Jalen Hurts is only three games into his vital second season in the NFL, but he’s already in danger of being replaced by another quarterback in the upcoming draft if he can’t prove to be the answer going forward for the Philadelphia Eagles. The 23-year-old has 14 more games to convince the Eagles organization to build around him for the coming years.
Hurts’ future outlook took a hit on Monday night after his woeful performance against the Dallas Cowboys, and it might only get worse with the Eagles now down three of their five starting offensive linemen.
Jalen Hurts is in a make-or-break year with the Eagles
The 2021-22 NFL season is a fascinating one to watch for Hurts and the Eagles. There isn’t much pressure on the young quarterback to lead his team to a postseason berth considering the glaring holes all over the roster, but he still needs to perform well to convince team owner Jeffrey Lurie and executive vice president Howie Roseman that he’s the guy moving forward.
If Hurts struggles all season and Philadelphia ends up with a high pick in next year’s draft, the team will have no other choice but to look into selecting a QB in the first round. After all, Roseman wants the organization to be a “quarterback factory,” and he drafted Hurts in the second round after just one poor season from Carson Wentz.
Hurts didn’t help his case in a primetime start against the Cowboys on Monday night. Despite throwing for 326 yards and two touchdowns (mostly in garbage time), he threw two brutal interceptions and was off-target with most of his throws all night. One of those interceptions was also returned by Dallas for a touchdown.
The two biggest knocks on Hurts coming out of college were his accuracy and his arm strength, and both showed up under the bright lights in an embarrassing loss to the Eagles’ biggest rival. He’ll need to turn things around quickly if he wants to return to Philadelphia next year as the starter.
A frighteningly familiar dilemma is starting to plague the Eagles
For the past few seasons, the biggest story in Philadelphia has been injuries piling up at the most inopportune times. And the position group that’s been hit hardest by the injury bug? The offensive line.
Right guard Brandon Brooks missed the entirety of the 2020 season due to a torn Achilles. Right tackle Lane Johnson appeared in only seven games last year while battling a lingering ankle injury. Left guard Isaac Seumalo and left tackle Jason Peters also each missed about half the season with various injuries. Jason Kelce has been the only starter who’s been able to stay on the field consistently, and that looks to be the case this season as well.
The Eagles already lost Brooks for most of the season with a torn pectoral muscle. Last week, starting left tackle Jordan Mailata suffered a knee sprain in practice that will keep him off the field for at least a few weeks. And during their embarrassing loss to the Cowboys on Monday, the Eagles lost Seumalo for the season with a broken foot.
If you’re keeping track at home, that’s three starting linemen out of the lineup in the first three weeks of the season. It’s déjà vu all over again for an Eagles team that can’t seem to catch a break, and Hurts could feel the wrath of the team’s terrible injury luck.
A nightmare that could derail Jalen Hurts’ career
An NFL quarterback is only as good as his offensive line. We saw what happened to Wentz when his battered line couldn’t keep him upright for two straight seasons, and he’s still feeling the effects of all the hits he took in Philadelphia.
Now, Hurts is the one who will be forced to operate behind three backups in the coming weeks. The chances of a serious injury obviously get higher, but it will also be hard for Hurts to be effective in the pocket if he’s under constant pressure for most of the game.
The second-year QB looked lost behind a makeshift line on Monday night, so we might be seeing more of the same from Hurts going forward. If things don’t improve for Hurts the rest of the season, he might just face the same fate as Wentz did last offseason.