Jalen Hurts hasn’t had the greatest start to a season that’s following up the MVP-like year that he had in 2022. Things have changed for Hurts and while the initial thought was that it was for the better, that doesn’t seem to be the case. Jalen Hurts had consistency in his corner last year for the first time in his entire football career as Shane Steichen and the offensive staff were back for another year.
This season, Shane Steichen is no longer calling the plays, well at least in Philly. Steichen was hired to be the Colts head coach after an impressive 2022 campaign but where does that leave Jalen? The Eagles did their best to keep a consistent environment around him as they promoted both Brian Johnson (to offensive coordinator) and Alex Tanney (to QB coach). But is that change even too much change for the franchise QB?
The reason that I ask that question is because of the regression that we have seen as of late. Yes, I said regression and no, it does not mean that the world is ending. Hurts may have regressed a bit but it’s also very possible to not end up like Carson Wentz. He can bounce back. He has the will and mindset to do it. Not to mention, his work ethic is truly unmatched but the Eagles need to figure this out.
Hurts hasn’t been inaccurate when throwing the ball as he is at a career-high 67% on the season, he’s just been off. He’s held the ball at times for too long and has looked unsure of his reads. The elusiveness that we’re so accustomed to seeing has been a bit reserved as well. Could that be due to the big contract? Or is it the result of a nagging injury that just revealed itself on Sunday Night Football?
He has been inconsistent this season with his reads and even his footwork at times. Hurts had not looked comfortable in the pocket until that one drive on Sunday night following the batted ball that turned into a pick-six. The offense went with the no-huddle approach on the next drive and you saw the Jalen Hurts of old.
Is Jalen Hurts back?
He was decisive in his reads, accurate, and determined. He didn’t look reserved at all nor did he look uncomfortable after scrambling for 12 yards. This was the Hurts that the Eagles extended the largest contract in franchise history to. This was the MVP runner-up from 2022 leading his unit down the field.
How can the Eagles keep that version of Jalen though? Can it be through a simplified version of their offense? Teams have enough tape on the birds to figure out what they’re doing on each drive but that shouldn’t push them away from doing what they do best. Hurts and the offense is at its best when they’re distributing the ball to all of their playmakers. Brown, Goedert, and Smith all had more than 40 yards receiving that night and it’s the best that the offense has looked this season.
This could also help mitigate all of the costly turnovers. Jalen Hurts has now thrown 8 interceptions and is well on his way to throwing a career-high if the offense doesn’t get it fixed. While some may not be his fault, they all still count against him and it’s a tough pill to swallow.
This Sunday afternoon should lead to a step in the right direction for Hurts and the offense. If Brian Johnson and Nick Sirianni can duplicate what they did against the Dolphins and keep things easy for Jalen Hurts then the Eagles offense should be back to normal soon. But if they can’t then Hurts could be in for a long season.
AP Photo/Matt Rourke