The question was asked in a myriad of ways and each time the same answer came back. Jalen Hurts will be the starting quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles in 2022. General manager Howie Roseman has a plan to surround him with more talent and build a championship roster.
Roseman shared the stage with head coach Nick Sirianni during a press conference on Wednesday morning. The main takeaway: the Eagles remain a team in transition but the young players under contract, coupled with three first-round picks, make them dangerous. They can easily go from wild-card playoff pretender to Super Bowl contender. And Hurts will be the guy leading the huddle.
“Yes,” Roseman said when asked if Hurts was the starter. “We got to do whatever we can to continue to help him develop. And how do we do that? By surrounding him with really good players, players who continue to grow — that’s a huge part of developing, they grow, how they are in their second year is not how they’re going to be in Year 4, 5, 6, and 7. And they are also products of the people around them so that’s on us to continue to build this team.”
Philadelphia holds the 15th overall pick (via Miami Dolphins), the 16th overall pick (via Indianapolis Colts), and the 19th overall pick (their own) in the 2022 draft. There has been much talk about the Eagles trading all three picks for Deshaun Watson or Russell Wilson. Never rule anything out, but it doesn’t sound like Roseman is interested in sacrificing the future.
“I think until you’re a team that is hosting home playoff games and getting the 1 and 2 seed you’re in building mode,” Roseman said. “And I think that’s where we are right now. We knew we had things we had to do to build at that time when we sat down [to interview Nick Sirianni last year] and I think it gives us the opportunity with some of the assets that we’ve acquired over the last year to continue to build.”
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Hurts Developed as Passer, Wants to Be Elite QB
The one thing Roseman and Sirianni kept pointing at was Hurts’ development as a passer. The dual-threat quarterback would often rely on his legs and take off out of the pocket when plays broke down early in the year. Not down the stretch. Hurts posted two QB ratings greater than 100 over the final three weeks, plus a 90.9 in Week 17.
“Later in the year, he became a passer as he extended plays, that really helped us down there stretch there,” Sirianni said. “Just really pleased on how he’s developed as a quarterback. Again, you don’t just take into account a game in the playoffs.”
Sirianni was referring to the dismal 31-15 loss to Tampa Bay. Throw that one out. Hurts will learn from it and get better. He went 265-of-432 (61.3%) for 3,144 passing yards with 16 touchdowns and nine interceptions on the year. He also rushed for 784 yards and 10 scores. Hurts’ overall record as a starter is 9-11 (including playoffs).
“Tremendously impressed by his work ethic, his leadership,” Roseman said. “The last time we talked was during camp and we said we wanted to see him take the bull by the horn and he certainly did that.”
Added Sirianni: “We’ve seen so many things that he got better at and that goes into, first and foremost, Jalen and the football character that he has — the desire and the want to of how badly this guy wants to be an elite player on this league.”
Jalen Reagor Needs to Improve
Jalen Reagor is getting demoted. He’ll enter training camp as the No. 3 wide receiver on the depth chart after serving as the No. 2 option in 2021. The second-year man just wasn’t good enough, according to Sirianni. Quez Watkins has leaped over Reagor.
“Jalen Reagor, we want more production from Jalen Reagor and he has all the talent to do so,” Sirianni said. “I like him in that No. 3 spot right now, to be able to make plays because he has skill, he has talent. It’s our job as coaches to get that skill and that talent out of him so it produces on the field.”