Encouragement Jalen Hurts can find from Donovan McNabb’s Eagles tenure

Jalen Hurts #1 of the Philadelphia Eagles (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Jalen Hurts #1 of the Philadelphia Eagles (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /
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Jalen Hurts can make the same jump in his third season as Donovan McNabb did in his.

The pressure is on Jalen Hurts to show in his third season that he is the franchise quarterback of the Philadelphia Eagles. Hey, it can be done. The greatest quarterback ever to wear an Eagles jersey, Donovan McNabb, had a similar start to his career as Philly’s current QB1 has had.

Does anybody remember how McNabb was greeted by Philly’s fans? The former first-rounder was booed by his new fan base in the 1999 NFL Draft. Sure, some would argue that Birds fans were actually booing the organization’s decision to ignore Ricky Williams, but you get the idea.

When Hurts was drafted, there were no boos, but no one was excited (other than Doug Pederson). Fans took to social media to express their outrage. There wasn’t much of a buzz surrounding Hurts’ arrival. Philadelphia still had Carson Wentz who was supposed to be the franchise quarterback, and there were a ton of needs to fill at other positions.

In McNabb’s first season, Andy Reid made the decision not to throw his young rookie in the lions’ den right away. Donovan sat behind Doug Pederson, making various appearances here and there before being given the starting nod in Week 10 versus Washington. Prior to that, much of his experience came in late action which allowed him to get a taste of the speed of the pro game.

Unlike McNabb, Hurts wasn’t being groomed for the starting job in his first season. He was mostly used as someone to add a wrinkle to the offense and confuse defenses. Wentz struggled for most of the 2020 season, and he would eventually be benched in favor of Jalen in Week 13 versus the Green Bay Packers before the former Alabama Crimson Tide/Oklahoma Sooners standout would take over as the full-time starter in Week 14 versus the New Orleans Saints.

History has a way of repeating itself, and the Eagles should consider themselves fortunate if Jalen Hurts evolves into the second coming of Donovan McNabb. In the meantime, here are two things the organization and QB1 should think about as we move into year three of Hurts’ young career.