Has Eagles QB Jalen Hurts returned to form or was it always there?

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (1) runs out before an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, Oct. 22, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Fresh off an NFC Player of the Week honor after the Eagles franchise QB’s strong performance against the Washington Commanders, and arguably his best showing since becoming a starting NFL QB, it’s time to grade Jalen Hurts.

There’s been a bit of a divide amongst experts and fans alike on how to measure the franchise quarterback’s play on the field halfway through the season. Of course, it’s going to be quite difficult to top his MVP-caliber season a year ago where the Eagles QB1 seemingly could do no wrong.

Let’s dive into the numbers.

Not Far Off From Last Year’s Pace

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (1) throwing the ball during the first half of an NFL football game against the Washington Commanders, Sunday, Oct. 29, 2023, in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Stephanie Scarbrough)

Despite some criticism of his play to start the season, the numbers Hurts has put up so far are similar to his stellar 2022 through the first eight games.

This Season: 193/282, 2,140 passing yards, 13 TD, 8 INT, 68.44 Completion %, QBR 94.3, 19 sacks, 280 rushing yards, 6 rushing TD, 3 fumbles lost.

Last Season: 163/239, 2,042 passing yards, 12 TD, 2 INT, 68.20 Completion %, QBR 107.8, 22 sacks, 326 yards, 6 rushing TD, 1 fumble lost.

If you look at the numbers, they are similar in multiple categories including passing yards, passing touchdowns, rushing touchdowns and completion percentage, while he’s taken less sacks.

He’s also playing with some type of knee injury that has clearly hindered his ability to escape the pocket or tuck it run as often as he did last year.

Turnovers Turning Some Heads

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts, left, throws during the second half of an NFL football game against the New York Jets, Sunday, Oct. 15, 2023, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)

Despite the similar numbers in some key stats, the turnovers have been the most glaring difference from last season to this season. Hurts has already committed 11 total turnovers (8 INT/3 fumbles) compared to his near flawless ratio last year, coughing the ball up just three times (2 INT/1 fumble). The lack of ball security this season certainly warrants some concern.

Bouncing Back With Short Memory

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (1) and wide receiver A.J. Brown (11) looking up to fans as they head back to the locker room at the end of an NFL football game against the Washington Commanders, Sunday, Oct. 29, 2023, in Landover, Md. Eagles won 38-31. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Those concerned with the turnovers certainly have an argument, but the counter argument to make is although he has turned the ball over more than he did all of last year, his response on following drives have been near masterful.

Take the drive after the “Brotherly Shove” fumble with the messy snap exchange on the one-yard line last week. Hurts came back on the field and orchestrated a seven play, 51-yard drive to tie the game 17-17 with this connection to A.J. Brown.

On the season, when Hurts has turned the ball over and the Eagles had an ensuing offensive drive, Hurts led the offense to seven scoring chances with three touchdowns, two field goals and two missed field goals. That’s a 78% clip where he’s been able to bounce back and position the offense to score. There’s no denying that Hurts needs to protect the ball better, but he doesn’t let the issue snowball and that’s vital.

Keeping the Main Thing the Main Thing

As Hurts has reiterated many times, winning is all that matters to him. That’s exactly what he has done. He owns a 30-12 record as a started in the NFL and also has an impressive streak in avoiding back-to-back losses. He has the Eagles with the best record in the NFL and despite their deficiencies in other areas, they are the best team in the NFL heading into this week.

Final Exam

With the similar numbers from last year to this year in a handful of categories, playing through a bruised knee for over a month, finding ways to lead the Eagles to a 7-1 record would give his grade an easy A+ in my book. However, the turnovers are still worrisome and against better competition, could become a much bigger issue and knocks down the grade slightly.

Grade on Jalen Hurts through Week 8: A-