While we all sit here analyzing everything Jalen Hurts does, one NFL head coach has already made up his mind.
Broncos head coach Vic Fangio, who 35 years ago coached in Philadelphia with the USFL Stars on Jim Mora’s staff, has spent this week preparing to face the Eagles and Jalen Hurts, and he was pretty clear about what he’s seen on tape.
“I think they have their quarterback,” Fangio said Wednesday. “I’ve been impressed by him.”
Hurts has been a mixed bag this year, and opinions on how well he’s played vary greatly. Hurts has completed 62 percent of his passes, has 11 TD passes and just 4 INTs and has rushed for nearly 500 yards with a 6.0 average and five touchdowns.
Only seven quarterbacks in the league have produced more first downs throwing and running combined.
The Eagles will need to decide after the season whether to go forward with Hurts as the starting quarterback, draft another QB, acquire a veteran or take another route, perhaps letting Gardner Minshew compete for the job.
Fangio has been around forever. Other than one year at Stanford with Jim Harbaugh in 2010, he was an NFL assistant from 1986 through 2018 before replacing Vance Joseph as head coach of the Broncos.
The Eagles and Broncos meet at 4:25 p.m. EST Sunday at Empower Field at Mile High in Denver.
“(Hurts is) a good quarterback,” Fangio told reporters covering the Broncos in Englewood, Colo. “It’s the first time I’ve watched him and prepared to play against him.
“I’ve been very impressed. He has a really good arm. He can be accurate. He obviously runs their zone-read stuff where he’s in the gun and can pull it and run it—the RPO game. He’s very adept at both of those. He did it in college, and they’re doing it now. Great scrambler. Big arm.”
The Broncos are No. 2 in the NFL in points allowed, No. 6 in yards allowed, No. 8 in passing yards allowed and No. in first downs allowed.
So this will be one of the toughest units Hurts has faced so far.
“Any time you get close to the red zone like that, those dual-threat quarterbacks can really hurt you,” Broncos Pro Bowl safety Justin Simmons said Wednesday.
“They can extend plays with their legs and obviously receivers running open in the end zone there. He finds ways to throw them the football and then obviously if nothing is there, he’s able to beat you from sideline to sideline. I mean, what a test for us defensively. We take a lot of pride in red-zone defense, and that’s going to be a big battle.
“Hurts is really special in the way that he … sees the game and scrambles. They have a lot of designed quarterback runs for him, too. Big, physical quarterback, and he’s able to decipher the open field, when to take hits, when to get out of bounds, and things like that. It’s going to be a real test for us to make sure that we’re on top of it - both rush and coverage alike.”
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