Simms explains taking an L on Hurts, thoughts on Hurts' future


Last month, Chris Simms admitted he was wrong.

Back before the 2021 season began, the former NFL quarterback and NBC Sports analyst put together his list of the top 40 quarterbacks in the NFL and left Jalen Hurts off the list in favor of several quarterbacks who had no business being there.

In a tweet in early January, Simms called leaving Hurts off the list one of the biggest Ls he had in the year.

But that tweet was before the Eagles lost in the playoffs to the Bucs and before Hurts had one of his worst performances of the year. We had Simms on the Eagle Eye podcast this week to explain the L and see where he stands on Hurts right now.

“I took an L on it. I should have had him on the top 40,” Simms said. “I was wrong to (leave him off). I think the reason I didn’t have him on the top 40 are some of the things you’re talking about. Those are my concerns. Still my concerns going forward. Hey, I agree with the Eagles’ standpoint that Jalen Hurts did enough this year, certainly, to come back and be the starter and be that guy. There’s no doubt about that.

“If they could continue to orchestrate and offense that fits him … One of the things I talked about earlier in the year when I was with the Eagles was I didn’t understand the approach. You can go back and look at my podcast or even what I say with (Mike) Florio, I was going, ‘They’ve got this great offensive line, they’ve got a quarterback who’s a good athlete. He’s not a surgical, Drew Brees-type passer, he’s not that. I don’t understand why they’re trying to play this Philip Rivers, Los Angeles Chargers-type offense with a guy that doesn’t fit that.’ It was a little bit of the round peg in a square hole thing, where they change around the season and change around Jalen Hurts, they played to the strength of their football team.”

Hurts this season, in his first full year as a starter, went 8-7, completing 61.3% of his passes for 3,144 yards with 16 touchdowns and 9 interceptions. He also rushed for 784 yards and 10 touchdowns.

There’s no question that Hurts improved in Year 2, but was it enough?

The Eagles have already come out and said they’re moving forward with Hurts and Simms agrees with that decision. But Simms also thinks Hurts needs to continue to improve as a passer.

“Yes, there’s still meat on the bone in my opinion as far as the evaluation with Jalen Hurts,” Simms said. “You guys saw the playoff game. You saw a number of other games during the year when you probably would have had the same type of questions. Where you just go, ‘Man, if they have to pass the ball, can they really rely on him and the passing game to get it done?’ And I think that’s still a question for me.”

Simms said it’s tough to win in the playoffs with the style of play the Eagles will need to utilize to get the most out of Hurts. The Eagles became a run-heavy team in the second half of the 2021.

The good news is that Hurts is still just 23 and won’t turn 24 until August, so there’s still time for him to improve. But those fears about his passing inefficiencies aren’t going away until he makes them go away.

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“When I tell you I’m concerned about him throwing, I’m talking about big picture,” Simms said. “The mechanics of his throwing, they’re not what I would call top-notch. He’s got a long delivery. He doesn’t have great arm speed. He doesn’t throw great spirals like you saw in the playoff game, so then the wind affects it and it doesn’t go where you want that way. There’s not a great power in the arm to throw 20-yard out routes or squeezing a ball. Yes, he’s gotta tweak some things with his throwing motion, for sure, to get better.

“I get a lot of ‘Lamar Jackson,’ that’s their follow-up. And I go, well, Lamar Jackson is just a far more gifted thrower of the football than Jalen Hurts. Lamar Jackson has a really strong arm and can whip it around sidearm and he’s a little more dynamic that way. You guys see Jalen Hurts; it’s very deliberate and the arm kind of works by itself. He doesn’t get his body involved at times. Those are some of the things that concern me a little.”

Barring a trade for a superstar quarterback, Simms agrees with the Eagles’ decision to run it back with Hurts in 2022. He wouldn’t draft a quarterback and set up a similar situation to what the Eagles had last year with Hurts and Carson Wentz.

Simms thinks Hurts will improve more in 2022, but the big question is how much?

“Let this play out,” Simms said. “Go all-in on this style of play and see if you can continue to kind of grow him into a more effective passer.”

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