In Search Of

Posted: December 22nd, 2020 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 3 Comments »

Coming off a tough Eagles loss, we all want answers. Usually the questions involve who to blame and what changes are going to be made. Not this time. The focus is all on rookie Jalen Hurts, who has turned a miserable season into a fun mess.

The Eagles are still a bad team, but Hurts has really changed things. The offense scores points. The defense makes plays. Players have more energy and emotion. There is hope, even when things are bad. So let’s get back to the questions we need answered.

Is Jalen Hurts the starter in 2021? What is Hurts ceiling? What happens to Carson Wentz? How the heck are the Eagles still alive for a playoff berth at 4-9-1?

We have seen 2.5 games of Hurts as the Eagles QB. He has played well and had a tremendous impact on this team. The best QBs have this special ability to make those around them better. Hurts has shown that ability so far. We don’t know if this is sustainable or lightning in a bottle, but anyone watching this team has seen a marked difference since Hurts became the QB.

If we’re boiling things down to their simplest elements, there are three key reasons.

1 – Leadership/poise – Hurts is calm. He gets excited when things go well, but never too excited. When things are going wrong, he stays upbeat and doesn’t seem overwhelmed at all. Hurts has the presence of a veteran. Other players feed off the QB. If they see him in a funk, that will affect them.

2 – Ability to run – The great X-factor in football…the mobile QB. When things break down, Hurts can make plays with his legs. This can extend drives. It can lead to points (Hurts ran for a crazy TD on Sunday). This is very demoralizing to defenses. It is almost inspirational to offenses. They know even when things go wrong, the QB can still make a play. They always have a chance.

3 – Confidence – Wentz is a headcase right now. Hurts is not. This isn’t said with judgment. For whatever reason, Wentz isn’t right mentally this year. He’s indecisive. He holds the ball too long. He makes poor choices. The smart, confident player of the past didn’t show up this season. Hurts is the opposite. He walks on the field and looks like he’s in total control. He almost throws a pick, shrugs it off and moves to the next play. Maybe that is the power of youth. Young players can feel invicible. Whatever it is, he’s confident and that shows in his play.

Watch the clips from Fran and Baldy. See how Hurts throws before receivers have made their break. He trusts the scheme and his teammates. He throws the ball with confidence. He gives his players a chance to make plays and they’re doing that.

Hurts is not a dynamic passer. His arm isn’t anything special. I do like his deep ball and love the touch he puts on his throws. Hurts can be a good NFL passer by making smart decisions and accurate throws. That’s what he’s doing right now. And that is sustainable.

Barring some insane turn of events, Hurts should be the starter for the rest of 2020. I think you have to let the season play out before counting on him as the starter for 2021, but I would certainly lean that way right now.

Wentz needs to be fixed and I’m just not sure that will happen in Philly. He is more experienced and more talented than Hurts so this isn’t some no-brainer decision. I just don’t think you can overlook the impact Hurts has had and how broken Wentz has looked.

Four games won’t tell us anyting definitive about Hurts, but it can certainly point us in the right direction. We’ll have a feel for what he can do. We won’t have any idea about his ceiling until we see him play for an extended time. Heck, we’ve been arguing about the ceiling for Wentz and Dak Prescott since 2016. Trying to figure out how good a player can be is really tough.

The Eagles will look at Hurts body of work and make a decision about the future. Jeffrey Lurie will talk to his coach and GM (Doug Pederson and Howie Roseman?) and decide how to proceed. If the Eagles move on from Wentz, trading him won’t be easy.

There has been talk of bringing back both QBs for an open competition. That doesn’t seem possible anymore. You’d be asking players and coaches to take sides and that would get ugly.

Hopefully we’ll get two more games of Hurts this year. On Sunday he gets a chance to beat Dallas and give us all a nice Christmas present.

A win keeps the Eagles playoff hopes alive, if the Panthers upset Washington.

We do know the NFC East champ won’t have a winning record. Washington would max out at 8-8.

The best thing for the Eagles is to get a Top 10 pick, but I won’t lie that seeing Hurts lead the team on a late surge to the playoffs would be fun.


3 Comments on “In Search Of”

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