Eagles

Eagles mailbag: What can Jalen Hurts learn from Gardner Minshew?

Eagles

The Eagles have finally reached their Week 14 bye so we have time to kill.

That means plenty of time to take a few quick dives into the mailbag this week. I asked for questions and got a ton so we’re breaking them up into a few separate posts.

Let’s start here:

We got several versions of this question. And it’s a very valid one. Going into Sunday’s game, I was very curious to see what the Eagles’ offense would look like with a different style quarterback. Sure, Nick Sirianni wasn’t going to change the offense entirely in a week but it was definitely catered to Gardner Minshew instead of Jalen Hurts.

The biggest takeaway from Minshew’s performance was how efficient he was and how happy he was at times to simply make the easy throw. That’s probably the biggest lesson for Hurts after watching Minshew complete 20 of 25 passes.

Sirianni was asked what specifically Hurts can learn from Minshew:

“It’s a check on this play. ‘Oh, that was a good check.,’” Sirianni said. “A step up with two hands (on the ball) in the pocket on this play and feeling the defender behind him when he laces it to Quez (Watkins). It can be anything.”

The big key there is being willing to check down at times. But there’s a balance to strike because you wouldn’t want the Eagles’ offense to become toothless. And you also wouldn’t want Hurts to stop scrambling to pick up yards, especially in third-down situations. But there are definitely times when Hurts would be better served simply making the easy play.

 

It’s pretty fitting that Minshew’s performance came a week after Hurts was awful in the same stadium against the Giants. The big takeaway from that game, according to Hurts, was that he needed to start simply taking what the defense was giving him. And then that’s exactly what Minshew did against the Jets.

Miles Sanders had a great game against the Jets, finishing 2 yards shy of his career high but then he hurt his ankle again. Injuries have been a theme in Sanders’ career over the last couple seasons.

This is Sanders’ third year in the NFL so he’ll be eligible for a contract extension for the first time this offseason. It’s hard to imagine one getting done, though, for a few reasons.

One of those reasons is that Sanders has been a good player in his NFL career but he hasn’t been great, hasn’t had a 1,000 yard season, hasn’t proven to be the type of workhorse back that would be worthy of a big deal. So if you’re Sanders, it probably makes more sense to bet on yourself and hope to have a bigger season in 2022 in an offense that will hopefully understand how valuable it can be to run the football.

It’s a tough thing for the Eagles to figure out too. Because this season they’ve gotten good play out of all their running backs, including Jordan Howard, Kenny Gainwell and Boston Scott. So would it be worth it to them to pay Sanders big bucks? He’s the most talented of the bunch, but running back is a position where some teams choose to skimp because sometimes cheaper options are good enough to get by. It’ll be a fascinating decision for both parties but I have a hard time thinking a new deal will come this offseason.

We don’t exactly know where the Eagles will be picking yet, but if you’re asking me for the position at the top of my mind, it’s edge rusher. Yeah, the Eagles signed Josh Sweat to an extension but Derek Barnett is about to leave as a free agent and Brandon Graham will turn 34 before next season. It’s been very apparent how much the Eagles have missed Graham since his injury.

We’ll have to see if the Eagles’ picks line up with edge rushers will go. But if it does line up, we know the Eagles value the position and it would fit an immediate and long-term need.

It’s always possible the Eagles use a first-round pick on an offensive lineman and there will be some good ones in this class. It’s not out of the question at all. This could potentially be Jason Kelce’s final season, there also seems to be a good chance Brandon Brooks won’t be back in 2022 and Isaac Seumalo will be coming back from a serious Lisfranc injury. The only thing we really know is that Landon Dickerson will be starting somewhere and my best guess would be right where he is now at left guard. That would mean moving Seumalo when he gets back, but it makes more sense to me to move Seumalo, whether that’s to center or to right guard. Throughout his career, Seumalo has shown his versatility.

 

And even if Kelce and/or Brooks return for 2022, it still shouldn’t stop the Eagles from using a first-round pick on an interior lineman. Some would argue that drafting an interior offensive lineman in the first round isn’t a good allocation of resources but that’s isn’t necessarily true, especially not when you have three picks in the first round.

Not yet. There’s a chance Carson Wentz has already played enough snaps to make it a first-rounder, but he hasn’t hit the mark based on statistical averages. Let me explain. As a reminder, Wentz must either play 75% of the Colts’ snaps or 70% of their snaps if they make the playoffs. If the Colts make the playoffs, then the overwhelming likelihood is that Wentz has already played enough.

If he hasn’t played enough yet, he’s just shy. The Colts have averaged 67.4 snaps per game, which means Wentz would have to play 859.5 snaps to reach 75% for the season at that rate. He’s at 854. So he’ll hit that mark with ease when the Colts return from their bye week in Week 15.

Subscribe to the Eagle Eye podcast:

Apple Podcasts | Google Play | Spotify | Stitcher | Art19 | Watch on YouTube