The Philadelphia Eagles don’t have a Jalen Hurts’ problem. What the team has right now is an offensive identity issue. Problem is, when things start going south the blame usually gets heaped on the starting quarterback.
Hurts hasn’t put the Eagles on his back and single-handedly won them any games in 2021, but he hasn’t lost them any. Statistically, Hurts has held his own and his five rushing touchdowns ranks first among all qualifying quarterbacks. He also has 1,480 passing yards, 18th-best in the NFL. Yet there is a whimper for the team to bench him coming from a few rabble-rousing reporters in the know.
The Inquirer’s Marcus Hayes – a guy who notoriously likes to stir the pot – wrote a column calling on the Eagles to start Joe Flacco. Yes, he actually mentions Flacco by name. Let’s get this out of the way: there is absolutely nothing to be gained from throwing a 36-year-old journeyman (at this point in his career) under center.
Gardner Minshew, maybe. You could make an argument that the former Jacksonville Jaguars starter deserves a look – that’s assuming the organization has little or no faith in Hurts. No one knows the answer to that million-dollar question.
Either way, sending Hurts to the bench would be the wrong move. Philadelphia has to see what Hurts can do over the course of a 17-game schedule. Yet another reporter – Bo Wulf of The Athletic – pondered the idea of “burning it down.”
The focus wasn’t on Hurts as much as it was on selling off high-priced veterans like Jason Kelce, Darius Slay, Fletcher Cox. Miles Sanders is a young asset easily tradeable, too. The Eagles aren’t using him properly and don’t value his long-term potential. This scenario makes sense. It would put the burden of proof on Nick Sirianni to coach better and the front office to draft well.
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Jalen Hurts vs. Nick Sirianni
Nick Sirianni’s play-calling is probably more to blame than anything Hurts has or hasn’t done. The first-year head coach looks confused and unable to draw on the quarterback’s strengths. Or make up for his weaknesses.
Everyone knows Hurts lacks an arm cannon and struggles with accuracy, so utilize the ground game (see: the Baltimore Ravens). It’s been said the Sirianni-Hurts marriage isn’t a good fit. The 40-year-old coach attempted to explain the disconnect, including whether he caters his offense to what Hurts can do.
“I think a wise man avoids all extremes. It’s not like it’s, ‘Hey, here is our offense, learn it and do it and if you can do it, cool, if not, we’re going to fail.’ It’s not that way,” Sirianni told reporters on October 15. “And it’s not like, ‘Hey, we’re going to do everything that you do well and we’re going to scheme it all through.’ Because you don’t know.
“When you try to go and do something, when it’s like, ‘Hey, I’m going to devote everything to this system right here or this style of play right here,’ well you might not know everything there is to know about that, either, right. It’s a both-and. You want some staples that you have in your offense, that we’ve had in our offense for a long time to be there and to be existent if our guys can execute and do it, but then you also want to adapt to your player.”
Eagles Protect Practice Squad Players
The Eagles protected four practice squad players ahead of their Week 7 matchup: T Le’Raven Clark, WR John Hightower, DB Elijah Riley, TE Noah Togiai. All four guys are safe from poaching from rival teams and could be elevated to the active roster on gameday.
The team returns to practice on Wednesday, October 20 after a lengthy break coming off a loss on Thursday Night Football. The Eagles travel to Las Vegas next to take on the Raiders.