The jury is still extremely out on Jalen Hurts as a potential starter-level quarterback in the NFL. The Eagles have seen their share of highs and lows through his 10 career starts, and he's made both jaw-dropping plays and mind-numbing mistakes.
Does anyone out there have any idea what Hurts actually is as a player?
Former Pro Bowl safety and current ESPN analyst Ryan Clark says he believes in Hurts, but after the Eagles' Week 6 loss to the Bucs at home, he's having a hard time seeing success for the second-year QB.
Yet Clark, like a number of Eagles fans, says it's not Hurts' fault.
Here's what Clark said on First Take after the Week 6 loss, when asked by host Molly Qerim whether he believes in Hurts' potential:
"CLARK: I do believe in Jalen Hurts, but here's the problem: the Philadelphia Eagles are going to ruin Jalen Hurts. He's accounted for 85 percent of the offense this year, both in the run and in the pass. [Thursday] night, you called nine total runs for running backs. Nick Sirianni can't believe that this is the way to bring along a young QB. It's only been 10 games into him starting.
"Is he Justin Herbert? No. Is he Joe Burrow? No. But those guys were picked sixth overall and one overall, those guys have some wide receivers with some experience, some players on the outside we've seen make plays in this league before. The Philadelphia Eagles have none of those things. Jalen Hurts doesn't have any of those things. Jalen Hurts has a first-year head coach who's supposed to be this great playcaller, who isn't calling plays in that manner right now.
"When I look at Jalen Hurts and what he *has* been able to do, some of the statistics he *has* been able to produce, and the leadership qualities that this dude has? I believe in him."
I've got to say, even as someone who doesn't believe in Hurts' ability to be a Top 12 starting QB, I think Clark is on the money here.
Sirianni is repeatedly putting Hurts in position to fail by relying way, way too much on an inexperienced second-round pick to be the complete engine for the Eagles' offense. Hoping Hurts can perform at the level of the recent first-round picks we've seen have immediate success is dooming him for failure; there's a reason he was still available in the second round.
NBC Sports Philadelphia's Reuben Frank has been all over Sirianni's shortcomings as well, including this assessment after the Week 6 loss:
"I can’t help believing Sirianni needs to hand off play calling to someone else, at least for a few weeks so he can step back and regroup as a play caller. There’s a lot of talent on this offense, but it’s being largely wasted. Sirianni just has no flair for this. No idea how to keep a defense guessing. Nothing inventive or creative."
Now, Sirianni isn't the one overthrowing, underthrowing, and sometimes just flat out missing Eagles' pass catchers once the play begins. That's on Hurts, as are his multiple heat-of-the-moment brain farts that can't be explained away by inexperience. At any level of football, not just in the NFL, Hurts should know he's better served throwing the ball away than sliding for a one-yard loss, or throwing an interception down the field rather than throwing the ball away on fourth down.
But mistakes often beget mistakes, and Sirianni's key mistake right now is overloading his young quarterback as Hurts tries to find his footing in the NFL. More balance, immediately, would be a step in the right direction.
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