An organization that surpassed all expectations last fall, the Eagles under second-year Head Coach Nick Sirianni have found themselves in an awfully comfortable spot heading into the NFL Draft and 2022 campaign. A 9-8 season in Sirianni’s debut tenure has placed lofty expectations on signal-caller Jalen Hurts, and whether or not he remains the future under center for a youth-infused Eagles offense has become the question. A year following Carson Wentz’ departure, Hurts entered the 2021 season for the first time with full control of the Eagles offense. No more Wentz means no more sharing snaps during practice, letting him continue his growing rapport with the ever-changing faces of the Eagles wideouts room.
Last fall he showed flashes and a year in which his pocket presence improved while his escapability and knack for the spectacular shined outside the tackle box, Hurts’ projection within the Eagles’ offense has become extremely intriguing. Not only that, but an offense expected to add another piece high in this year’s draft. General Manager Howie Roseman is building a roster with an eye towards the future and for Philadelphia, it’s a win-win.
Similar to the circumstances surrounding the Miami Dolphins and third-year quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, the future is in the now for the Eagles, a slip-up from Hurts in what could be a make or break campaign isn’t the end of the world. Rather, it has allowed both Roseman and Dolphins General Manager Chris Grier to kick their feet up in a prove it year for both quarterbacks, knowing they’ve given their quarterbacks every chance to succeed.
In a not for long league, there’s two-ways teams can go each season. For some, it’s a ride on the broad shoulders of a franchise figurehead under center on the path to success. For others, and a majority of the league, it’s a bumpy journey littered with winding roads, treacherous waters thanks to a quarterback carousel on its ever-turning axis. It’s the simple truth in football: either you have a franchise quarterback, or you don’t. For both the Eagles and Dolphins this fall, the ultimate 17-game test sits in front of the face of two young players who have yet to fully soak in the glory of leading an NFL offense.
With two first-round selections next spring, the plan is simple and solvable. For Hurts and the Eagles, an ultimatum has been established. A successful campaign with improvement in multiple facets should earn him the full-time gig for years down the road. However, if the lapses in play we’ve seen during his 19 career starts increase, Hurts may find himself becoming the finger of blame as to why Philadelphia finds itself near the bottom of the division. In turn, Roseman would have plenty of ammo for next spring to make a move and grab a Bryce Young (Alabama) or C.J. Stroud (Ohio State) – two talents expected to challenge for the top overall selection this time next year.
It’s up to Hurts. Succeed, and the Eagles find themselves in a great spot to build around the dual-threat talent for the next handful of years. Falter, and Roseman takes the keys away to add a fresh arm next year. A harsh reality leading up to just his second full season in charge, the oft-criticized figure in Roseman has placed the Eagles in an opportune spot within a wide-open NFC East.