What do Eagles fans need to see from Jalen Hurts this Summer?

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Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts looks on from the bench during the first half of an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks, Monday, Dec. 18, 2023, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson)

The quarterback position is a really interesting one. While the spotlight is obviously fixed on Jalen Hurts, the battle for QB2 involving Kenny Pickett, Tanner McKee, and Will Grier, should provide plenty of entertainment throughout Training Camp and the preseason.

Jalen Hurts – What does the next step in his development look like?

As far as Hurts goes, it’s hard to really get a read on progress we’d like to see. His 2023 season on paper was mired with turnovers and some poor decisions, but he was handcuffed by a very limited offensive scheme. On top of that, you could argue that he was clearly less than 100% for a chunk of the rollercoaster too. His rushing ability was nowhere near as potent, and despite his best efforts, he just seemed to lack the explosiveness he exhibited in his MVP-level campaign in 2022. Was there a lingering injury, or was it a culmination of everything? Was it the exception, or have things changed? Those are the big question marks facing Hurts as the Summer draws near, but finding answers isn’t going to be overly easy.

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Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (1) scrambles as Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Yaya Diaby (0) and defensive tackle Calijah Kancey (94) chase him during the second half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game, Monday, Jan. 15, 2024, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

Some have been quick to question his relationship with Nick Sirianni, but Jalen Hurts has long been a stoic leader whose personality is a complete polar opposite to that of his charismatic head coach. It would be nice to see some public reinforcement that all of the speculation is merely that and nothing more, but the face of the franchise isn’t the type of rah-rah guy to go screaming his affection from the rooftops.

Instead, I’d like to see how things open up for Hurts in this system. We won’t get an expanded look at Kellen Moore’s playbook until the season begins, but with the former Cowboys’ coordinator reportedly given free-reign to call his shots, it will be very interesting to see if the Eagles sprinkle in any new looks and formations over the Summer.

A great example would be in 2015 and 2016 when the Eagles frequently toyed with ‘pony backfields’. This was a sign of things to come as we saw Darren Sproles take on a new lease of life in those two seasons, with Philadelphia really utilizing his dual-threat nature in a way that added a whole new dimension to the offense.

In years’ past, the sole focus for Hurts was on his mechanics. Being able to add more zip to his intermediate throws and find some extra touch on those deeper passes was crucial to his development. The Oklahoma product has only grown as a passer since those days, but his former QB Coach and offensive coordinator, Brian Johnson, is no longer in the building – another factor that is going to affect his development one way or another.

A new QB Coach for Jalen Hurts

Doug Nussmeier now sits in Brian Johnson’s old chair. He most recently spent time with the Chargers, working with Justin Herbert in a season that was also rocky at times and ultimately ended with a broken finger for the former Offensive Rookie of the Year. Before that, Nussmeier overlapped with Kellen Moore as a QB coach for the Dallas Cowboys, a role he held for 3 years before the move to Los Angeles.

Giving the Cowboys their flowers is never a fun thing, but taking a closer look at Nussmeier’s work with Dak Prescott is interesting. He helped Dak Prescott explode back into life in 2021 when he threw for a franchise-record 37 scores, and he averaged 371 yards per game in the season prior before an ankle injury cut the campaign short.

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Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) passes over Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Josh Sweat (94) during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 5, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

It’s clear that Nussmeier has the ability to squeeze a lot of juice out of his quarterback fruits, so can he do the same with Jalen Hurts?

What are the next steps for Jalen Hurts?

When looking at the bigger picture, we all know how good Jalen Hurts can be. The offense is now stacked with elite level talent that will be cornerstones for years to come, giving the quarterback some much-needed continuity and the hopes are for the coaching staff to follow that path. The room for excuses will now be minimal, which is bound to put some extra pressure on a quarterback who has often thrived under it, but is very much the fundamental building block when it comes to this team getting back to championship-winning ways.

Things can be tweaked for sure, such as Jalen’s vision when passing in the middle of the field, but how many of those tweaks would automatically be fixed by running an offense that doesn’t exclusively consist of screens, quick RPO’s and 5-step drops on deep shots?

The main thing we need to see from Jalen Hurts this summer is confidence. Exuded in his play throughout camp, exuded in his words during pressers, and his actions off the field. This has to be the year where he gets back to his best, and so long as he continues to approach everything the right way, there are no reasons to be concerned about what the future holds for Philadelphia’s QB1.

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Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts runs with the ball against the Seattle Seahawks during the second half of an NFL football game, Monday, Dec. 18, 2023, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson)

AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson