This offseason the Eagles have refused to acknowledge that, obviously, Jalen Hurts is their starter for the 2021 season.
But Howie Roseman finally gave in this week. Sort of.
“Certainly you’re judging him off of four NFL starts in a tough situation with all the injuries that we have,” Roseman said to Sirius XM radio's Bill Polian and Bill Lekas. “We want to see him grab the job and kind of run with it and see what he can do over a period of time.”
This is somewhat significant because just before the draft, head coach Nick Sirianni and Roseman both had their chances to give Hurts a vote of confidence and didn’t. And Sirianni declined to name Hurts the starting quarterback despite the fact that the only other quarterback on the roster is veteran Joe Flacco, who is at the backup stage of his career.
Remember what Sirianni said in the Eagles’ pre-draft press conference, that it was too early to name starters at any spot: “We're going to have competition at every position.”
But after they didn’t take a quarterback in the 2021 draft, the Eagles will use the 2021 season to figure out what they really have in Hurts, the 53rd pick from 2020.
It makes sense that the Eagles will be rooting hard for Hurts to make a giant leap this season. Not only would it obviously be a good thing for him to help them win games this season, but if Hurts ends up being the long-term starter, then the Eagles have a ton of draft picks to build the team around him. Right now, they’re looking at 10 picks in the 2022 draft, including two or three picks in the first round.
If the Eagles decide they need to get a quarterback next offseason, they’ll certainly have the ammo to do it. But if they find out that they want to stick with Hurts, they’ll instead be able to build a very strong team around him.
Back in March, Roseman said there was a lot of room for Hurts to improve and that the Eagles were excited about his ability and opportunity with a new coaching staff.
Because as a rookie, Hurts started four games (Eagles went 1-3), completing 52% of his passes for 1,061 yards with 6 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. He had some good moments and some bad but it was tough to evaluate him on a small sample size in suboptimal conditions.
The Eagles should be able to get a cleaner evaluation on Hurts this year. The Eagles’ offensive line should be healthier, they drafted a receiver in the first round (one who has played with Hurts before) and Hurts will have a new head coach with a fresh scheme designed to play to his strengths.
The hope here should be that after the 2021 season, the Eagles will know whether or not Hurts is “the guy.”
“The more you can see a player play, the more you can make decisions on that player,” Roseman said. “… We want to be in a situation where we get as much information as possible, give him the best opportunity, build that offensive line, give him the right weapons, put him in a system that really maximizes his ability and then go from there.”
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