Jalen Hurts still has a lot to prove going into his third season with the Philadelphia Eagles, even after making the playoffs in his first full year as their starting quarterback. The former Heisman runner-up and Alabama captain showed flashes of his insane potential last season, even though he was working with minimal weapons, and a first-year head coach.
Hurts made the most out of his opportunity, and he ended up with more rushing yards than Josh Allen and more passing yards than Russell Wilson. With a more talented and experienced roster this year, he has to keep improving and take that next step to become a franchise player.
The Man of the Hour
Hurts did everything the Eagles asked him to do last season and was able to score 26 total touchdowns. With 784 yards on the ground and ten touchdowns himself, he was the top rushing quarterback. He was also a huge reason the team led the league in rushing yards and touchdowns. Having a quarterback with the ability to put up these numbers made it nearly impossible for opposing teams to slow down the Eagles' rushing attack.
It is still yet to be seen if the team will use Hurts as a runner as much as they did last year, considering he did have a ridiculously high number of 139 carries. However, it is hard to imagine them not utilizing him to his full capability.
New Birds Enter the Fray
The Eagles have invested a lot into the offensive skill positions over the last couple of years. With the addition of Pro Bowler A.J. Brown to pair with budding stars DeVonta Smith and Dallas Goedert, they seem to have put together one of the top receiving corps in the NFL. Hurts also played with Smith at the University of Alabama and is a close friend of A.J. Brown, so hopefully, these connections will show on the field. It is safe to say that Hurts has a variety of trustworthy options to throw the ball too.
Through a series of offseason moves, the Eagles have put together a roster poised for a playoff run. Many of the holes that existed, like at the wide receiver position and the edge rushers, seem to have been filled. Trading for Brown and signing Zach Pascal solidified the wide receiver position and drafting Jordan Davis and signing Hassan Reddick are supposed to be the answer to the defense's problems.
The team is the preseason favorite to win the NFC East, even though their quarterback threw only 16 touchdowns last season. In a division with an MVP contender in Dak Prescott, Jalen Hurts is the quarterback that many are picking to win. This shows the talent that the Eagles have, even with a young quarterback that is still developing.
The pressure this season is on Hurts to not only improve but show that he can win a playoff game. The roster, which was good enough for a wild card spot last year, has only improved, and the quarterback play needs to be right behind. Hurts needs to prove to fans and the organization that he is the right guy for the team to invest in.
Leadership Starts on the Sideline
Another year as the starter only means more trust from head coach Nick Sirianni, who is getting used to his job as well. Hurts and Sirianni have a special opportunity to grow and succeed together, but they both need to do their part.
The potential for Hurts is there, and last year was only a taste of what he can do. His play and leadership were enough for the team to give him the job for at least another year. Similarly to the 2017 offseason, after Carson Wentz's first year as the starter, the Eagles revamped their roster to fit their quarterback's play style. The moves worked out last time, as the team went on to win their first-ever Super Bowl.
It's Up to Hurts to Prove He's the Real Deal for Philadelphia
Nobody is expecting or asking Hurts to win the Super Bowl or the MVP in year three, but there is an expectation that he will be better than he was last year when throwing the football. In today's NFL especially, there is no chance for a team to win the Super Bowl with a quarterback that averaged a league low 209 yards a game. The Eagles look like they are ready to go all-in on Hurts, and it is now up to him to prove that he is good enough for the job.