By Rob Maaddi
Jalen Hurts has provided encouragement in a dismal season for the Eagles.
The rookie quarterback’s impressive performance in a loss to Arizona offers hope and excitement. He’s made the offense entertaining again.
Hurts has proven he’s a playmaker, a dual-threat player who can use his legs and arm to beat teams. He has poise. He has leadership skills. He has swagger.
Hurts seems to possess all the intangibles. So did Carson Wentz.
Two games are too soon to make definite declarations about 2021. But Hurts is further along than many anticipated.
That’s a positive for an organization that faces a difficult decision.
Teams can never have enough quality players. Hurts having success is far more advantageous for the Eagles than if he were struggling. It gives them more options.
If the front office decides to keep Wentz and commits to helping him regain his old form, it could look to trade Hurts. He may have increased his trade value, though getting a pick higher than No. 53 has to be the goal.
If the team chooses to trade Wentz and accepts the cap hit, Hurts has shown he has potential to be a starter. He has to improve his completion percentage and get rid of the ball faster at times but that should come with more experience and more talent around him.
Keeping both quarterbacks seems unlikely. The 49ers found a way to make it work with Joe Montana and Steve Young for six seasons but it’s a different era.
One of the obvious questions is whether four games are enough to evaluate Hurts. Other QBs have shown flashes of brilliance over a few games and didn’t pan out from Bobby Hoying to AJ Feeley to Kevin Kolb. Hurts has more talent. He’s a baller.
“I think you have a good idea,” Doug Pederson said about Hurts playing only four games. “Obviously, we haven’t had a full body of 16-plus games, a preseason. We really don’t know necessarily. I do think you can go back and just watch him from his college days. Again, Alabama, Oklahoma, how he’s led those teams and the success he’s had there, I think that gives you a good indication as to maybe who he is and what he can be, I think, down the road. We still have to improve, though. There’s room to grow. Nothing is perfect, and there are some mistakes that are still being made that we have to correct, even in his game. It is a little bit of a small sample size to really probably make that determination, overall.”
It appears the Eagles have to make that decision regardless.