
ATLANTA, GA – NOVEMBER 06: Atlanta Falcons quarterback Marcus Mariota (1) watches the game clock run out from the sidelines during the 2nd half of Sunday afternoon NFL game between the Atlanta Falcons and the Los Angeles Chargers on November 6, 2022 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire)

Last season, Gardner Minshew was inconsistent and couldn’t win the two games he had to play in – almost damaging the Eagles’ season late into the year with Hurts having to play what should have been a meaningless game with an injury.

Mariota comes with playoff experience and plenty of NFL success. He may not have a massive arm but he still completed over 60% of his passes last season and runs an offense similar to what Hurts has done over the years.

In order for the Eagles to remain a top contender in the NFC, they need to make sure Hurts stays healthy. In the event he can’t for a game or two, it’s important to have a competent backup behind him.

Luckily, they could do a lot worse than Mariota.

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AP Photo/Matt Slocum, File