EAGLES

Why opposing coach says Hurts will be 'very easy' to stop

EAGLES

It took five and a half quarters of encouraging play from Jalen Hurts for Eagles fans to remember how to have fun while watching football.

In his first career start, Hurts was unspectacular through the air, but he also avoided mistakes - no sacks, no interceptions - and made plays when he needed to. His athleticism helped him avoid oncoming rushes and extend drives. All things considered, particularly against one of the best defenses in the league this year, Sunday felt like a huge victory.

But at least one coach from around the NFL thinks Birds fans should pump the brakes.

In wondering why Doug Pederson was so hesitant to compliment Hurts after Sunday's win, The Athletic's Mike Sando asked a few coaches around the league what they thought of Hurts' performance against the Saints.

This response from an offensive coach isn't ideal:

"From what I saw, it will be very easy to stop that kid," an offensive coach said of Hurts. "The Saints just weren't ready for some of the stuff they did and he had some good runs. He had a couple wild throws, too. The next defense they play will have a plan for it and it’ll be much harder for him."

Hmm.

I don't doubt there was an element of surprise at play. No one had film on Hurts as a starter with the Eagles before Sunday's game, because it didn't exist. It's the reason rookie quarterbacks can have strong first games before fading as their first year in the league goes on. 

 

But I don't think that's the only reason Hurts was successful on Sunday. 

By and large, this was a similar Eagles team to the one we watched through the first 13 weeks of the season. The offensive line was better, but Hurts still felt pressure and consistently had to escape oncoming rushers. Miles Sanders was effective on the ground and broke a big run. The offense as a whole sputtered in the third quarter.

Hurts was the difference. He was more decisive than Wentz has been this year, he avoided sacks and turnovers better than Wentz has, and he kept plays alive longer to give his pass-catchers extra time to get open. If the Eagles had this kind of quarterback play against the Bengals, Browns, and Seahawks perhaps they'd be first in the NFC East instead of third.

We'll see what Week 15 holds. The Cardinals don't have a particularly stout defense, so we might not get an accurate answer. But if Hurts looks encouraging again, maybe the league will be singing a different tune.

Subscribe to the Eagle Eye podcast:

Apple Podcasts | Google Play | Spotify | Stitcher | Art19 | Watch on YouTube