Jalen Hurts Can be a Franchise QB
Jalen Hurts is now the starter in Philadelphia. Did anyone think we’d be saying that this year? I didn’t; however, with Carson Wentz’s play hitting rock bottom, Doug Pederson had no choice but to make the change. The former Alabama and Oklahoma man has his chance. It will not be easy of course; as Hurts will have to overcome difficult circumstances.
The Eagles dearth of elite receivers is hurting them; Philadelphia also has injuries on the offensive line, and the coach is on the hot seat. Those issues would make it challenging for any quarterback; a rookie under center might magnify those problems. Yet, Hurts’ talent and unique path to the NFL could mean he is the best man for the job and in doing so, Jalen Hurts may potentially prove he is a franchise quarterback.
Two Schools of Thought
Jalen Hurts started at the most difficult position in football at two powerhouse universities. He started his career at Alabama, where he excelled. Hurts was a first-team SEC player in his freshman year. His touchdown to interception ratio of 23-9 was stunningly efficient.
His sophomore year was even better. Hurts’ TD:INT ratio was 17-1 with a passer rating of 150.2. Jalen Hurts demonstrated that despite his small size, he could excel as a passer. Hurts had a quick release, and he could fire the ball into his receivers. His adjusted yards per pass had jumped up as well.
In addition to excelling as a passer, Hurts was a superb runner. He had back to back years where he almost got 1,000 yards rushing. When in shotgun, Hurts displayed great acceleration plus patience when looking for a hole to attack. Through two years, Hurts showed poise, precision and panache at the quarterback position. For the most part, nothing could stop him.
Well, not quite. Nick Saban benched Hurts in the championship game in favor of freshman Tua Tagovailoa. The backup led Alabama to an overtime win and the team never looked back. Hurts’ time in Tuscaloosa was over.
However, Lincoln Riley and Oklahoma threw him a lifeline. The school that had churned out Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray now wanted Jalen Hurts. Under Riley’s stewardship, Hurts had a fantastic year. It was the best year of his collegiate career. He finally broke the 1000 yard rushing barrier, while his passing was more accurate and productive than ever.
One cannot underestimate the resilience Hurts displayed after his Crimson Tide career ended. For a young man to go to a blue-chip program and get told, ”You are not good enough, ” is a devastating blow. Yet Hurts bet on himself, he went elsewhere to prove the critics wrong, and it was the best decision he could have made.
The mental toughness Jalen Hurts displayed will stand him in good stead for the NFL. Even more so, Hurts demonstrated a good aptitude for the game. After all, in one offseason he adapted to a new system perfectly. That will also help him in the NFL, possibly sooner rather than later.
Jalen Hurts Needs a Fair Chance
Being a starting quarterback in the NFL is a dream for any young player. Yet, being the Eagles quarterback right now is not resembling a dream. A makeshift offensive line coupled with a mediocre receiver corps makes this a challenging situation for Hurts.
Nevertheless, his skills allow coach Doug Pederson to tailor a gameplan around him. When Wentz was at his MVP best, he exhibited dual-threat quarterback traits. Wentz was a solid runner, but he doesn’t compare athletically to Hurts. His acceleration makes a dangerous man in the backfield.
If Doug Pederson can go back to that heavy RPO offense of 2017, Hurts has a chance. Not only can the threat of running halt the pass rush, but it also can open up a lot more play-action and bootleg plays.
Hurts’ mobility can see Pederson move the pocket if need be. That can be a vital ingredient in protecting him and assist the wideouts in giving them more time to get open. The team rallied around Hurts as he came off the bench and they must have his back going forward. The Eagles team looks fragmented with Wentz on the field. With Hurts on the field, they must support him; the veterans must encourage and corral him through the game.
And then he needs his head coach’s backing. Pederson must trust the rookie. He can’t send Jalen Hurts out there and treat like a backup. Sean Payton has nurtured and designed a plan around Taysom Hill. He has put his player in the best position to succeed; similarly Pederson must do the same for Jalen Hurts; otherwise, the results will be dire.
Be Patient with Jalen Hurts
The Philadelphia fanbase is notoriously tricky. They can turn on players in an instant; they even threw snowballs at Santa Claus.
However, this year the Eagles need to wake up and realize this team is not good. It is not a Super Bowl team; they need to have patience with their rookie quarterback. Be aware that the opposition is better than the Eagles, be mindful that their offense lacks stars and give Hurts a chance.
If the Eagles believe he can be the future, then the team needs to give him a long leash. Don’t harshly criticise him or bench him if he has difficulty. Given the fact that Philly’s next game is against the surging Saints, of course the organization must be realistic. Hurts will have problems but build him up, don’t knock him down, that’s how you ruin young players.
Hurts has the right attitude and ability to succeed in the NFL. If he is to do it in the City of Brotherly Love, he needs the support and time from everyone. If not he’ll go and fly somewhere else, while the Eagles are stuck on the wrecked Wentz Wagon.