Kurt Warner has seen improvement from Jalen Hurts in 2021, but he’s not sure it’s enough.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback and NFL analyst was a guest on the most recent Takeoff with John Clark podcast episode and talked about Hurts and the looming decision the Eagles will have to make about their quarterback position.
“It’s definitely going to be fascinating,” Warner said.
Clark brought up the possibility of the Eagles’ trading for an elite player like Russell Wilson and Deshaun Watson. While Warner has seen Hurts improve as a passer in Year 2, he didn’t think twice.
If you have a chance to get an elite quarterback, you get an elite quarterback.
“As intriguing as Jalen Hurts is, you go out and get one of those guys,” Warner said. “You go out and you get the guy that’s proven in this league that he is a difference maker at that position. I think you have to do that if you feel like you’re in the market to do that.”
There are obviously some added layers to the Watson situation, which Warner mentioned. But his point was that there aren’t many elite quarterbacks in the NFL and if you have a chance to land one, you have to do it.
“I would say that the more intriguing thing is if you’re not in the market and you don’t feel like those are possibilities, the more intriguing thing is, do we give Jalen another year?” Warner asked. “Do we go draft another quarterback? Is there somebody in the next echelon of quarterbacks that’s available and do they give us a better opportunity to win than Jalen does?”
Warner used the Cleveland Browns as an example of a team caught in the middle. Baker Mayfield is a solid NFL quarterback but is he a championship-caliber quarterback? That’s what it comes down to for Warner. He did admit that there are just 6-8 top tier quarterbacks in the NFL at any given moment, and the rest of the teams are either hoping their quarterback turns into one or that they can surround that player with enough talent to win.
In Philadelphia, Hurts has made strides. But will it be enough to keep him as the team’s quarterback at least into the 2022 season? That’s really the biggest question about this season for the Eagles.
“As I’ve watched him from last year to this year, I’ve seen improvements,” Warner said. “I’ve seen him getting better inside the pocket, I see him making more of those plays on schedule. Those, to me, are all positives. I think it’s really hard to say at this point in time what Jalen is going to be for the entirety of his career. It’s too early to know.
“I know what I’m going to get from him, I know what he can do for me, you couple that with what they’ve done this year, especially these last six games or so running the football and allowing him to be a complementary big play maker for your team, he can win in the National Football League. Am I convinced yet that he can be that franchise guy, where if he’s got to win games with his right arm by playing a position in the pocket? I’m not sure yet. I haven’t seen enough of that growth in terms of seeing the defense, understanding where he needs to go, throwing the ball on time. All of that stuff that, to me, franchise quarterbacks have.”
This season, Hurts has a 5-7 record. In 12 games, he’s completed 60.1% of his passes for 2,435 yards with 13 touchdowns and 8 interceptions. In addition to his passing numbers, Hurts has also rushed for nearly 700 yards with 8 more touchdowns. He missed the win over the Jets before the bye week because of an ankle injury and his backup, Gardner Minshew, had an impressive performance.
Despite that showing from Minshew, head coach Nick Sirianni didn’t waiver … Hurts is still his starting quarterback.
At least for now.
“I think the verdict is still out on Jalen Hurts,” Warner said. “But the beautiful thing is he’s making a lot of plays, putting up good numbers and they’re winning football games while he’s learning to play the position and you’re seeing areas of growth along that journey as well.”
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