How many times are we all going to mention that name the next few months? I don’t even want to know.
After Howie Roseman’s end of season press conference, Hurts appears to be in line to start for the Eagles in 2022. I will give you my opinion on this briefly at the end, but I wanted this week’s film room to just be about what Jalen Hurts strengths and weaknesses are. Rather than repeat the same statements we are going to read online and hear on the radio thousands of times, I wanted to go deep on Jalen Hurts film from 2021.
This is my scouting report on Hurts, with film clips to back up everything I believe (except certain things that the film doesn’t show). As always, this is purely my opinion but it is an opinion based on watching the all22 of every single Jalen Hurts snap (at least once) that he has had as an Eagle. Lets get to it.
+ Top talent as a runner. Almost has the running ability of a running back. Can handle a heavy workload as a runner. Has both speed and power and impacts an offenses run game massively.
Eagles All22 Offense v. Washington thread. When discussing the Eagles run game, despite how good the OL has been, you cannot remove the importance of Hurts' mobility. Washington plays this perfectly, gets a LB 1on1 with the QB, and Hurts just eases past him for a 6 yard gain. pic.twitter.com/kSFQzMShZc— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) January 4, 2022
A rare sighting of an Eagles run play that takes advantage of Hurts mobility. Good use of JJAW too. More of this please. pic.twitter.com/lwoG2LtYO0— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) October 18, 2021
Eagles ran the hell out of this counter run with Hurts and some of the holes were absurd. Watch this play 3x times (at least) and just watch Dickerson, Maliata & Johnson. This is near perfection. Maliata & Dickerson look so athletic for 2 huge guys. This is awesome. pic.twitter.com/wqJOLskpFF— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) November 30, 2021
+ Very effective scrambler. Has the ability to create outside of structure, either as a runner or passer.
Quite clearly Hurts best play of the day. Very obvious and boring point but Hurts is better rolling to his right than left (duh). pic.twitter.com/0Tnso1TgcP— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) October 12, 2021
Even better on the All22. Wants to throw but nothing open on the two curls. Doesn't panic. Extends the play and releases an absolute beauty for the first down. Not an easy throw to make while running to your right across your body. Big time throw! pic.twitter.com/qy93msrDbF— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) January 4, 2022
Some of Hurts' out of structure plays were so good. Big 3rd and long here. Reads a Hi-Lo to his left but nothing is open against tight man coverage so just picks it up himself. Risky strategy to bring 5 with man coverage against Hurts because he has the ability to do this. pic.twitter.com/RVKy52KnrQ— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) January 4, 2022
+ His athletic profile can lead to predictable coverages, especially on 3rd and long when defenses have to account for his speed.
Little scheme note - Giants played a TON of zone coverage (hence the Eagles running a lot of flood & hi-lo concepts). When evaluating Hurts have to include the idea that teams play less man due to Hurts running threat which gives you more predictable coverage. https://t.co/4TjkSMQty9— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) December 28, 2021
+ Accurate outside the numbers, especially in the intermediate zones.
Eagles also used PA from under center! It produced Hurts best throw of the day which... makes you think. Raiders play a lot of C3 and Eagles dialed up a lot of zone beaters with 3 level passing plays. Here they get here with Goedert running a post/corner and its a beauty by Hurts pic.twitter.com/1QM6ANh0cD— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) October 26, 2021
To he fair to Hurts... next play is an absolute beauty. Check the route by Smith too! Hurts does a great job not staring this down too. pic.twitter.com/Es8XEP8DZY— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) November 2, 2021
+ Shows good touch on throws and throws a ‘catchable’ ball frequently.
+ Shows poise in the pocket and doesn’t look hurried too often.
This is a beauty. Washington ran a lot of MFO (or 2 high) so Eagles tried this Hi-Lo on the outside a lot. Hurts fits this one perfectly into Goedert. When Hurts gets the right route/coverage he is very calm in the pocket. Stands tall with pressure up the middle here. Great job. pic.twitter.com/aX2pZ15A0Q— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) January 4, 2022
Good use of personnel to create a matchup. Quez on the inside of trips 1on1 with a safety with no CBs dropping either side of him? Game over! Good ball under pressure too. pic.twitter.com/w3c3wpthRY— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) October 12, 2021
I thought this was Hurts best game in the pocket all season. He was more willing to stand and deliver. This is probably my favorite example and his eyes never drop and he waits for Smith to come open and delivers a strike. pic.twitter.com/IunVk27gXG— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) November 9, 2021
+ Good decision maker and rarely puts the ball in precarious situations.
+ Consistently good at diagnosing and reading defenses pre-snap
Just a really professional performance from Hurts as a pocket passer. It's easy to get excited by the wow plays but this is just as important imo. Read 1on1 with your best WR, hit your back foot, deliver a perfect strike on time for the first down. Just good simple QB play. pic.twitter.com/oIjcZVX4sO— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) January 4, 2022
+ Mentally very strong and does not let mistakes impact his play or confidence
+ Teammates and coaches speak extremely well about him as a leader
+ Has made improvements as a passer from year 1 to 2.
Another throw that shows progress. Yes, he does miss Smith underneath as he's locked onto Goedert BUT rather than roll to his right when he feels pressure (remember he used to do that a lot) he keeps his eyes downfield and manages to deliver a strike off balance. pic.twitter.com/5RdWfedpE5— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) January 4, 2022
THIS! I said earlier I want to see Hurts keep his eyes downfield and feel pressure rather than scramble. This is easily the best play of the first half. More of this please (and more targets to Smith) pic.twitter.com/srVKhF010G— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) October 12, 2021
- Rarely see him manipulate defenders with his eye placement.
This is a bad pick. He sees single high and chucks it to the vertical route. No effort at all to move safety with his eyes so he reads it all the way. He has the time to get backside (Watkins wide open) as protection is great. Has room to step into throw and the ball still dies. pic.twitter.com/BYSiEgw7Xd— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) November 30, 2021
Ooof you cant throw this. Nobody is open (not a huge fan of design - or how Smith is used) but you cannot throw a backside dig late vs cover 2 and stare it down. If you make this throw you have to launch it as he makes his break. Can't stare it down, easy money for safety. pic.twitter.com/CTZQpty1Wi— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) November 30, 2021
- Very rarely targets the middle of the field. He only had 31 throws all season in the middle of the field between 10-19 yards, per Sports Info Solutions.
3rd down, this is a tough play for a QB but I would love for Hurts to step up here and hit Smith at the top of the screen. Pocket is collapsing but sometimes you need to step up and left and not drop your eyes and look to run. It may take time but I want to see progress here. pic.twitter.com/uO3H8v2frD— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) October 12, 2021
- His skillset should excel in the RPO game but he makes poor reads too often.
Lot of talk about run/pass ratio but there's a lot of RPOs being run. Hurts normally throws but chooses to run here... assuming this is an RPO he HAS to throw the bubble screen here because they are clearly 3on2 at the top of the screen pic.twitter.com/p8NP2O0Ciy— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) October 12, 2021
Another one where Hurts can probably hand off imo. Just not sure he reads all these RPOs correctly. pic.twitter.com/y1sguRCYRk— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) October 12, 2021
- Too slow to process post-snap/eliminate what is not there.
Hurts has to see the field better. You know its 2 high instantly so the comeback to Smith is going to be a tough throw with a CB there. Should look to the middle of the field where Ertz and Sanders are both wide open rather than forcing it to the first read. pic.twitter.com/9IXNKIomZQ— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) October 18, 2021
Hurts had some weird reads in this game. Not sure what he was seeing at times. Corner/stop 2man concept with Watkins/Smith. Vs Quarters Smith is open on the comeback. Hurts sees it, doesn't throw it, then launches it to Watkins who is never ever coming open against this coverage pic.twitter.com/9ComiFEiyU— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) November 30, 2021
Tough play to make with pressure on his left but if Hurts elimates Goedert quicker here (out route v corner with outside leverage is bad) & gets to his next read Reagor is wide open for an easy throw and catch. Stays too focused on his 1st option and tries to force it to him. pic.twitter.com/14tJd2GnuO— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) November 30, 2021
- Sometimes too keen to run and will bail from clean pockets.
Hurts... you can't be successful long term if you are this frantic in the pocket. Just calm down & trust the projection! The OL are playing great! Literally no need to run out of this pocket. pic.twitter.com/2p7TDpa1G9— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) November 2, 2021
- Rarely asked to make full field reads, leads a very ‘QB friendly’ offense which is limited when chasing games.
Eagles All22 offense thread v. Bucs. This one could hurt... You knew it was going to be a bad one after this. Look how close to the LOS the Bucs are. That safety is 10 yards deep! Basically daring the Eagles to throw on 3rd down against obvious single coverage on the outside. pic.twitter.com/QNCE2oUHBt— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) January 18, 2022
There were just way, way too many basic plays like this. So many short throws that had no chance against a fast defense like the Bucs. It was like an offense with its training wheels on. In the playoffs, I think you have to trust Hurts and do a bit more. Frustrating. pic.twitter.com/EgppDXzuTd— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) January 18, 2022
- Too often just doesn’t see the field or misses open receivers.
I think Hurts has to throw this to Watkins and this is a bad read. Clear 2 high man w/ Goedert running out and Watkins on the deep over. I would assume Hurts is told to read the deep left safety & if he comes down on Goedert throw it over him. For some reason he doesn't! pic.twitter.com/9sunDDXHAo— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) January 18, 2022
This is the worst play by Hurts imo. Its just bad. Reagor is put in motion, its a 2WR route concept with a checkdown so not much to read. He is WIDE open. Just throw it! You just cannot take this long to process. This should have been a big TD and its a great play call. pic.twitter.com/tUbQjaljb9— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) October 18, 2021
Yeah... we didn't need the all22 to know this is a bad miss. Panthers C3 but outside CB doesn't cover the vertical route and never even looks like he will. Watkins is pretty muc open after about 10 yards. No pressure either AND with 8 seconds left you simply have to see this. pic.twitter.com/ykAfK5CXJP— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) October 12, 2021
- His deep balls lack velocity and he can put too much air under them. Misses too many deep balls. This is often linked to his footwork which can be inconsistent and when his heel clicks it impacts his arm strength in a negative way.
With how good Hurts' is in the run game, next step for him and the whole offense has to be hitting more explosive plays outside the numbers when they get the chance to do so v. MFC like here. Only just misses and Smith does get slowed down slightly too. pic.twitter.com/AYi59gEosJ— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) January 4, 2022
Again, didn't need the all22 to see this again. Worse on 2nd look. Wide open, no pressure and he's looking right at it. Just inaccurate. Nothing more to say. However, check out the speed of Watkins running the seam... he can FLY. pic.twitter.com/uRABjpExkc— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) October 12, 2021
- Fumbles a concern in the pocket. Fumbled 9 times in 15 games.
- Has a tendency to drop his eyes if faced with immediate pressure, especially from unexpected pressure (such as a disguised blitz).
Bowles with a blitz. I wish the Eagles had more obvious hot routes against blitzes but if Hurts does stand tall in the pocket here Goedert comes open before Hurts is pressured. Hurts really did not look comfortable against this D and he dropped his eyes big time. pic.twitter.com/lS5cgmrqeI— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) January 18, 2022
Hurts clearly had a pretty good year. I had a look at some QB rankings to see where others ranked him as I obviously can’t watch every QB in detail and everyone had him around the 12-18 range. Gregg Rosenthal had him at 15 and I trust his opinion a lot. PFF had him 11th. ESPN had him 16th. Pro Football Network had him 16th. It’s interesting comparing him to Jimmy Garappolo who was always just slightly behind Hurts in the rankings (except for one).
Hurts is a fascinating talent due to his extremely unique blend of athleticism, speed and power at the quarterback position. He clearly progressed as a passer from last year, yet the Eagles are still running a pretty basic passing game and Hurts has some huge weaknesses that he needs to improve on if he wants to reach the next level. In particular, using his eyes more to move secondary defenders and speeding up his process post snap is something he simply must improve. Teams will now have a whole season of film on Hurts and they will know exactly what is strengths and weaknesses are.
Personally, I think Hurts has clearly proven himself to be a ‘starting calibre’ quarterback. You do have to run a specific style of offense with Hurts but you simply cannot evaluate Hurts as a passer without ignoring what he gives you in the running game. He completely alters the Eagles running game and is a huge reason why the Eagles had an elite running game throughout the second half of last season. In the modern game though, is a ‘starting calibre’ QB enough to challenge for the Super Bowl?
The question of ‘should Hurts be the Eagles starting quarterback in 2022’ is not as simple as it sounds.
Unless you think Jalen Hurts has top 5-8 potential (personally, I do not at this point) then the Eagles should be looking at other quarterbacks to try and find an elite option. Pretty much every single team who doesn’t have an elite quarterback should be looking to improve. This doesn’t mean you cannot win without an elite quarterback but you have to accept that the best teams usually have the best quarterbacks. Steven Ruiz wrote a great piece about this topic recently, but it is clear that the elite quarterbacks in the league right now are just playing the position at a completely different level than a ‘good’ quarterback. Does anyone think an Eagles offense led by Hurts can compete with Patrick Mahomes or Josh Allen in a playoff game? I struggle to see it, especially after watching the high level performances at the quarterback position this weekend. The talent on show was extraordinary.
However, this does not mean you should move on from Hurts at all costs. The odds of finding a top quarterback are extremely rare. Maybe you can pursue a Russell Wilson, but who knows if he even wants to come here? Based on what I have read about the quarterbacks coming out in the draft recently, it may be that none of them have the potential to be a top 5-7 quarterback either. If this is the case, you have absolutely no reason to move on from Hurts and there is nothing wrong with him starting next season.
You can believe that the Eagles should attempt to find an elite quarterback option and that Jalen Hurts should be the starter in 2022 if they can’t find an answer. This may be a boring answer and its not an exciting ‘hot take’ but this is where I am at with the Eagles quarterback position.
I expect the Eagles to pursue an elite quarterback but if this fails (as I believe it will), the Eagles should spend the offseason ensuring that Hurts has elite talent surrounding him in order to allow him to reach his potential. As someone who was wrong about Hurts this year and openly accept this (I thought he would be worse - I am never afraid to admit when I am wrong either) I am not going to doubt that he can continue to improve. He obviously has an excellent work ethic and wants to be coached and get better. Whether he will reach the elite stage remains extremely doubtful, but there is more than one way to win in the NFL (see: Jimmy G and the 49ers) and overall, I do believe Hurts made some good progress this year and is an very interesting talent. Let’s leave it there for today...
As always, I appreciate the comments and feedback is always welcome