The quarterback is the most important piece on a team in the national football league. As a result, they are the most scrutinized and most praised. In 2021, Jalen Hurts played his first season as the Philadelphia Eagles starting signal caller.
Most would describe his 2021 season best as “up and down,” as he passed for 3,144 yards, 16 touchdowns, and nine interceptions. Despite his inconsistencies in passing the football, his potential was shown as an athlete and leader.
As we head into 2022, the expectations are higher. Hurts and head coach Nick Sirianni have a season together under their belt. The Eagles 2022 roster has been completely retooled and Hurts has AJ Brown in his arsenal to pair with Devonta Smith and Quez Watkins. Jalen has even bulked up, modified his diet, and shown incredible discipline.
You would think that would breed excitement, right? Wrong.
Jalen Hurts Preseason – Current Pulse:
If you’re a Philadelphia Eagles fan, social media and sports radio are a strange place to be at the moment. Training camp, known as a fun time for Eagles fans, has become a cesspool of overreaction and hysteria. What I’ve had to read on social media for the last week and a half has been cringe-worthy at best.
- “Hurts looks terrible!”
- “Hurts can’t throw the football!”
- “Is this our starting quarterback?”
- “We’re doomed!”
Sadly these Jalen Hurts preseason takes are reactions to mostly non-padded practices with no actual game plan or extensive play-calling. Every single throw or motion has been over-analyzed to the point of frustration. Every snap is a direct indicator of Hurts’ performance to come in 2022, only if the play result is negative.
Any Jalen Hurts preseason praise appears to be shot down immediately, which is pretty backward. Why do we as a fanbase default to the negative?
Sam Bradford & Michael Vick, Anyone?
Did we wipe out everything before 2017 and forget about Sam Bradford’s “stellar” summer? In 2015, the Eagles went 3-0 in the preseason. One of the games featured a win over the Green Bay Packers 39-26, where Bradford threw for 121 yards, 3 touchdowns, and no interceptions. His passer rating was nearly perfect.
In the days that followed, fans (sadly myself included) and media were immersed in the hype that Bradford was suddenly reborn in an Eagles uniform. Philadelphia got humbled rather quickly, as 2015 regular season Sam Bradford threw for 3,725 yards, 19 touchdowns, and 14 interceptions. He also missed three games due to injury. This isn’t a terrible season by any means, but Eagles fans don’t like settling for mediocrity.
Michael Vick was on the opposite side of the spectrum. He looked awful in the 2011 preseason, especially in a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers where his passer rating was only 13.5 percent. He was so awful in the preseason and to start the season that the fans called for Mike Kafka. Michael Vick went on to have a pretty good overall 2010 throwing for 3,018 yards, 21 touchdowns, and six interceptions. He led the Eagles to the postseason, as Sam Bradford did not.
Clearly, preseason is not a barometer of good or bad.
Balanced Camp Analysis
Like Jalen Hurts’ first season as the starter, reports out of training camp have been up and down. Here’s what we know so far about Jalen in a week and a half span of practices:
- He is making wonderful passes in stride.
- He and AJ Brown appear to have natural chemistry.
- Throws across his body seem to be a struggle, generally ending up under-thrown or picked off by Eagles’ defensive backs.
- Under-throws seem to be common.
- His decision-making seems to have improved. More throwaways are happening as opposed to mistakes.
- Overall pocket awareness appears to be improved. He’s reading blitzes well, stepping into throws more, and making quicker decisions as a runner.
- He doesn’t always see running backs in the flat. Could be a great opportunity in real game time for yardage in plays that would otherwise result in a loss.
- The red zone seems to be where he is at his best.
Side note: Can we also relax a bit and acknowledge that it’s likely the Eagles just put together a really good defense this offseason? Why are we not giving them any credit?
The Real Thing Matters.
Although I may be glass half full a lot of the time, I’m honest. I’d be lying to myself if I said there weren’t reasons to worry about Hurts. His throws downfield are still a question mark, as his decision-making and ability to make passes inside the pocket consistently.
These things will never be figured out overnight, or in a week and a half nonetheless. The team hasn’t even had their first preseason game yet! Give Jalen time to learn, and get familiar with his new weapons! Let his leadership emerge.
So where there is some justified worry, preseason doesn’t warrant overreaction. We don’t have to micro-analyze every snap and debate the future of the quarterback position after every under-throw. I get that we want Jalen to be the guy so badly, but as a result, there’s way too much overreaction due to projection.
Hurts’ preseason will be successful if he emerges from it fully healthy. Let coaching and real game-time decisions take care of the rest, and we’ll reevaluate rationally when the NFL regular season begins.
Do you think Eagles fans, media, and coaches should be worried about Jalen Hurts?