Revisiting Jalen Hurts’ first career start for the Philadelphia Eagles

Jalen Hurts (Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports)
Jalen Hurts (Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports) /

Say what you want to say about the Philadelphia Eagles‘ current QB1, Jalen Hurts, and the man that preceded him, Carson Wentz. This may change down the road, but as it stands currently, you can’t tell one man’s story without making mention of the other.

Some say the writing on the wall for Wentz came early. There are stories we’ve heard that suggest when Wentz first watched Hurts operate during their first and only training camp together, the anxiety Philly tried to shield their franchise signal-caller from by moving on from Nick Foles fell on Carson anyway.

Rumor has it that Wentz saw that he no longer belonged and that the new man in town was more popular among teammates in the locker room. That kind of sounds like the Foles story too, doesn’t it? Foles’ teammates built a shrine for Nick when he left. They didn’t really do that for Carson, did they?

We all saw something in Week 13 of the 2020 Eagles season, or at least you should have. An Eagles team that had seemed flat for most of their contest versus the Green Bay Packers found a second wind and a bit of an adrenaline rush the second Jalen Hurts stepped on the field.

Sure, they lost, but they appeared to be playing harder. That’s the day that some point to as the moment when Carson figured out, once and for all, that he no longer belonged. Hurts was named the starter the following week versus the New Orleans Saints, a job that he’s held on to ever since.

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Let’s take a trip down memory lane and peek towards the future as Jalen Hurts prepares for his second full season as the Eagles’ starting quarterback.

There isn’t a Birds fan living in Philly, the Delaware Valley, or anywhere else on Planet Earth that doesn’t know about the direction Carson Wentz’s career has taken since he left town. No one has to be reminded of what’s at stake for Jalen Hurts and the storylines that have surrounded him since seeing his name placed at the top of the depth chart.

Jalen Hurts is preparing for an 18-week, 17-game audition to remain as the Eagles’ starting quarterback moving forward. It feels like he’s been with us for five seasons already, but his first start of the 2022-2023 regular season, one that will be on the road versus the Detroit Lions, will double as the 20th start of his young career.

We have all summer to talk about that, but for now, how about a walk down memory lane? After all, we wouldn’t be discussing his 20th start had he never made his first. Following Hurts five-for-12 outing versus The Pack (he threw one touchdown and one pick in that one), he suited up to lead the Birds versus the New Orleans Saints.

Some say the result may have been different had Drew Brees played, but Hurts led the Birds to victory. He completed 17 of 30 passes and threw a touchdown in the process. He also picked up another 106 yards on 18 scrambles. A 24-21 final score was the result. Click here to check out some of his highlights.

That game taught us something, and the lesson was obvious. Jalen excelled at some things. He needed to work on some other things. There are some aspects of the game that he may never master. None of that can be ignored, but such is life in the NFL as a starting quarterback.

Ever since he popped up on our national radars and we watched him man the controls of the Alabama Crimson Tide’s offense, Jalen has improved every year, and he’s done that while having to master a new offense annually. The 2022-2023 NFL season will be the first he’s had since the prep level in which he will have the same coaching staff for a second-consecutive season. That can’t be ignored either.

Let’s be frank. We all know that Hurts has aspects of his game that must improve. That isn’t a statement that only qualifies as being accurate for him though. Guys like Justin Herbert, Patrick Mahomes, and Joe Burrow spoil us. When success comes for those guys and does so quickly, many assume that should be everyone’s story. It won’t be.

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We talk about Russell Wilson’s brilliance now, but you have to remember. It took time for him to become that guy. He wasn’t a finished product when he entered the league. Neither was Josh Allen or, if you’re looking for an Eagles comparison, Donovan McNabb.

Everyone mentioned was alike in one way. They were allowed to grow and make mistakes. If the same courtesy is given to Philly’s QB1 of the moment, he’ll continue to march on in the right direction. History supports that. The experts confirm it. Jalen Hurts can be truly special if he’s given the time to prove that he can be.