Now that we know it’s Jalen Hurts, I have four words for Eagles fans who've already decided he can't play:
Give him a chance.
That’s all he wants. That’s all he deserves.
Go into this with an open mind. Let his play decide for you. Don’t dismiss him for the wrong reasons.
The 2020 season split Eagles fans into two camps. The Carson loyalists and the Carson haters. There wasn’t a lot in-between.
And Hurts was the unwitting victim of that dynamic because the Carson loyalists dismissed Hurts from the jump, since he’s the guy that replaced Wentz last year and ultimately - at least indirectly - led to his departure.
Now Wentz is a Colt and it sure sounds like Hurts is the Eagles’ quarterback moving forward, and if you’ve already made up you’re mind that the kid can’t play, all I can tell you is this:
There is absolutely no way on Earth anybody can have any clue what a quarterback’s ultimate ceiling is based on 3 1/2 starts in the middle of a pandemic with no preseason games playing with practice squad receivers behind a Band-Aid offensive line for a coach who’s about to get fired.
Really, it's impressive how many positives we saw from Hurts considering everything he was up against.
Last month, I wrote about the dramatic improvement Eagles quarterbacks such as Donovan McNabb, Nick Foles, Randall Cunningham and Carson Wentz made from Year 1 to Year 2.
Guys get better. They learn. They practice. They grow. They improve.
Nobody is a finished product after four games, and if you’re convinced Hurts can’t be a successful quarterback in this league based on his late-season cameo in December, then you’re just not being honest with yourself.
The reality is Hurts did some very good things under very difficult circumstances this past fall. His 1,085 combined passing and rushing yards are 2nd-most ever by a rookie QB in his first four games, and he became the first QB ever with two games of 320 passing yards and 60 rushing yards within his first four starts.
Yes, he fumbled too much. Yes, he threw three interceptions and completed 52 percent of his passes.
Those things can be fixed.
And don’t forget, two of his three INTs came in a second half against the Cowboys where Doug Pederson called 31 pass plays and 6 running plays. Not exactly an ideal position for a young QB to succeed.
Picture the 2021 Eagles. Healthy o-line. Ja’Marr Chase, DeVonta Smith or Kyle Pitts lining up opposite Dallas Goedert, Jalen Reagor and Travis Fulgham. Miles Sanders in the backfield. Nick Sirianni actually mixing in the run and pass. And Hurts running the show.
Maybe it won't work. But maybe it will. No way to know yet.
If we were giving up on quarterbacks after four starts, Peyton Manning, Troy Aikman, Steve Young and John Elway would have never made it to their 5th start.
Here’s a novel concept: Let’s find out what we really have before we draw any conclusions.
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