Eagles must avoid over-usage of Jalen Hurts in their offensive rushing attack

The Philadelphia Eagles defeated the Los Angeles Rams in week 5 to earn their fifth win in as many weeks; however, the team needs to be careful with their quarterback Jalen Hurts.
Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles
Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles / Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Cout them. Five weeks and five wins for the Philadelphia Eagles. They remain perfect after their 23-14 win over the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday, October 8th. The offense as always ran through quarterback Jalen Hurts. He was masterful.

QB1 threw for more yards than Matthew Stafford (303 versus 222). He led the Eagles in rushing yards (72). He most certainly possesses the talent to pass and run the ball effectively, but the Eagles may be making a mistake by relying on him so much in the running game, especially this early in the season.

Everyone wants to ensure he is healthy enough to play in all 17 games. There's also an obvious need for him to be available for what we hope is another deep postseason run.

Hurts shined on Sunday, carrying the ball 15 times for 72 yards. He also scored a rushing touchdown and averaged 4.8 yards per carry. Here's the thing though. He attempted just two fewer rushes than lead back D'Andre Swift (17 carries),

Kenneth Gainwell recorded 17 rushing yards on seven carries. Boston Scott didn't run the ball once. Rashaad Penny again was inactive.

Hurts was Philly's most effective runner in Week 5, but putting him in harm's way can't be the game plan every week. Running the ball puts him at risk of taking unnecessary punishment which we have seen leads to injury.

Last year, a shoulder injury sustained during a Week 15 win over the Chicago Bears forced hm to miss two games. With a red-hot San Francisco 49ers team continuing to win and the Dallas Cowboys nipping at Philly's heels, the Birds can't risk having their signal-caller miss any action. You've seen how bad Marcus Mariota is.

With the Eagles depth at running back, Jalen Hurts should not have to carry the load.

This is a very talented roster. The 2023 Eagles have four talented running backs. There's no reason for Hurts to take a beating. Offensive coordinator Brian Johnson should call designed runs less often. Philly's coaching staff should consider utilizing the seldom-used Boston Scott and activating Rashaad Penny (unless the decision has already been made that Penny is cooked).

If the latter theory is inaccurate, both Scott and Rashaad Penny have demonstrated that they are talented enough to take some of the workload in the running game off of Hurts. They are also change of pace backs in the event that either Swift or Gainwell are ineffective.

Scott has just six carries this entire season so far but is averaging seven yards per carry. He's also a threat in the receiving game. Penny was one of Philadelphia's prized offseason acquisitions (or, at least we thought he was).

The former Seattle Seahawks star has only attempted three carries this season, but we know he is talented when healthy. He enjoyed success before coming to Philly. Since 2019, he has averaged 5.7 yards per touch in 43 games. His injury history plagued him throughout his career, but he has been effective when healthy.

The Eagles would be wise to give as much help to Jalen Hurts in the running game as possible. He has the capability to take over the game and has done so, but other players need to step up to help Philly preserve him for later in the year.

The Eagles are scheduled for their bye in Week 10. That game is preceded by a big game versus the Dallas Cowboys in Week 9 and a tough stretch of games against top-caliber teams that begin in Week 11 (the Kansas City Chiefs) and go on to Week 15 (the Seattle Seahawks).

This team has no shot of reaching the next Super Bowl without Jalen Hurts. They may want to consider that while constructing their weekly offensive strategy. Jalen has missed three games during the two most recent Eagles seasons because of injury, and every time he is put in harm's way, it's hard not to hold one's breath.