Jalen Hurts’ ability with his legs is what gives him the potential to be a special player.
But it also might be preventing him from finding the consistency he needs.
Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni was asked about the ups and downs he’s seen from Hurts during the first six games of the season and said, again, that sometimes his 23-year-old quarterback bails on called plays too quickly.
“When it's going well, I feel like he's taking his drop on rhythm, he is being able to it sit in the pocket and able to throw it on time,” Sirianni said. “If something breaks down, he scrambles and gets out of it and makes a play.
“I feel like when it's not going well is when he's quick to escape. That's something that, again, we've talked about here. That's something you're always going to have to — you don't want to take his super power away of escaping and making plays on the run, but we just do want to make sure we're more — we lessen the gap of off-schedule plays and drop-back plays.”
There’s a tricky balance to strike here and it’s easy to watch plays back on tape and second-guess a quarterback’s decision to escape the pocket a second early.
It’s a lot harder for Hurts to make those split-second decisions as 21 other players are flying around the field and as defensive linemen are coming to tear his head off.
It’s important to remember that Hurts’ scrambling ability is what makes him unique. Those off-schedule plays can be huge. But his crutch of going to it too early could also be holding him back from running the offense the way it’s designed to run.
“No one sees what I see out there,” Hurts pointed out, “but just have to go out there and execute and make it right. That’s my job, is to make it right.”
Hurts needs to be better in these situations and make the correct decisions more often than not. But this isn’t all on him.
There are things Sirianni can do as the designer of the offense and the play caller to help out his young QB.
“You got to do it with making him feel comfortable with the plays that you're calling and what you're doing,” Sirianni said. “So, we're talking about the drop-back pass game, the play action game, the screen game. We just got to do things, and that's your evaluation after six weeks. What are we doing well, not doing well?”
The Eagles have to do all they can to make Hurts feel comfortable in the pocket. That means having the line block well, receivers getting open and having plays that he feels good running.
If the Eagles view this as a bad habit, they need to try to break Hurts out of it now.
“Gotta stay in the pocket, make the throw,” Hurts said. “A lot of times I get out early. Stay in there and make the throw.”
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