Philadelphia Eagles, currently 2-5, are struggling—big time. But no player has taken more of the brunt of fans’ ire than second-year quarterback Jalen Hurts.
The former Alabama and Oklahoma star was selected by the Eagles in Round 2 of the 2020 draft—No. 53 overall—and spent the 2020 season behind previous Eagles starter, Carson Wentz. When Wentz left for the Indianapolis Colts in an offseason trade, all eyes instantly turned to Hurts to take his place and usher in a new era for the Eagles in 2021.
However, seven weeks into the NFL season and things have not panned out as well as the team or fans had hoped. The reason? Despite appearing in a handful of games throughout the 2020 season, Hurts only has 148 total passing attempts. At the end of the day, Hurts entered the 2021 season relatively new and inexperienced at the NFL level.
Thus far, Hurts accounts for 1,716 passing yards for 10 touchdowns. His completion rate isn’t too bad at 61.2%, but his QBR rating, 38.8, is a clear tell that Hurts still has a long way to go.
In the most recent 33-22 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 7, Hurts did not have his best outing. He completed only 18-of-34 passes, passing for 236 yards and two touchdowns. However, he was able to rush a total of 61 yards for the Eagles.
The critics of Hurts have been ruthless and relentless, demanding to see more from the second-year quarterback, but in all honesty, how much better can he really be expected to do? Hurts has stepped into a starting role on a team that is in the midst of a significant transition period. One of the biggest transitions being the hire of first-time head coach, Nick Sirianni. Sirianni had previous stints with the Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, and Indianapolis Colts but arrived in Philadelphia inexperienced at the head coach level. This has undoubtedly exacerbated the situation for the Eagles.
On top of that, the Eagles are fielding a young team, placing rookie players, such as rookie wide receiver DeVonta Smith, in key positions. Heading into Week 8 against the Detroit Lions, Smith has 32 catches for 406 yards and one touchdown. Smith could get another breakout opportunity against the Lions as their defense has been allowing around 10 yards per reception, with Smith posting about 12 yards per reception.
Hurts has been thrown to the sharks and told to swim; it is not a shocker that he is struggling to stay afloat. It is important to note, that despite it all, Hurts has made tremendous progress from last season. He is learning on the job. In 2020, Hurts completed only 52% of his passes, as mentioned before, his completion rate now stands at 61.2%. In addition, Hurts’ play in the pocket has had noticeable improvement from last season.
Hurts claims that the offense is close to finally clicking. This Sunday, the Eagles will travel to Ford Field to take on the winless Lions (0-7). The matchup against the Lions’ defense, who currently allows 2,681 total offensive yards, could provide the perfect setting to kickstart the Eagles and Hurts.