All of those Philadelphia Eagles fans calling for Hurts may need to chill.
There are quite a few Philadelphia Eagles fans that are ready to anoint Jalen Hurts as the quarterback of the future, but it may be time to take a step backward. In Week 13, head coach Doug Pederson finally did what so many have been asking him to do, bench Carson Wentz and let Jalen Hurts play.
Wentz was taking his usual beating, this time against the Green Bay Packers, when Pederson yanked him in favor of the rookie Hurts about midway through the third quarter. Hurts answered the call and looked a lot better than many expected him to look.
Hurts threw an absolute dime to Jalen Reagor, and a deep touchdown pass to Greg Ward on a 4th and 18 to keep the Eagles in the game. Hurts’ play provided a spark the Eagles offense desperately needed.
Let’s put things into perspective Philadelphia Eagles fans.
Yes, Jalen Hurt played well, and it’s easy to freak out at his two aforementioned throws since it feels like an eternity since we’ve seen throws like that during an Eagles game. The thing is, the Packers were playing a very soft defensive scheme, almost resembling a prevent, and bringing very little heat on the rookie. As soon as the heat came, Hurts was sacked three times and also threw an interception to end the game.
Now granted, it was Hurts’ first extended playing time as an NFL quarterback, so naturally, there’s going to be growing pains. Still, if his mistakes have explanations then so does his success. There’s a difference between excuses and explanations. Sure, the offensive line struggled and Hurts was better equipped to escape the pressure due to his speed. Yes, he made a handful of nice throws, but those are things that can’t be taken away.
What also flew under the radar was that at the same time Hurts came in to replace Wentz, Nate Herbig came into the game to replace Jason Peters at right guard. The line struggled. Peters has unfortunately become a SEPTA turnstile at this point, so anything was an improvement. Herbig isn’t perfect, but he’s been far from the Eagles’ worst offensive lineman in 2020.
The game also ended up being closer than expected after Hurts came in, but let’s not forget that one of Philly’s touchdowns came by way of a Jalen Reagor punt return. It’s still unclear who the starting quarterback is going forward in 2020, so seeing as how it appears that the team is going nowhere, there’s no harm in playing Hurts to give him some NFL experience. Besides, it’s also unlikely that Wentz is going anywhere with his contract. Even if Hurts starts the rest of the 2020 campaign, it doesn’t close the book on Wentz for the remainder of 2021’s season and beyond.
With all of this being said, yes, Hurts provided a spark and a ray of hope, but it’s important to look at the whole story and not just one’s favorite chapter. This book is far from its conclusion, but at the very least Hurts gives Eagles fans something positive to talk about for the remainder of this miserable season.