ATLANTIC CITY, N.J.— This is how “a work” goes in professional wrestling. For the uninformed, in pro wrestling, anything pre-scripted can be considered “a work,” since pro wrestling is highly scripted.
It’s the same way in real sports.
In early-March, during the NFL Scouting Combine, Eagles general manager Howie Roseman publicly trotted out the rehearsed scripted remarks about quarterback Jalen Hurts, saying “There’s no doubt about (Hurts being their guy moving forward). We have Jalen Hurts. He is a 23-year-old quarterback who led his team to the playoffs. He’s going to get better and better and better. He’s going to do everything possible to get better, and we’ve got to do our part in that.”
Then head coach Nick Sirianni backed that up, by saying, “We’re pleased with the progression that Jalen has made. We know that progression is going to continue. He loves football. We saw progression in him getting better throughout the year. He led us to the playoffs, but we want to go further than that. We’re confident Jalen is a guy who can help us do that.”
What has filtered out in the last three weeks, and what three very informed NFL sources maintain, is the Eagles were indeed strong suitors in the Deshaun Watson sweepstakes, won or lost depending on your perspective, by the Cleveland Browns on Friday, considering how much Cleveland gave up to acquire the embattled former Houston Texans’ quarterback.
It was Watson’s choice, many published reports as well as NFL sources maintain, that prevented Watson from becoming an Eagle.
Remember in January 2021, it was Roseman who said, “When you have players like that, they’re like fingers on your hand. You can’t imagine that they’re not part of you, that they’re not here. That’s how we feel about Carson.”
Last time anyone looked, Roseman has all of his fingers.
Two months later, Wentz was shipped to Indianapolis.
So, the question has to be put out there: If the Eagles believe in Hurts, why the interest in Watson?
Obviously, Watson is the more experienced, more skilled quarterback of the two.
As numerous sources noted, and the eye test bears it out, Hurts may not have an NFL arm or NFL accuracy. Again, no one on the Eagles, their management, players and throughout the NFL, questions Hurts’ character and work ethic. The question that looms is how much higher can his ceiling go?
Hurts, who underwent surgery on his left ankle in February, rushed for a single-season, franchise-record 10 touchdowns this past season.
He did not, however, rush for a touchdown in the Eagles’ last three games. He finished passing for 3,144 yards with 16 touchdowns against nine interceptions. Overall, his number combines for 3,928 yards and 26 total touchdowns with 11 turnovers (nine interceptions and two lost fumbles).
Hurts took on a deluge of criticism when it came to the 31-15 loss to Tampa Bay in the opening round of the playoffs.
Against teams that have finished .500 or better, Hurts is 2-9. The two wins came against New Orleans. The starting quarterbacks in those games? Taysom Hill and Trevor Siemian.
Hurts for his part will continue saying he doesn’t pay attention to trade rumors or what his status may be. He does. They all do.
The difference with Hurts is he won’t run away from it, or demand a trade. If the roles were reversed last season, and Hurts was the incumbent and Wentz was selected in the second round to back him up, as was originally intended with the Eagles’ selection of Hurts, Hurts would have fought for the starter’s job.
He would not have demanded out of Philadelphia.
Maybe the 2022 will mark a bridge season for the Eagles, depending on Hurts’ continued development.
Perhaps the Eagles do feel Hurts could be the answer moving forward. If so, why then the interest in Watson and Russell Wilson?
Right now, there’s no denying Jalen Hurts is the Eagles’ starting quarterback, after all the NFL movement resulted in no significant change for the Eagles. But is this “a work” in the sense that Hurts is there only because the Eagles are stuck with him? Or is it because the Eagles truly believe in him?
Publicly, they say one thing. Publicly, other media outlets have voiced that, too.
How much do the Eagles believe in Jalen Hurts?
This poll is closed
Joseph Santoliquito is an award-winning sportswriter based in the Philadelphia area who has written feature stories for SI.com, ESPN.com, NFL.com, MLB.com, Deadspin and The Philadelphia Daily News. In 2006, he was nominated for an Emmy Award for a special project piece for ESPN.com called “Love at First Beep.” He is most noted for his award-winning ESPN.com feature on high school wrestler A.J. Detwiler in February 2006, which appeared on SportsCenter. In 2015, he was elected president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.