It’s safe to say that Jalen Hurts was on the same page with his superstar wide receivers in 2022.
And there’s still room to grow.
The Eagles won’t report for training camp until Tuesday, July 25 and Hurts is hoping to get together with some of his receivers before then. The more work they get together, the better.
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“There will definitely be an opportunity for us to get together and throw,” Hurts said the day Eagles OTAs wrapped up last week. “There is no limit to that. We’re always striving to kind of get on the same page and just play catch. Those are the guys, you know what I mean? So there will definitely be an opportunity.”
It’s hard to imagine things getting better for the Eagles’ offense than they were in 2022. Hurts threw for over 3,700 yards and a lot of those yards went to A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith in the trio’s first year together. The team won 14 games and fell just short in Super Bowl LVII.
Along the way, Brown and Smith became the first duo in Eagles history with 1,000 yards receiving in a single season. Brown caught 88 passes for 1,496 yards and 11 touchdowns. Smith caught 95 passes for 1,196 yards and 7 touchdowns. Smith set a record for Eagles receivers with 95 catches and Brown set an Eagles record in receiving yards with 1,496.
Before last year there were just 24 total 1,000-yard seasons in Eagles history. The last one before 2022 was Zach Ertz in 2018 and the last wide receiver to do it was Jeremy Maclin in 2014.
While it will help for Hurts to work with all his receivers and tight ends, he has still played just one season together with Brown and Smith.
The really exciting part about the success of the Eagles trio of Hurts, Brown and Smith is that they’re still so young. Brown is 25, while Hurts and Smith are still just 24.
Not only are they young, but they expect to be together for a long time. Hurts is under contract through the 2028 season, Brown is under contract through 2026 and Smith is under contract through 2024 with a fifth-year option that almost guarantees the Eagles keep him through 2025.
That’s at least three more seasons with this trio together. (And star tight end Dallas Goedert is under contract through 2025 too). They already made history in 2022 as Brown and Smith became the first duo with 1,000 yards receiving each. They’ll have plenty of chances to do it again.
Last year, Brown and Smith were one of five receivers duos in the NFL with 1,000 yards each. The others were Mike Evans and Chris Godwin in Tampa, Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf in Seattle, Tyreek Hill, Jaylen Waddle in Miami and Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins in Cincinnati. The only trio of that group younger than the Eagles’ trio is in Cincinnati.
The Eagles have a really good chance to join an elite group in 2023.
Since the year 2000 there have been 12 pairs of teammates to have 1,000-yard seasons in back-to-back seasons. And there are some absolute legends on the list:
Cardinals: Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin (2008, 2009)
Bengals: Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins (2021, 2022) Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh (2006, 2007)
Broncos: Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders (2014, 2015, 2016)
Packers: Donald Driver and Greg Jennings (2008, 2009)
Colts: Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne (2004, 2005, 2006)
Jaguars: Jimmy Smith and Keenan McCardell (2000, 2001)
Chiefs: Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce (2017, 2018, 2020, 2021)
Rams: Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt (2000, 2001, 2002)
Patriots: Randy Moss and Wes Welker (2007, 2008, 2009)
Steelers: Hines Ward, Plaxico Burress (2001, 2002)
Buccaneers: Mike Evans, Chris Godwin (2021, 2022)
You’ll notice that those players listed above are obviously great but many of them had all-time great quarterbacks throwing them the ball, guys like Kurt Warner, Tom Brady, Patrick Mahomes, Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers.
And that’s what so special about this era of Eagles football. We’re in the middle of what could be one of those all-time offenses with a strong core of skill players.
It would be hard for the Eagles to top what they did in 2023 but they’re going to try. The rest of us get to sit back and watch them aim for greatness.