Three Reasons Why You Need To Believe in Jalen Hurts and the Eagles

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Jason Wexler, Sports Editor

 

Eagles fans rejoiced following week one’s win over the Atlanta Falcons, as the ship smoothly sailed, captained by quarterback Jalen Hurts. Hurts led the Eagles to a dominant 32-6 win in Atlanta, posting a 126.4 quarterback rating, and balling out for 264 yards in the air, all with three touchdowns on 27/35 passes completed. In addition, Hurts put up 62 yards on the ground, giving the Eagles a skillset variety at the quarterback position. Hurts seems to be the clear-cut starting quarterback for Philadelphia, and with a lot of football left to be played, here are the three central reasons why you need to believe in Jalen Hurts and the Eagles this season.

 

Beneficial RPO Playstyle

The RPO, or run-pass option, is a play type that allows the QB, post-snap, to either keep the ball himself or hand it off to a running back or pass. The key to a successful run-pass option is the blockers up front on the offensive line, who block as if it is a run play. What makes the RPO beneficial in Philadelphia is the dual-threat ability of Jalen Hurts, and the athleticism of Eagles rookie wide receiver (WR) DeVonta Smith.

 

RPOs allow wide receivers to get the one-on-one matchups they seek. If Hurts is faced with a defensive coverage he thinks will leave Smith–the number one WR– open, say, a blitz, running the RPO would sell the defense out in a run, dropping down most defenders closer to the running back and allowing Jalen Hurts to find DeVonta Smith one on one.

 

Another benefit of the RPO is that this scheme is heavily popularized in college, and college experience is key for the Eagles.

 

Hurts Going Deep for DeVonta!

A key part of quarterback success in the NFL is developing good chemistry with the pass catchers. Eagles fans knew this wouldn’t be a problem when they took Alabama WR and Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith with the tenth pick in the 2021 draft. Smith and Hurts played together in college at Alabama, running and perfecting a college scheme. Now here they are playing together in the NFL, taking their prior experience and putting it all out on the field.

 

The two connected on an 18-yard touchdown (TD) against the Falcons in a beautifully drawn-up play by head coach Nick Sirianni. Smith is the third Eagles WR since the NFL merger (1970) to record a receiving TD in his first-ever NFL game, joining the great Cris Carter and Marvin Hargrove. 

 

The most successful teams in the NFL have that dominant QB-WR connection. This list includes players like Patrick Mahomes and Tyreek Hill, Russell Wilson and DK Metcalf, and Kyler Murray and Deandre Hopkins. There is no doubt that the connection of Hurts and Smith will continue to develop throughout the season.

 

Adapting to the Evolution of the QB

The quarterback position has evolved drastically over the decades. It seems like yesterday when players such as Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Peyton and Eli Manning, and Philip Rivers were the faces of the league. The pocket passer is slowly becoming more vacant, and mobility is becoming the norm. The league’s best QBs, including Russell Wilson, Lamar Jackson, and Patrick Mahomes, bring a level of mobility to their squads that elevates everyone around them; Jalen Hurts is no exception.

 

Hurts’ ability to dance around in the pocket is extremely beneficial in his extending playability. QBs who have this ability often haunt defensive game plans, and many times, certain coverages can be altered entirely due to a mobile QB. Although more teams are utilizing a 3-4 style defense (a type of defensive alignment that plays four linebackers and three lineman/a three man rush) to accommodate for the development of versatile QB play, teams that utilize a 4-3 will have to uncomfortably shift to a 3-4 in order to have an extra linebacker to move around with the QB. This is also known as a QB spy. It is no question that it is quite a luxury being an NFL team that forces opponents to utilize a QB spy.

 

Jalen Hurts will likely receive the QB spy for most, if not all, games this season. The mobility of the 23-year old QB not only haunts a defensive game plan but brings immense levels of athleticism to the offense in order to evaluate the players around him. That is simply good quarterbacking.

 

Honorable mention reasons:

  1. Age
  2. Team culture
  3. Mentality
  4. Leadership