It’s the biggest question surrounding the Eagles as they head into the offseason.
And Jalen Hurts got to answer it himself on Monday.
Does Hurts think he’s done enough to be the Eagles’ QB going forward?
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“I think I’ve done a lot of great things this year. A lot of things to learn from personally,” Hurts said. “I think the most important thing for me when you ask that question is the relationship I’ve built with my teammates, the time that we’ve put in. Put in the work, getting this far in the season and overcoming the different things we’ve overcome this year.
“And being with my coaches, building the relationship with them and building something special in the future. I think there’s a lot of value in everything that’s happened this year and it’ll do us a good [deal] coming up this year.”
It’s interesting that Hurts first brought up his leadership qualities when asked that question. Because those have never been in doubt. Guys gravitate toward him and they have from the moment he stepped foot into the NovaCare Complex as a second-round pick in 2020 … so much so that it might have been a problem early on.
But the biggest questions surrounding Hurts have persisted despite his growth: Can he be a top-tier passer in the NFL? Right now, he just isn’t. And that was evident in the Eagles’ 31-15 loss in the wild card round on Sunday.
On one hand, Hurts got them into the dance and helped turn a 4-11-1 team into a 9-8 team that went to the playoffs. On the other, all his deficiencies were on display in front of a national audience on Sunday.
Despite all that, Hurts clearly thinks this is his job moving forward.
A little later in his interview on Monday, Hurts said this:
“My second year as a starter, it started today,” Hurts said. “That’s where my head is, attacking and learning from everything. And attacking to be a better quarterback next year, be a better leader next year for my team.”
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Hurts in his first full year as a starter had an 8-7 record, completed 61.3% of his passes for 3,144 yards with 16 touchdowns and 9 interceptions. He also rushed for 784 yards and 10 touchdowns despite an ankle injury that hindered him later in the season. There were ups and downs all year, but it ended on a sour note in the playoffs.
After Sunday’s loss, head coach Nick Sirianni gave Hurts a vote of confidence. But it’s worth noting that Sirianni won’t make the decision about the quarterback spot on his own. GM Howie Roseman and even owner Jeff Lurie will obviously be heavily involved.
And even if Hurts is the quarterback in 2022, there’s still no guarantee he’ll be the quarterback beyond that.
While there are plenty of outside questions about the Eagles’ quarterback position and Hurts’ future, his teammates really do seem to support him. You can be skeptical of public comments — I get that — but his teammates are often effusive in their praise for him.
So it’s no surprise that DeVonta Smith thinks Hurts has done enough to be the team’s starter.
“Most definitely, I think he has,” Smith said. “I mean, first-year starter, leads us to the playoffs, things like that. Everything’s not going to be what you want it to be. You’re going to have ups and downs, you’re going to have little bumps here and there. When adversity strikes, he responds. I think he’s going to be that guy.”