Philadelphia Eagles: Jalen Hurts shines in his preseason reintroduction

(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

Jalen Hurts has been here before.

He’s appeared in 15 NFL games, played all over the offensive formation, and 334 offensive snaps in his maiden voyage with the Philadelphia Eagles split largely over five games down the stretch.

Was Hurts perfect? No. His accuracy was underwhelming, and his overall potential was fairly hard to quantify when you consider just how ill-equipped to compete his offensive unit had become by the month of December. Even if Hurts was unable to ride a razor’s edge margin to the playoffs like Scott “Razor Ramone” Hall, clearly Hurts put enough good work on tape to justify a bigger look in 2021 and, I don’t know, a franchise-altering trade that shipped out a potential $100 million quarterback and straddled the books with enough dead money to pay for a small country’s GDP.

But now, none of that matters. No, regardless of how Hurts got into this position, he’s here now and you’d best believe he didn’t take his first shot at preseason action for granted.

Jalen Hurts turned in a fantastic preseason debut for the Philadelphia Eagles.

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In 2020, there wasn’t a preseason.

With the league calendar shaken up like a darn McDonalds McSalad Shaker (remember them?) Jalen Hurts didn’t take an NFL field against a “real” opponent until the Philadelphia Eagles’ Week 2 contest against the Los Angeles Rams; a contest where Hurts earned three offensive snaps and didn’t log a single statistic.

To make matters all the more tricky, not only did Hurts not get a traditional preseason or training camp to learn the intricacies of Doug Pederson‘s offense – if such a thing exists – but because he was penciled in as the Birds’ QB2, he seldom received opportunities to throw to the team’s first-string receiving weapons. No, Hurts’ first real extended look with the first-stringers didn’t come until Week 13, when he replaced Carson Wentz midway through an eventual loss to the Green Bay Packers.

2021, by contrast, is a completely different story.

With Hurts penciled in as the Eagles’ top quarterback – even if Nick Sirianni won’t give him the official nod just yet – and a borderline normal offseason to shore up his connections across the offensive line, Philly’s new QB1 took the field of Lincoln Financial with the confidence and swagger his new number would suggest and did not disappoint the fans in attendance.

Earning a pair of drives as Sirianni’s top quarterback option, Hurts went 3-7 for 54 yards and zero touchdowns split over 10 offensive snaps. He showed good poise in the pocket, even better instincts on when to extend the play with his legs, and good touch delivering the ball to his wide receivers. If it wasn’t for a pair of drops to Zach Ertz and Jalen Reagor – the latter of which was a tad inaccurate – Hurts may have scored a touchdown on his opening drive and may have picked up another if he had a little bit better placement on a go-route to preseason star Quez Watkins.

And best of all? Hurts was willing to throw the ball away instead of suffering a crucial, momentum-killing sack outside of the pocket.

Boy if that would have happened more often last season… *sigh* I digress.

If you don’t know Quez Watkins, you will soon. dark. Next

Is the sample size small? Yes. If you started watching the game even 15 minutes late you surely didn’t catch a pinpoint accurate pass to Dallas Goedert and may have missed the entirety of the pre-Joe Flacco portion of the game. If that’s the case, definitely circle back to the top of the Philadelphia Eagles’ preseason debut, as Jalen Hurts’ night was certainly one of note.