The Philadelphia Eagles are ramping up for a possible quarterback change. It all depends on the health of Jalen Hurts’ sore ankle which could sideline him against the New York Jets in Week 13.
Hurts’ absence would open the door for Gardner Minshew. The backup quarterback last saw action in garbage time during a Week 8 blowout win over the Detroit Lions. He saw 14 offensive snaps and went 2-of-2 for 11 yards. Now Minshew is being prepped to make his first start for Philly as a contingency plan by the Eagles’ coaching staff.
Offensive coordinator Shane Steichen said Minshew was at the practice facility on Tuesday where he was getting uploaded on the gameplan. The expectation remains that Hurts will be healed up and ready to play. Either way, the offense won’t be tweaked dramatically to account for either player’s strengths. The Eagles are going to run the ball.
“You know what, we’re going to run what we run, and I think we’ve got to continue to do that,” Steichen said. “We’ve been pretty efficient running the football, and obviously we’ve got to get our pass game to where we want it to be, and that’s the bottom line.”
But no one was naive enough to deny the limitations that a bad ankle could cause for a running quarterback like Hurts. He relies on it to plant and cut, something that could greatly affect the RPO (run/pass option) game.
“Yeah, he’s an explosive runner,” Steichen said. “Obviously, he runs the football really well, so we’ve got to work through those things.”
The latest Eagles news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Eagles newsletter here!
DeVonta Smith Not Open on Final Play
Steichen provided another update on Sunday’s fateful final play that slipped through Jalen Reagor’s hands. DeVonta Smith appeared to be open and waved his arm wildly in the air to signal for the ball. Freeze the frame. Steichen said Giants cornerback James Bradberry “undercut” Smith’s route. That forced Hurts to run the scramble drill and look elsewhere.
“The guy was kind of underneath it,” Steichen said. “It would have been a heck of a football throw if he made it.”
Head coach Nick Sirianni explained how Smith was the first read on the play – 1A, with Dallas Goedert being 1B – before New York swarmed on the crossing route and took Goedert away. Smith had a chance until Bradberry came over. If Quez Watkins had run a better route, Smith probably would have been open.
“We didn’t do a great job executing the route discipline out of that play with DeVonta and Quez,” Sirianni said. “But it turned into a scramble, and we got an open look. Jalen made a good throw.”
Jack Driscoll Officially Hits IR
The Eagles officially placed Jack Driscoll on injured reserve on Tuesday. The starting right guard is out for the year with a high ankle sprain. The team promoted tackle/guard Brett Toth from the practice squad to the active roster to take his spot.
The Eagles haven’t named Driscoll’s replacement, although all signs are pointing at Nate Herbig. The only way he wouldn’t take over would be if Jason Kelce’s knee was bothering him. Herbig serves as the backup right guard and backup center.
“Jack’s played really good football, but Nate Herbig, he’s been here for a while. He’s stepped in,” Steichen said. “He’s played the center position. He’s played the guard position, and he prepares every week. You see him in the meetings asking really good questions. He’s tough.”