EAGLES

Evaluating Hurts a month into the season

EAGLES

It’s too early to make any definitive judgments. It’s too early to decide if he’s the guy or not. It’s too early to tell if the Eagles will need to find another quarterback.

It’s definitely NOT too early to realize that Jalen Hurts has a real shot at this.

Eight starts into his career, four starts into his first season in a new offense, Hurts has produced enough impressive moments, has made enough wow plays, to make this awfully interesting.

We’ve seen some good and some bad from Hurts. But most importantly we’ve seen growth. Compare Hurts this year to Hurts last year, and it’s not even close. Considering the kid’s work ethic and his attitude and his coachability, there’s no reason to think that improvement won’t continue.

He’s still missing some open guys. We all saw the Ertz overthrow in the end zone Sunday and the bad misfire to Greg Ward. A week earlier he missed a wide open Dallas Goedert on what would have been a big gainer.

It happens. Not a lot of 23-year-olds with eight career starts under their belt are finished products.

Look at the big picture. This is a guy who completed 52 percent of his passes as a rookie and is at 66 percent this year in almost exactly the same amount of playing time.

Remember how he fumbled nine times in four starts last year? He’s fumbled three times this year. Remember how he was sacked 13 times last year? That’s down to eight. Remember how he kept turning the football over? Six last year, two this year. Remember that 55.2 passer rating last year after halftime and how it supposedly proved he was easy to figure out or something like that? He’s got a 98.8 passer rating this year after halftime.

 

If you stop obsessing over a missed throw here or a bad decision there and watch Hurts play football, you’ll see a kid filled with confidence and poise who’s getting better before our eyes.

The Jalen Hurts we saw Sunday made good decisions in the pocket, spread the ball around to a bunch of receivers, got the ball down the field, used the entire field, ran when it made sense to run and got the ball into the end zone.

Now, is the consistency there that you want from a franchise quarterback? Nope. A week earlier in Dallas he wasn’t very good. But if you look at the improvement he’s already shown, there’s no reason to think he’s not capable of performing at a high level every week.

He’s 23.

There are 13 quarterbacks 25 and under starting in the NFL right now, and only two – Kyler Murray and Joe Burrow – have recorded better numbers than Hurts. And that’s with a new coach and scheme, an ever-changing offensive line, young receivers and largely without the benefit of a running game.

I don’t want to go too deep into the comparison game, but a lot of peoples’ expectations are ridiculous and out of whack.

Consider this: Hurts has thrown 12 touchdowns and only 5 interceptions in his first eight starts, and only 14 other QBs in NFL history have done that. Among them, Dan Marino, Kurt Warner and Aaron Rodgers.

Sitting here four games into the season, Hurts is top 10 in interception ratio, passing yards, passer rating, yards per completion and yards per game. Not to mention the 3rd-highest rushing average in the league.

If the season ended today, he’d have the 5th-highest passer rating in Eagles history, the 4th-highest completion percentage and the 4th-best interception ratio.

But the season doesn’t end today. Hurts has 13 more games to learn, to work, to study, to practice, to improve.

Maybe it won’t happen. Maybe he’ll just never find that consistency. But I like what I’m seeing. He’s got a chance.

And if you’ve already made up your mind he’s not the guy, I just have to wonder what you’re basing that on.

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