Philadelphia Eagles QB Jalen Hurts could have an increased role in Week 4

Jalen Hurts (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Jalen Hurts (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

Might Jalen Hurts get more snaps for the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 4?

Through the first three weeks of the season, Philadelphia Eagles fans have seen Jalen Hurts on the field for just six offensive snaps, but he’s been utilized in different ways each time it’s happened. Whether you loved or hated the idea that he was picked in the second round, Hurts is here to stay, at least for the foreseeable future, and it looks like he’s going to be utilized similarly to the way the New Orleans Saints use Taysom Hill after all.

The Eagles have lost a plethora of playmakers heading into their Week 4 matchup with the San Francisco 49ers, and that might mean that we could see more of Hurts in this offense.

In Week 2, he made his NFL debut versus the Los Angeles Rams. In his first snap, Wentz went was under center. Miles Sanders and Hurts were both lined up in the backfield. Wentz faked a swing pass to Sanders, faked another to Hurts, and that opened up the middle of the field for Dallas Goedert who had just released from his block.

In Hurts’ second snap as a professional, he lined up at outside receiver while Sanders carried the ball up the middle. In his third snap, he motioned out of the slot position and Wentz faked a handoff on the sweep to him and then gave the ball to Sanders up the middle.

Last week, Hurts played all three of his snaps from the quarterback position. In his first, he ran a read option and carried the ball for eight yards and a first down. Later, he ran another read-option and handed the ball to Sanders for seven yards and a first down. On the very next play, Hurts ran the read-option a third time abut fumbled. Maybe there were butterflies because he’s run that play his whole career, and as a professional, he’s already added two carries to his resume.

What does the near future hold for Jalen Hurts?

These six snaps are just a preview of how Hurts could be used this year. Teams have to take note of whenever he’s on the field and be ready for any gadget plays ‘the Birds’ might try with him on the field. That adds another dimension to Philly’s offense. Now that it’s Week 4, he should have more familiarity with what his team is doing and what his role is. The goal is to keep the chains moving.

While Wentz has some speed, defensive ends respect Hurts much more on the read-option which keeps an extra man out of the box for Sanders or whoever is carrying the ball. When those ends bite on the inside run, Hurts keeps the rock as he did during his first NFL carry. He’s not quite Lamar Jackson in terms of speed, but he’s no slouch either.

Don’t be surprised if we see Hurts throw on Sunday. That’s why there’s a factor of the unknown when he’s on the field because no matter where he lines up, he could end up attempting a pass on the same play. If he lines up at wide receiver and comes in motion for a pitch or jet sweep, the Eagles could run a trick play and have him throw to a wide-open receiver after the defense bites on the run. They can also run play action off of the read-option.

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Who knows? Maybe we’ll see Hurts on a quarterback power run at the goal line as we’ve seen with Cam Newton his whole career. Cam is clearly a lot bigger but the point is Hurts could be used on some designed runs at the goal line if the offense starts to stall out.

While most fans would argue that using a second-round pick on a project quarterback was wrong (that theory would get a ton of support), there’s no getting rid of Hurts, at least for right now. He’s going to be used in a variety of ways in this offense. The Eagles have to find new ways to get him involved and keep this aggressive 49ers’ defense off guard on Sunday.

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So again, might Hurts see an increase in his snap count? With the lack of experience the Eagles have at the skill positions coming into Week 4’s edition of Sunday Night Football, the Eagles need more creativity from the offense following how vanilla they’ve looked. Hurts can help them mix things up by lining up at different positions. Even if he doesn’t get the ball much, his presence alone gives the defense one more thing to think about than they want to, and that could be what the doctor ordered offensively.