The Philadelphia Eagles‘ decision to draft Jalen Hurts in the second round last year sparked a quarterback controversy that ultimately resulted in Carson Wentz, throwing a fit, demanding a trade, and cost head coach Doug Pederson his job.
Despite the messy situation GM Howie Roseman sparked by acquiring Hurts in the first place, he explained in an interview why he went with the young signal-caller in the 2020 draft, and why he wouldn’t change that decision knowing what he knows now.
As reported by NJ.com’s Chris Franklin, Roseman spoke to the WIP Morning Show on Wednesday and alluded to Wentz’s extensive injury history as the main rationale for drafting Hurts, along with the former Alabama and Oklahoma star’s intangibles and intriguing dual-threat ability:
“We loved Carson, but we played four (six) playoff games, and we’ve needed our backup quarterback and all of them. It’s too important of a position not to have that. I think that just thinking about where we were at the moment, and I think it was the right thing to do. It’s a hard decision, but it was the right thing to do.
“[…] I think that we talk a lot about Jalen and his leadership and what kind of person he is, which are really positive things, but the guy can play, and he can win. He’s another person, like all of us, who have to prove it and show it, and we’re excited about that. But certainly, he’s got a skill set that we’re excited about.”
The Eagles traded Wentz to the Indianapolis Colts, where he’s reunited with former Philadelphia offensive coordinator Frank Reich.
To say things haven’t gotten off to a great start in Indy for Wentz is a vast understatement. Wentz suffered a foot injury in training camp, and although he’s apparently on track to play in Week 1, it’s yet another medical red flag. Plus, Reich was publicly critical of Wentz for not taking the COVID-19 vaccine.
Is Jalen Hurts ready to be Philadelphia Eagles franchise QB?
- Jalen Hurts stats (Philadelphia Eagles, 2020): Completed 77 of 148 passing attempts (52%), 1,061 yards, six touchdowns, four interceptions, 77.6 passer rating; 63 carries, 354 yards, three rushing touchdowns
As much responsibility as Hurts faces for his own performance, and lackluster passing numbers from his rookie campaign, the Eagles’ recent dysfunction is a big factor that must be taken into account here.
While the noise around the organization seems to have subsided with Wentz out of town, Hurts is now tasked with a one-year window to prove himself, despite widely held expectations that Philadelphia is not a playoff team.
Hurts’ running ability makes him difficult to prepare for. How he fares as a pocket passer, and whether Nick Sirianni is the right head coach to lead the Eagles into the future, will go much further in shaping the 23-year-old’s NFL destiny.
But with skill players like DeVonta Smith, Jalen Reagor and Quez Watkins around him, along with a solid tight end duo in Dallas Goedert and Zach Ertz, combined with a healthier, much better offensive line, maybe Philly’s offense is much better set up for success than most realize.
Given his unique background of getting beat out by Tua Tagovailoa as Alabama’s starter, transferring to Oklahoma to shine in Lincoln Riley’s offense for one year, and then dealing with the Wentz fiasco amid an already-bizarre 2020 NFL season, it feels like Hurts can handle the scrutiny that comes with being a high-profile athlete in Philadelphia.
With word out of Eagles camp that players are “blown away” by Hurts on and off the field, look out for the precocious field general to take a huge step forward in Year 2.
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Author: Matt Fitzgerald