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Eagles’ Jalen Hurts has proven he should compete for the starting QB job in 2021

 

PHILADELPHIA — Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts stood by himself in the shotgun, ready to receive the snap from center Jason Kelce.

As Hurts looked in the direction of tight end Zach Ertz, he felt pressure coming from the Washington defensive ends. Seeing daylight in front of him, Hurts relied on his instincts, stepped up in the pocket, and ran six yards for his second rushing touchdown of the game.

After setting an Eagles rookie record for most rushing touchdowns by a rookie quarterback in a game, Hurts wanted to celebrate, pointing to wide receiver Quez Watkins and danced.

Hurts’ deserves to break out that touchdown celebration next season as the starting quarterback. Hurts has earned that opportunity to celebrate more next season after the way he performed Sunday and his other three starts.

In the four games Hurts started this season, he has completed 77 of his 168 passes and threw 6 touchdowns compared to four interceptions. Hurts also added 392 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns.

It is no secret that head coach Doug Pederson benched Carson Wentz for Hurts to provide a spark to an offense that had meandering and struggled, averaging 21 points a game. Hurts did just that, upsetting the New Orleans Saints while adding another dimension to the Eagles offense with him using his legs to create plays.

Hurts still has to develop more as a passer. Hurts completed 46% of his passes, a number that will not cut it as a starting quarterback. Even if he was throwing to receivers such as J.J. Arcega-Whiteside and John Hightower on Sunday, Hurts had a quarterback rating of 25.6 and completed 35% of his throws.

There are still some items he has to work on when it comes to his mechanics. On a sprint-out pass to his right, Hurts flicked the pass out to the sideline instead of following through on his throwing motion, resulting in the pass going high and falling incomplete instead of following through on his throw.

Hurts has to develop some more patience in the pocket and trust that his protection will hold. In the first quarter, Hurts had a receiver who was breaking open 20 yards down the field. If he waited in the pocket for one more second, he could have found him for a big play. Instead, he looked at his first two reads, did not see anything he liked, and ran the ball for nine yards.

Assistant coach Marty Mornhinweg deserves credit in helping Hurts get acclimated to the NFL game, but he still has a long way to go to become a potential top 15 quarterback. However, if the Eagles surround him with coaches in the offseason, he has proven that he can rally his teammates around him and make plays happen when nothing is there, just as he did with his touchdown run.

If Wentz does sick around or the team brings in a veteran, Jalen Hurts deserves a chance to be the team’s new leader.

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