Eagles Insider

What exactly do the Eagles have in Hurts?

Eagles Insider

Nine games in, what do we know about Jalen Hurts?

Not a whole lot.

Hurts has played 30 snaps, thrown two passes, carried the football 11 times for 50 yards and really made a minimal impact on the Eagles’ offense.

Is he the Eagles’ quarterback of the future?

Is he a multidimensional stud who’s capable of making plays from anywhere on the field?

Is he a bust?

Something in between?

There’s no way of knowing. We just haven’t seen enough. But so far, the results have been mixed.

The good? Hurts had a 20-yard run against the Ravens and a 14-yard run against the 49ers. He completed an 18-yard pass to Richard Rodgers against the Steelers and a 9-yarder to Travis Fulgham against the Cowboys. He got enough attention from the Ravens that it opened up room for Miles Sanders to take off on a 74-yard run.

The bad? The big plays have been few and far between. In the last three games, he has four carries for one yard, plus a failed two-point conversion run. He has 53 scrimmage yards, which puts him last among the 14 skill players taken in the second round this year. He’s 0 for 3 on two-point conversions. He’s fumbled three times, although two were on low snaps.

There were 29 players taken in the second round this year, and 21 of them have started at least one game. Hurts is averaging less than four snaps a game.

It’s still not clear exactly what the Eagles want Hurts to be. As bad as Carson Wentz has played, Doug Pederson has said he won’t bench him in favor of Hurts. 

 

But Hurts is only 22 and it took him just one week as the No. 3 quarterback before the Eagles moved him ahead of five-year veteran Nate Sudfeld into the No. 2 spot. So they’re clearly OK with him playing if Wentz gets hurt.

It’s interesting to note how the Eagles have used Hurts.

He has no offensive touches in the first quarter and just four in the second quarter but seven in the third quarter and six in the fourth. So Pederson clearly likes springing him on defenses later in games.

Eight of his 17 touches have been on first down and five on second down, with just one on third down. The other three were two-point conversions.

Pederson was asked earlier this week why the Eagles keep Wentz on the field when Hurts takes snaps from center, since it removes one possible weapon for Hurts to throw to and makes the Eagles easier to defend.

“It’s a great idea,” he said. “Something we’ll look into.”

All player interviews are virtual this year, and the Eagles haven’t made Hurts available to the media since July 29. 

Pederson said he likes what Hurts gave the Eagles early — he gained 49 yards on his first five carries — but said teams have caught on to what the Eagles are doing with him.

“I think early on, we've been very explosive with him. Gosh, I think we were close to 11 or 12 yards per attempt when he was in the game, something like that,” he said. “I would say here recently, defenses are playing him a little bit differently. They have had chances to scout him. … We could probably do a little bit more with him.”

Hurts has played 30 snaps and thrown just two passes, so if teams guess that he’s not going to throw the ball, they’re generally going to be correct. That also makes him easier to defend.

It’s easy to dismiss Hurts as another Howie Roseman draft pick who isn’t contributing anything. And you certainly want the 53rd pick to make an impact as a rookie and be a starter or key contributor by his second season.

But Hurts is a young rookie who didn’t have minicamps or an offseason, and there have been enough moments that catch your eye to think, 'Hey, maybe there’s something there.'

Exactly what? It’s a great question. 

And it’s just too early to know.

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