Nick Sirianni is hopeful that Jalen Hurts’ sore ankle will heal up over the next two days. If it does, the second-year quarterback will make his 17th career start and continue a mostly strong campaign to be the franchise guy in Philadelphia.
Hurts has thrown for 2,435 yards and 13 touchdowns this season while rushing for another 695 yards and eight scores. Those numbers put him in very elite company, although they haven’t quieted the trade rumors. Remember, Deshaun Watson or Russell Wilson could be available in the offseason. There is also another player lurking in the shadows: Gardner Minshew.
Minshew had largely been forgotten until Sunday’s stinker from Hurts. He walked away from the 13-7 loss with an injured ankle which only clouded the quarterback picture more in Philly. The Eagles finally get their bye in Week 14, so it would make a lot of sense for Hurts to sit Week 13 out. The 23-year-old is most effective when he’s cutting on a dime and breaking ankles in the open field. It’s going to be hard for him to do that with a bum wheel.
Enter Minshew. The former Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback has slung it for 5,541 yards and 37 touchdowns in 24 games. He holds a 7-13 record as a starter and can use his legs if needed. For example, Minshew has 497 career rushing yards. It would almost be a shame not to throw him in there for one game and let Hurts rest up.
“You got to see how these things go, as you guys well know,” Sirianni said of Hurts’ ankle. “We’ll see how the rehab goes the next two days and have more of an update for you on Wednesday.”
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‘Minshew Mania’ Gaining Traction on Twitter
It’s not full-on “Minshew Mania” by any stretch of the imagination, but the idea of sitting Hurts has been gaining traction on social media. Minshew’s upside is obvious: stronger arm, starter’s experience, more accurate/better completion percentage.
The downside is the more serious issue. If Minshew comes in and plays well, it could shatter Hurts’ confidence. Worse yet, it could cause an unnecessary quarterback controversy for a team fighting for a playoff spot.
The Eagles stole Minshew away from the Jaguars for a conditional sixth-rounder on August 28. General manager Howie Roseman joked about adding another conveyor belt to the quarterback factory at the time. It’s probably too soon to ramp up the assembly line.
“Everybody knows our priority on quarterbacks,” Roseman told reporters. “We’re obviously a quarterback – what’s the word? Factory, yes. So, I think it’s a priority for us and we’re always going to invest in that position.”
Passing Game ‘Not Good Enough’
Sirianni gave an honest answer when asked about the Eagles’ passing game. Coming off a game where Jalen Reagor dropped two catchable balls, the head coach put the blame on everyone from the wide receivers to the quarterback. They need a better collective effort from the drop-back passing game.
“Not good enough. We’re not where we want to be in that part of our game,” Sirianni said. “We’re working like crazy to get better at it. I think what you’ve seen is our play-action game has been able to be successful, but when teams know we’re dropping back and when we’re dropping back to pass, that’s where we’ve struggled in the third and longer scenarios.”