2022 was an incredible year for the Philadelphia Eagles and QB Jalen Hurts, but it wasn’t perfect. The team exceeded everyone’s wildest expectations, but a Super Bowl heartbreak left a sour taste in the players’ mouths. Young QB Jalen Hurts was arguably snubbed of the MVP award too, with many believing had he not picked up a minor injury towards the end of the year, he’d have been neck-and-neck with Patrick Mahomes.
While Hurts may have been pipped at the post last season, I believe he will win the MVP Award in 2023 and here’s why:
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The band is back together and the gig is even bigger
Jalen Hurts and the Eagles offense dominated in every aspect. The good news is that things shouldn’t change anytime soon. Hurts now has continuity with his Head Coach, both of his best friends returning at wide receiver, and every key offensive line cog still in-tact. Oh, and there’s a revamped backfield to boot.
The difference this year is that the Eagles face a much tougher schedule. A popular counter-argument to Jalen’s incredible growth last year was that the Birds faced few genuinely great teams. Philly has the 10th-hardest schedule in the NFL this season and if they are going to run the NFC East in the way they did last year, then they’ll need their young quarterback to prove he’s worth every penny of that $255M.
If Jalen Hurts balls out in 2023 and beats the likes of Patrick Mahomes, Aaron Rodgers, and Josh Allen, then there can almost be no real debate about who the most valuable player in the league is.
Sure, a tougher schedule may make it harder for Hurts to emerge from the crowd. But if he does so like many believers expect, then that glow will be so much brighter.
An offseason like no other, but also like every other
Jalen Hurts signed a stunning $255M contract this past offseason in what was a record-breaking day for the team, the league, and his agency, and Jalen himself. You’d think that a payday so significant might lead to some lavish outbursts and celebrations. While that may have been the case, we certainly haven’t seen anything of the sort.
Hurts rocked up to OTA’s ready to rumble and has only intensified his energy since. Training Camp saw the QB draw consistent praise both on and off the field. He made mince meat of the Eagles’ defense in drills and in joint practices, stood out in the best way.
There is no reason to believe that Jalen Hurts has taken his foot off the gas at all. If anything, he’s probably pressing it down harder.
Is there any reason to doubt Jalen Hurts?
In conjunction with my prior point, has anyone actually got a single reason to doubt Jalen Hurts? What has he shown you to make you believe that he cannot take another seismic leap this season?
All this man has done on the field is take his few weaknesses and turn them into strengths. All he’s done off the field is inspire confidence at every turn and win the admiration and respect of just about everyone as both a leader and a human. There is no logical reason for anyone to even begin doubting that Jalen Hurts cannot or will not become the face of the NFL and the next stage in that journey starts this season.
Jonathan Gannon is gone
This isn’t directly relevant to Jalen Hurts, but the Eagles have a shiny new defensive coordinator in Sean Desai. The former Bears DC is creative, aggressive, and passionate about finding new ways to pressure quarterbacks.
A common opinion is that the Eagles lost the Super Bowl because of a lack of defensive adjustment. That wasn’t the only time Gannon’s defense came into conversation last year, with stats and wins masking what were some really concerning back-end issues under the surface.
With a new man leading the charge, there is every chance that the defense picks up some slack and makes some of those close wins look much more convincing. The better a team looks, the better it does, the better it reflects on the quarterback.
Typically, the MVP is the quarterback of the best overall team (unfortunately), and if the Eagles defense can hold its end of the bargain, then Jalen Hurts will naturally be elevated.
A new offensive coordinator
With Shane Steichen securing a Head Coaching role, Nick Sirianni turned to his QB Coach to lead the offense in 2023. That man, Brian Johnson, just so happens to have known Jalen Hurts since the QB was only 4 years of age. Johnson would later try to recruit Hurts at Mississippi State before eventually uniting at the NFL level.
To not only have a coordinator who has worked with the likes of Kyle Trask and Dak Prescott, but someone who knows you inside out and can tailor an offense to your strengths in a way arguably no other man can, is one of the biggest advantages Jalen Hurts has over the rest of the league going into 2023.
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AP Photo/Adam Hunger