Jalen Hurts has an ‘uphill battle’ to keep Philadelphia Eagles starting QB job

Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

At the time of this story being published, we can make assumptions, but the Philadelphia Eagles haven’t technically named Jalen Hurts as the starter yet. Everybody seems to have already figured it out though. The more relevant question here is, can Hurts keep his job?

If you haven’t noticed, they brought in Gardner Minshew via trade. Now, does that state that they just want to solidify the quarterback position and add veteran experience, or are we to gather that Hurts may not have a long leash.

Hurts has been lighting it up this preseason, especially in joint practices against the New England Patriots and New York Jets when he outshined Cam Newton and made people forget about his inconsistencies with his arm, the arm that, er, recorded a 52 percent completion rate in Philly’s final four games. As a starter, he posted a 1-3 record averaging 229.8 yards per game while tossing five touchdowns versus three interceptions.

Yes, there’s still skepticism around the league regarding whether Hurts can be a 17-game guy against good defensive coordinators. But that kind of skepticism could surround any young quarterback thrust into the spotlight.

Despite a mysterious illness causing him to miss games, Hurts should win the Eagles’ starting QB job. His competition, after all, is the washed-up, perennially uninspiring and blander-than-mayo Joe Flacco.

Hurts’ chances of being the Eagles’ quarterback in 2022, however, aren’t so great.

On last Sunday’s episode of ESPN’s Get Up, NFL analyst Ryan Clark spoke about his realistic expectations of the Hurts and Eagles partnership:

"I believe Jalen Hurts can be a very good starter in this league. But it seems like the Philadelphia Eagles and even new head coach Nick Sirianni just doesn’t believe in him. If your options are Joe Flacco and Jalen Hurts, why haven’t we named Jalen Hurts the starter? Why hasn’t the organization come out and given a vote of confidence to this young man?"

Jalen Hurts hasn’t won the confidence of the Philadelphia Eagles franchise.

Clark pointed out how Hurts’ teammates from Alabama to Oklahoma view the second-round 2020 draft pick very, very highly. The Eagles locker room, too, has been “blown away” by Hurts on and off the field.

The front office, on the other hand, has hardly felt a breeze.

Clark also brought up rumors about the Philadelphia Eagles potentially being interested in a QB upgrade and how rumors involving a trade for Deshaun Watson have been mentioned for months. Seeing your franchise chase a top-caliber (but extremely controversial) quarterback for much of the offseason doesn’t exactly say to Hurts, ‘We trust you. We want you’. Instead, it’s a heavy-handed slap in the face.

Here’s more from Clark.

"I just don’t think [the Philadelphia Eagles] want [Hurts] to be the guy, so no matter what, his negatives will always be more highlighted and more pronounced than his positives. It’s going to be an uphill battle for him."

If Hurts has truly lost the front office’s vote even before the start of the season, there’s almost no chance he’ll keep his starting spot in 2022. Should they smell even a whiff of disappointment in the Philadelphia Eagles’ 2021 season, Hurts will be the scapegoat, and they’ll look to get rid of him as quickly as possible.

At the end of the day, Philadelphia just might not want Hurts to be the face of the franchise. One reason could be the pitiful pass completion rate that he recorded last season.

Little does the Eagles franchise know, Josh Allen’s completion percentage in his rookie season was 52.8 percent.

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We’re not expecting Hurts to break out as Allen did, but at least we’re rooting for him to succeed. Nearly a quarter of Hurts’ passes in his four starts traveled 15-plus yards downfield, and now that he’s got a healthier set of wide receivers, he’ll be better equipped to lead Philadelphia to a respectable finish this season.

To the front office, maybe, this is Hurts’ one-year audition. To the rest of us, this is the year Hurts gets to shine.