Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts suffered a right (throwing) shoulder sprain against the Bears and his status for Saturday’s game in Dallas is in doubt, a league source confirmed to NBC Sports Philadelphia.
That means Gardner Minshew might get the call on Christmas Eve on a short week. But it’s not believed to be a long-term injury for Hurts, who should definitely be ready for the playoffs at least.
NFL Network first reported the news.
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Hurts, 24, took plenty of big hits on Sunday afternoon at Soldier Field but there was one in particular that stood out.
Late in the third quarter, Hurts kept the ball on a zone-read play and was driven into the ground by Bears defensive end Trevis Gipson. All 263 pounds of Gipson landed on top of Hurts and drove his right shoulder into the frozen grass.
Hurts was slow to get up after that play and was eventually helped to his feet by Jordan Mailata. Hurts didn’t miss a snap the rest of the game.
“Yeah, it wasn't the first time I've been slow (to get up),” Hurts said, “won't be the last. I didn't play a really physical game, and it was real cold too. So happy we were able to find a win and find a way.”
These were Hurts' numbers in the fourth quarter on a sprained shoulder: 6/9 for 102 yards (long of 68), 6 rushing attempts for 9 yards and a touchdown.
Hurts on Sunday ended up with 17 rushing attempts for 61 yards and 3 touchdowns. While there were some designed QB runs, there were a lot of zone-read plays where Hurts had to make the read and held on to the football.
That was how head coach Nick Sirianni explained all the QB runs in that game.
“That was part of our game plan against the defense we were looking at,” Sirianni said. “It's not necessarily quarterback-centric, but you're reading things on the back side and sometimes, you know, just like Fields pulled some too.
“If you looked at it, they had a lot more called quarterback runs, but then they had some zone reads that they were reading some guys, reading the guy they are supposed to read. So some of it was like that. Then a couple called runs, we felt safe with those, and they ended up being safe the way we looked at it.”
The Eagles got a big win with Minshew last season against the Jets in Week 13 at MetLife Stadium. Making his first start as an Eagle, Minshew completed 20 of 25 passes for 242 yards and 2 touchdowns. He had a passer rating of 133.7 in the Eagles’ 33-18 win to get them to 6-7 before the bye week. Hurts returned from an ankle injury after the bye and guided the Eagles to three straight wins to get into the playoffs.
If the Eagles win on Saturday, they'd clinch the top seed in the NFC. And then it would become likely we wouldn't see Hurts until the playoffs. Mishew could clinch the No. 1 seed for the Eagles on Christmas Eve.
The only time Minshew has seen on the field this season has come late in blowouts against the Steelers, Titans and Giants and he hasn’t been asked to do too much. At least he is an experienced veteran and one of the best backups in the NFL.
But if Hurts can’t play against the Cowboys, they’d clearly miss him.
In his second year as the Eagles’ starting quarterback, Hurts has taken a gigantic leap forward and is one of just a few legitimate MVP candidates.
Through 14 games, Hurts has led the Eagles to a 13-1 record. He has completed 67.3% of his passes for 3,472 yards with 22 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. He has also rushed for 747 yards and 13 touchdowns. He’s one rushing touchdown shy of Cam Newton’s record for QB rushing touchdowns in a season from 2011.
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