Even if we all disagree about which side of the argument we support, we can understand why the debate exists. Following four starts as QB1 to close his rookie season, the Philadelphia Eagles still weren’t banking on Jalen Hurts. Instead, they held on to the hope that they could repair the burned bridge linking themselves and Carson Wentz. We all know how that turned out.
Though few believed the second-round draftee from Alabama Crimson Tide and Oklahoma Sooners fame would eventually slide past Wentz on the depth chart, that’s exactly what happened. Rumor has it that Carson saw the signs early, and that helped lead to his lack of confidence and on-field deterioration.
Time has flown by. Wentz is gone, and the 2022-2023 NFL season will be Hurts’ third. His second, one that doubled as an 18-week, 17-game audition, was supposed to answer our questions about him, about whether or not he’s the man to lead this franchise. It didn’t do that at all, and that’s why conversations about whether or not the Eagles are in the market for a quarterback remain.
We close in on the NFL Scouting Combine, the next free-agency cycle, and the 2022 NFL Draft. Don’t expect the questions about Jalen Hurts or the rumor mill churning around his name to slow down any.
Jalen Hurts lands in what ESPN calls ‘QB purgatory’.
Here’s something that you’re certain to find as being interesting. One of ESPN’s more trusted voices, staff writer Jeremy Fowler, recently constructed a list of ‘overhaul tiers’ for each of the NFL’s 32 NFL franchises. The Philadelphia Eagles landed in the category of teams who are ‘stuck in QB purgatory’.
Are you interested? We thought you might be. Here’s some of what Fowler had to say on the subject.
"(The Eagles’ priorities are to) take stock of the quarterback position and solidify its future. The lifeless wild-card loss to Tampa Bay raises questions about Jalen Hurts’ 2022 outlook in green. Hurts did an admirable job leading Philadelphia to nine wins and a playoff berth, but his problems against the Bucs, including struggling to see open receivers and bailing from the pocket too early, aren’t new. Philadelphia at least needs to create competition for Hurts, and GM Howie Roseman’s aggressive mentality, the Eagles are bound to be involved in a few big-game QB talks leaguewide. How could they not be, with three first-round picks (numbers 15, 16, and 19 overall)?"
It’s fair to say that many would agree with his assessment. He also mentioned Philly’s offensive line, commending them for their solid play, but he also expresses concern about Philly’s secondary. Again, it doesn’t take much to see where he’s coming from there.
Successful teams often build from the trenches and work their way to the perimeter, but the consistently elite teams field elite quarterbacks. People are worried in Philadelphia, and as stated earlier, even if you believe that they shouldn’t be, you can see why they are.
Everything we thought we liked about Hurts was confirmed in 2022. We knew that he was mature. We knew that he was super-focused and a leader. If that was all that it took to be a franchise quarterback, there’s no question that Hurts would be the guy.
Unfortunately, just being good enough won’t cut it. The NFL’s elite players at the position must also prove that they can win from the pocket on a week-in and week-out basis. Franchise quarterbacks must be able to outduel other signal-callers in that upper tier and elevate teammates. Those are the areas in which questions about Hurts come from.
When he’s shared the field with some of the game’s better talent at the position, he’s normally been outclassed. That doesn’t mean that he won’t improve. There’s no reason to believe that he won’t as he gains experience, but no one knows how much time he’ll be given, not even the Eagles themselves.
How patient do they intend to be? It shouldn’t take long to figure it out, but for now, the franchise is stuck in neutral, asking the same questions that they asked themselves last season:
Is Jalen Hurts the guy? Should Philly explore other options for the position? Have we seen the best that Hurts has to offer, or is he another, shall we say, Russell Wilson? The pressure is as intense as it ever was. We’ll see if it forges Jalen Hurts into a diamond or proves he’s a pipe on the verge of bursting. Stay tuned.