Remember when Jalen Hurts versus Russell Wilson was a discussion?

Russell Wilson #3, Denver Broncos (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)
Russell Wilson #3, Denver Broncos (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images) /

There are times when it seems like saying ‘I told you so’ is bush league. This isn’t one of those times. We at Inside The Iggles would like to remind you that we told you so. On more than one occasion, we told you that, if given time, Jalen Hurts would be fine and a more than capable quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles. We advised you on several occasions that acquiring Russell Wilson would be a mistake. As is the case more often than not, we hit the bullseye.

Sure, as any good publication would do, we examined every side of the discussion. We gave you the reasons why Philly would move on if they decided to do so. We examined the quarterbacks who would enter the NFL Draft in 2023. There were even times when we looked at available trade or free agency options if Jalen failed.

We knew he wouldn’t fail. He was too driven, too talented, and too mature to do so. Still, there was the need to provide every piece of the puzzle. Here’s what we found out. Every time we put Jalen Hurts under the microscope it was obvious that he had what it takes to be successful. It was obvious that Philly had something special in the former Crimson Tide/Sooners signal-caller, or at least, it should have been.

It appears that ignoring Russell Wilson and sticking with Jalen Hurts was the right decision.

Now, don’t read what hasn’t been written. Don’t hear what hasn’t been said. Sure, when a possible Philadelphia Eagles acquisition of Russell Wilson became the hot topic, we examined every side of the discussion. Why wouldn’t we have done so? We’re talking about a future Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee that plays the game’s most important position, a position where, admittedly in the Eagles nest, there were concerns.

In the end, there were too many reasons to steer clear of any temptation to pursue him. He was aging. He was too expensive. The Eagles would have had to mortgage the future, i.e. multiple first-round draft choices (and possibly Jalen Hurts) to acquire him. He also didn’t want to come to Philly. That alone should have been a reason to say no.

‘DangerRuss’, chose the Denver Broncos. You were advised that Philly was wise to steer clear of mortgaging the future to acquire him. We were mocked. We received some nasty emails and saw some derogatory statements in the comment section, but we stuck to our guns.

We kept telling you Jalen Hurts is the guy. We told you that Jalen Hurts, if given time to develop, would be fine. Fast forward, and he and Russ are seemingly headed in opposite directions. Wilson is on the decline while Jalen’s star continues to rise.

Midway through the 2022-2023 NFL season, here are the numbers:

Jalen Hurts

  • Eight starts, 239 pass attempts, 163 completions, 2,042 yards passing
  • 68.2% completion percentage, 12 passing TDs, two interceptions
  • Passer rating: 107.8, QBR: 62.5
  • 88 rushing attempts, 326 rushing yards, and six rushing touchdowns

Russell Wilson:

  • Seven starts, 228 pass attempts, 134 completions, 1,694 yards passing
  • 58.8% completion percentage, six passing touchdowns, four interceptions
  • Passer rating: 83.5, QBR: 35.5
  • 25 rushing attempts, 113 rushing yards, and one rushing touchdown

Numbers don’t always tell the full story, but Russell Wilson isn’t passing the eyeball test either. Clearly, something seems to have gone awry. The most important stat is wins and losses though, and that’s where Jalen holds a distinct advantage. The Eagles are 8-0. Wilson has led his team to a 3-4 mark after seven games.

No one loves the Philadelphia Eagles more than Inside The Iggles. Even with that being said, we’ll be honest. We knew that Jalen would take a huge step forward in year three, but none of us saw this coming.

We had what we thought were valid concerns about some of the aspects of Jalen Hurts’ game. We also knew that the sample size was too small to make any final decisions. Something about him made us believe he’d be okay and he’d take a huge step forward in year three. We just didn’t think he’d be a legitimate MVP candidate midway through his third season.

Sure, we expected great things. We saw the potential. We also thought it would take some time, so we’d be lying if we said that we knew we’d be discussing a completion percentage that was just under 78 and games where he threw four touchdown passes without attempting any passes in the red zone. Think about how hard it is to do that.

Jalen’s maturity is both genuine and refreshing. Yes, we all know that hard work is supposed to yield great fruit, but we can still be honest enough to say that, even though we’re fans of his, we had no idea that what we’re seeing was possible from a young man that still hasn’t started 30 games in the NFL yet. We were wrong in that aspect, and we’re thrilled that we were.

Playing the quarterback position is tough. That’s why they dominate the discussion every time the NFL Draft rolls around. Every year, the worst teams try and find another. Still, there’s so much for an NFL franchise to consider when selecting one.

Is our head coach offensive or defensive-minded? Do we have the right system to allow him to develop? How talented is our offensive line? Do we have skill position players that are talented enough?

Jalen Hurts entered the 2022-2023 NFL season with the same coaching staff he had one year prior. That’s the first time that he has had that luxury since high school. We advised you that would be huge in QB1’s development, and it has been. That’s been one of the largest contributing factors to his success.

The long and short of everything is this. The word ‘fan’ is the root word of both fanaticism and fanatical. Fans can be shortsighted and have a microwave mindset. They are often impatient, and if success isn’t immediate, we want to quickly put prospects out to pasture.

No one wants to allow players to develop. Fans often overreact to what they most recently witnessed during the most recent game. Why is that the case? It’s simple. Guys like Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert spoil us.

Things clicked for those two so quickly that we believe that will be everyone’s story. Often, it won’t be. When it isn’t, there’s a tendency to overreact.

When guys play well, they’re celebrated, and if they have an off-day, they ‘suck’. Keep this in mind though. We’ve compared Jalen Hurts to Donovan McNabb, Josh Allen, and, yes, Russell Wilson. None of those guys saw immediate success. All of those guys faced some of the same criticism that Jalen Hurts has endured, but here’s what’s intriguing. You can see a little of Jalen Hurts in all of them.

He’s taken his lumps. He’s made his mistakes, and the hard work has seemingly paid off. The story isn’t over. Jalen will be the first to admit that, but everyone should feel a lot better about the Eagles’ quarterback now. He still hasn’t hit his ceiling. All he needs to do is continue his one-day-at-a-time mindset and keep making those daily rent payments. If he does that, he’ll be even better than he is now. Truth be told, there’s no limit to how high QB1 can soar.

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