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Jalen Hurts needs to be a bigger part of the Eagles’ offense

Hurts’ role in the offense appears to be growing, and that’s a good thing.

Baltimore Ravens v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

The selection of Jalen Hurts in the second round of the NFL Draft earlier this year was a mistake.

Taking a quarterback at that spot in the draft, with holes at linebacker, safety, cornerback and even still wide receiver, was a selection of arrogance, one that indicated general manager Howie Roseman thought his roster was stacked and talented to the point he could spend a valuable second round pick on a player who would hopefully never have to play all that much in 2020. It was even more egregious given a few months prior he had given Carson Wentz $107.9 million in guaranteed money as his franchise QB.

That being said, crying over spilled milk doesn’t do the Eagle any good. Hurts is here and he is a talented, athletic player capable of being used in a variety of different ways within Doug Pederson’s offense. Those facts were in evidence on Sunday afternoon agains the Ravens at Lincoln Financial Field. As ESPN’s Tim McManus noted, the Eagles gained 109 yards on six plays out of two-quarterback looks (18.0 average), compared to 255 yards on the other 58 snaps (4.4 average). Hurts totaled 26 yards on three touches, with 20 of those coming when he took a direct snap handoff (with Carson Wentz out wide as a blocker) and burst downfield on the Eagles’ first productive drive of the game.

A few plays later, Hurts almost picked up another big chunk of yardage and showed some smooth moves as a runner.

But it was the 20-yard run that really opened things up for the Eagles offense on Sunday. Ravens defenders knew they had to account for him. He was not a decoy. In the 3rd quarter, with Hurts lined up in the slot to the left of the formation, Baltimore defenders were hesitant and caught out of position on Miles Sanders’ 74-yard-run due in large part to Hurts’ presence on the field.

Hurts’ emergence as a potential playmaking threat becomes all the more important as the Eagles prepare to play the New York Giants on Thursday night with a plethora of injuries on offense and a short week. Thankfully, DeSean Jackson will be back in the lineup (hopefully for a full game at top speed) as will Lane Johnson at right tackle, but running back Miles Sanders, wideouts Jalen Reagor and Alshon Jeffery, and tight ends Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert will not.

Jalen Hurts needs to be on the field as much as Pederson can use him without disrupting Wentz’ flow. Quite simply, he’s one of their few playmakers right now.

Carson Wentz is this team’s starting quarterback and that should not change. What he did last week against Baltimore in the second half, with center Jason Kelce as the only other first string player on the offense with him, was nothing short of heroic. Once again, Wentz overcame his early-season and early-game struggles and put up 28 second half points on the best defense in football. He almost brought them all the way back with virtually no experienced players around him. He was pounded into the ground, hit and harassed all day, and still played his best game of the season.

Hurts should not replace Wentz at quarterback anytime soon. Wentz is the guy. But Hurts should be more involved in the offense, if only because he isn’t sitting in the trainer’s room.

The Hurts draft selection was a mistake, and will so be forever, but it’s clear he’s given the offense some life and created headaches for opposing defenses. Utilize the weapon you spent a second round pick on, get some value from it, and see what happens.

At 1-4-1, there’s very little left to lose.

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