Former All-Pro linebacker critiques Hurts' Week 3 play


Jalen Hurts' second and third games of the 2021 NFL season have left a bit to be desired, and the Eagles' overall performance on offense in their Week 3 thrashing by the Cowboys was concerning all over.

Hurts looked very much like a second-round pick who was viewed by many as a developmental player coming out of college, and less like a guy who could be a value-bought starter for the Birds' future.

And apparently Eagles fans, who of course started worrying about Hurts (possibly for good reason!) and his ceiling, aren't the only ones who were unimpressed by Hurts' Week 3 showing.

Ex-Chargers linebacker and two-time All-Pro Shawne Merriman, a guy who played defense at a high level during his brief playing career, offered up his opinion of Hurts' play this week in a column with Gambling.com, and his appraisal was... rough.

Here's what Merriman had to say:

"On Sunday night against the Cowboys, Philadelphia quarterback Jalen Hurts was mentally destroyed. He checked out of that game and was fighting for his life, making some very bad throws. They're another one where the defensive line looks good, like Fletcher Cox and those guys look good, but Jalen Hurts and the offense have to figure it out. 

"You can tell that they're running a lot of out patterns and swings out of the backfield and short routes because I just believe that they don't trust him making big plays yet. So, it's a lot of what I call dumbed-down offensive plays for check-down routes, swings out of the backfield, and then they were running it over and over. When I see offenses doing that and coaches doing that with quarterbacks, they’re not ready to get complex with him on the playbook just yet."



I think the second part of Merriman's take on Hurts rings particularly true, and is of great concern for Eagles fans - and for the organization. It feels like some of the Eagles' current offensive scheme is kid-gloving Hurts instead of letting him play like a true NFL quarterback, which isn't a great sign for his development in Year 2 in the league.

Was this past Monday only his seventh career start? Sure, and I get why some want to be patient with Hurts as he figures out his place in the league. But he's been in the NFL since April 2020, and has been working with pro coaches and alongside pro players for a year and a half now. I'd be a little concerned if ex-pros who played at the highest level think Hurts is being babied by the coaching staff.

Hurts has 14 games to convince us he's a starter-caliber QB. Week 1 was a sign he can be just that, but Weeks 2 and 3 have run extremely contrary. 

We'll see what he has in him.

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