Sunday was Jalen Hurts’ first NFL start. And already he’s drawing comparisons to one of the most dynamic quarterbacks in the history of the league.
Former Eagles QB Ron Jaworski was a guest on the Mike Missanelli Show Monday, and Jaws was effusive when asked to break down the maiden voyage for the Eagles’ rookie, a 24-21 win over the Saints and their top-ranked defense.
“[Hurts] played a really good game, really solid game. And when you consider it was his first start as a QB in the NFL. I was very, very impressed. I couldn’t wait to get up this morning, like a kid at Christmas, and plug that [all-22] tape in and see how he played.”
Jaws had plenty of positives about Hurts’ performance – 17-for-30, 167 yards passing, plus another 106 yards on 18 carries – and was asked what stood out in the game.
“His speed. I studied him for the draft¸ I knew he was a mobile guy that could extend the play. But when I’m watching the Saints players – their fast players, linebackers and safeties – he just ran right by them!”
That’s when Jaworski invoked a name that will raise more than a few eyebrows, a name Eagles fans hold dear, and a player Jaworski knows very well.
“His speed reminded me a lot of – I know he’s not as dynamic, I don’t want to put him in the same category as Randall Cunningham, who was my teammate for two years – but teams spied Randall and I thought ‘Well, that’s a waste of time.’ Because you’re gonna put this linebacker out there with a guy who’s just going to out-athlete you, which is just crazy.
That’s what I saw in the game yesterday, they were spying him and he was beating the spy, because he was quicker he was faster and more athletic. You can see Arizona [Cardinals, the Eagles’ next opponent] going to the spy with him, but I don’t think it’ll work based on what I saw yesterday.”
Cunningham, who played his first 11 NFL seasons with the Eagles, is seen as one of the first, and best, true mobile quarterbacks. In 1990, he ran for 942 yards, a record for a signal-caller, since broken by Michael Vick, then Lamar Jackson.
In 135 career starts, Cunningham topped 100 rushing yards in a game three times. Hurts could tie that before we get to 2021.