3 things Jalen Hurts needs to do to have a bounce back season in 2024

Hurts, like the Eagles, left the fans in Philadelphia wanting more last season.
NFC Wild Card Playoffs - Philadelphia Eagles v Tampa Bay Buccaneers
NFC Wild Card Playoffs - Philadelphia Eagles v Tampa Bay Buccaneers / Kevin Sabitus/GettyImages

Jalen Hurts wasn't bad last season. Let's get that out of the way. Not by any stretch of the imagination. The guy threw for 3,858 yards and 23 touchdowns -- both career-highs. He also added 605 rushing yards and 15 rushing touchdowns, an NFL record for rushing TDs by a quarterback in a single season.

Hurts led the Philadelphia Eagles to the playoffs for the third straight season and was named to the Pro Bowl for the second consecutive time.

Again, those aren't the stats of a player who played poorly. But, while Hurts was objectively solid in 2023, he didn't necessarily take the step forward that many were hoping he would after a dynamic campaign in 2022 that saw him finish second in MVP voting. Some even felt that his play stagnated, or even regressed slightly.

While that's debatable, the eye test did show that Hurts didn't look quite as comfortable out on the field as he did the previous seasons. There could be several reasons for that, including a nagging knee injury, or the team's offensive approach under Brian Johnson.

Whatever the contributing factors were, we're not here to dwell on them. Instead, let's look forward. Here's a look at three things that Hurts needs to do to author a bounce back campaign in 2024.

Limit turnovers

One area where Hurts took a noticeable step backwards last season was in the turnover department. Over the course of his first two seasons as a full-time starter in 2021 and 2022, Hurts was lauded for how well he took care of the ball. Over those two seasons, he had 15 total interceptions with an average interception percentage of 1.7.

Unfortunately, that trend didn't carry over to last season, as Hurts threw as many interceptions (15) as he had the previous two seasons combined. Only Sam Howell and Josh Allen tossed more picks than Hurts last season. Hurts' interception percentage also increased to 2.8.

When you factor in his nine fumbles, Hurts' turnover total for the '23 campaign was 24 -- fourth-highest in the entire NFL behind only Howell, Allen and Trevor Lawrence. That needs to change next season.

Moving forward, Hurts needs to again prioritize ball protection. That means being more careful in his throws and also doing a better job of holding onto the ball when contact occurs. Hurts has already proven that he can be an extremely productive player while simultaneously limiting his turnovers, so it shouldn't be too difficult for him to get back to that.

Re-establish himself as a running threat

Part of what made Hurts so dynamic early on in his career was his ability to deflate defenses both as a passer and a runner. His ability to beat teams both through the air and on the ground works to keep Philadelphia's offense unpredictable and opposing defenses on their toes, and he got away from that a bit last season.

Hurts had over 750 rushing yards in both 2021 and 2022, and he averaged over 50 yards per game and 5.5 yards per carry during those two seasons. That production dipped dramatically in 2023 when Hurts tallied 605 rushing yards with an average of 35.6 yards per game and 3.9 yards per attempt.

Whether it was Brian Johnson's system, a nagging knee injury, or a combination of both, Hurts just didn't look quite like the same explosive runner last season, but the hope is that was an anomoly and not the new norm.

Spread the ball around

The Eagles have two dynamic, star receivers in A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith, and those two guys deserve a large portion of the team's targets. But, Hurts could do a bit better of a job spreading the ball around and feeding more mouths next season. After all, the more players involved in an offense, the more difficult it becomes to defend.

Brown had 106 receptions last season. Smith had 81. There was an enormous drop-off after that, as Quez Watkins was the team's third-leading wide receiver with, wait for it... 15 receptions.

Now, tight end Dallas Goedert had 59 receptions and running backs D'Andre Swift and Kenneth Gainwell both had over 30 receptions. So, it's not like the passing attack was all Brown and Smith, but still, the Eagles need to get more production out of the other receiver spots.

Perhaps the additions of DeVante Parker and Parris Campbell will help them, but Hurts also has to make an effort to get them involved, as he seemed to lock on to Smith, and especially Brown, at times last season. Moving forward, he could try to strike a better balance between feeding the top guys and keeping the others involved.