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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Donovan McNabb #5, Philadelphia Eagles
Donovan McNabb #5, Philadelphia Eagles (Mandatory Credit: Tom Hauck /Allsport) /

Donovan McNabb and Jalen Hurts both took the Eagles to the playoffs in their first full season as the starter.

In both Jalen Hurts and Donovan McNabb’s second seasons, they were handed the keys to the Eagles’ offense. Both experienced their fair share of ups and downs. Both led their teams to the postseason.

McNabb’s sophomore campaign was a tad more impressive (3,365 passing yards, 21 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions). So was his arm talent. We’ll admit that. Number 5’s numbers weren’t what you’d consider being eye-popping by today’s standards mostly because he had not arrived as a passer yet.

McNabb’s biggest strengths were his ability to scramble with the football and his athleticism (stop us if you’ve heard this before). In 2000, Donovan McNabb led the Eagles in rushing yards and rushing touchdowns, finishing the campaign with 629 big ones on the ground and an additional six touchdowns with his legs.

Philly dove head-first into the postseason where the dream would end. Credit a 20-10 loss in the Divisional Round of NFC Playoffs to the hated New York Giants or that.

Like Hurts, there was some criticism as he headed into his second full season as the starter, but they were also alike (and fortunate) because of one thing. They had the comfort of knowing there was no head-coaching change during the offseason.

Hurts had to learn a whole new coaching style and system in 2021 following Doug Pederson’s departure. The adjustment took some time, but once he and Nick Sirianni were on the same page, the offense took off.

Jalen ended his first full season as Philadelphia’s QB1 with 3,144 passing yards, 16 touchdowns, and seven interceptions. Like McNabb, he left a reason for desire in the passing category. Those certainly aren’t headline-grabbing numbers, but also like McNabb, he proved to be a gifted athlete and improviser.

He led the 2021 Eagles in rushing yards (784) and rushing touchdowns (ten). The young quarterback would also lead the team to an NFC Wild Card appearance last season. Unfortunately, unlike McNabb, he was unsuccessful in providing a victory and a trip to the Divisional Round.

We can forgive him for that though, can’t we? Let’s not forget the fact that Philly drew the defending Super Bowl Champions, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, led by the greatest quarterback of all time, Tom Brady.