Eagles Assistant Coach Who Drafted Lamar Jackson: ‘Felt Very Similar in Jalen’

Jalen Hurts

Getty Images Jalen Hurts has been wowing his Eagles teammates in practices.

It’s unclear how much say Marty Mornhinweg has in personnel decisions, probably not much. This quote is still telling.

Following April’s draft, Eagles head coach Doug Pederson and GM Howie Roseman addressed the media to evaluate their incoming rookie class. They touched on a variety of topics and went through each pick one-by-one, including the controversial decision to select Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts in the second round. The infamous “quarterback factory” comment stole all the headlines, but there was another quote buried later in the transcript that stood out.

When Pederson was asked specifically to compare Lamar Jackson to Hurts and whether he leaned on Mornhinweg for advice, the head coach said it was a “fair comp.” Remember, Mornhinweg was the offensive coordinator in Baltimore when the Ravens took Jackson in 2018 with the 32nd overall pick. The 58-year-old coach was largely credited for helping unleash “Superman” on the NFL and now he serves as a senior offensive consultant in Philly. The parallels are hard to ignore.

“Marty obviously was a part of that team that brought in Lamar Jackson, and obviously he did the evaluation process,” Pederson told reporters on April 25. “But having Marty look at Jalen and his skillset and what he can do, and then how they put plans together, how they designed an offense around putting Lamar in his rookie season and allowing him to play certain plays, it’s all part of the process. And for us, moving forward, I want to be clear that Jalen is a quarterback.”

Hurts was elevated to the No. 2 quarterback job in Philly on Sunday. In Baltimore, it took three months but Jackson eventually replaced incumbent starter Joe Flacco in Week 11 of 2018.

“Marty with his expertise in quarterbacks, just take a look at all these guys,” Pederson said at the time. “He felt very similar in Jalen as he did in Lamar.”

Could history repeat itself in Philly? With the way Carson Wentz has struggled through two weeks, don’t rule it out.

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Hurts Makes Impact in Three Offensive Plays

It was an impressive debut for Hurts in Week 2, although the stat sheet doesn’t show it. The dual-threat quarterback was on the field for three offensive plays, gaining no yards and not even touching the football. However, Hurts made an impact.

On the first play, Hurts lined up in the backfield and moved to the right side of the formation after the snap where he served as a decoy following a pump-fake from Wentz. The nifty move cleared out a path for Dallas Goedert on a 10-yard gain down the middle. A few plays later, Hurts spreads out wide as a receiver on the left side. He wasn’t involved in the action at all but his presence out there clearly gave the Rams something else to defend.

“We felt this week with him up, they could give us an opportunity to possibly use him in those situations that we did,” Pederson said about the decision to activate Hurts, “and obviously he went in, executed them well, and it’s a starting point as something we’ll evaluate each week.”

Finally, Hurts trotted out onto the field late in the second quarter after the Eagles recovered a fumble on a Rams’ botched punt return. He lined up in the slot, inside the red zone, and ran a fake end-around to freeze a few defenders. Again, Hurts didn’t touch the football but the Eagles picked up six yards on a hand-off to Miles Sanders thanks to Hurts’ role as a decoy. Expect a larger role for him moving forward.

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