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The Eagles’ QB carousel has had a wild three weeks

Three weeks ago, Hurts was being hailed as the savior. Now, many are calling for him to sit.

Los Angeles Chargers v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

Few things in life are as predictable as the Quarterback Controversy.

Typically a QB Controversy, which we’ll call a QBC for the sake of brevity, occurs because of one or more of the reasons below:

  1. A starting QB becomes injured and the back-up plays well in his absence.
  2. Two players of similar ability begin the season in a true competition for the starting job.
  3. A veteran QB feels the heat of a younger player, usually a high draft pick, nipping at his heels.

The Philadelphia Eagles, it feels, have been embroiled in a QBC for the better part four years now. When presumed 2017 NFL MVP Carson Wentz was lost for the season with a torn ACL and back-up Nick Foles came in and won the Super Bowl, QBC No. 1 was the culprit. Last year, after Howie Roseman drafted Hurts in the 2nd round and Wentz struggled, QBC No. 3 flopped onto our laps.

Now, we have another QBC No. 1 on our hands. Or do we?

After a brilliant 20-for-25, 242-yard, 2 TD performance, complete with a 133.7 rating that was the highest of any Birds quarterback since Nick Foles’ 2017 NFC Championship Game performance against the Minnesota Vikings (141.4), Minshew Mania is making the rounds in Philadelphia. Make no mistake, he was outstanding, and given Hurts’ struggles in the Eagles’ awful loss to the New York Giants two weeks ago, some are calling for Minshew to keep the starting job.

Head coach Nick Sirianni insists Hurts is the starter, and that’s the right call. In fact, just two weeks ago, following a 40-29 win over the New Orleans Saints, some talking heads across the NFL were convinced Hurts was the future of the franchise after he ran for 69 yards and 3 TDs.

Minshew brought a different element to the Eagles’ offensive attack against the Jets, showing an ability to move around in the pocket and avoid the rush without running, delivering accurate and timely throws to receivers. And it’s not like Minshew hasn’t shown he can be an effective NFL quarterback in the past.

I mean, you can make the argument that Minshew’s style fits Sirianni’s offense better than Hurts.

Following Super Bowl 52, there were many calling for Doug Pederson to keep Foles as his starting quarterback and ditch Carson Wentz, so of course there are people calling for Minshew to keep the starting job based off Sunday’s performance. And to be clear, Hurts’ numbers as a passer are not impressive.

Of course, Hurts is still a relative baby when it comes to playing in the NFL, and his running ability makes up for a lot of shortcomings with his arm.

Of vital importance is we remember Gardner Minshew and the Eagles played against the Jets on Sunday, a moribund team who fell to 0-13 all-time against the Birds and are allowing the 4th-most passing yards per game this season. Receivers were running wide open all day. Would Hurts have had just as good a day throwing the ball?

Most QBCs are simply the NFL’s manifestation of the human phenomenon “the grass is always greener on the other side.” Eagles fans can see there are limitations in Hurts’ game right now, and it’s uncertain whether he’ll fix them. With Minshew, they see a QB who can do many of the things they haven’t seen Hurts do yet. What’s forgotten are all the things Hurts can do that Minshew can’t.

Many also remember the Wentz era which, despite so much promise, never materialized the way it should have. The opinions of those who wanted Foles to stay appear to have been validated with Wentz’ Philly flameout, even if those opinions were wrong at the time (which they were).

Gardner Minshew did what a good backup quarterback is supposed to do in the NFL — step in for the starting quarterback and win a game against a beatable team. It’s possible Minshew’s strengths and playing style more closely resemble what Sirianni would want in his NFL quarterback, but Sirianni also knows Hurts is a more talented athlete. Barring a shocking change of mind, he will at least give Hurts the rest of the season to prove he can be the future.

Fans say they don’t want a QBC but, secretly, they love them. Heading into a bye week, there will be two weeks to debate Hurts vs. Minshew, even though there really is no rational choice other than allowing Hurts to start against Washington after the bye.

Poll

Who should the Eagles start at QB?

This poll is closed

  • 59%
    Jalen Hurts
    (1170 votes)
  • 40%
    Gardner Minshew
    (797 votes)
1967 votes total Vote Now