Philadelphia Eagles, Jalen Hurts more dangerous with new high-execution offensive identity – Philadelphia Eagles blog
PHILADELPHIA – Eagles coach Nick Sirianni praised quarterback Jalen Hurts on Sunday, even following a 27-24 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers.
Hurts wasn’t asked to make a ton of it in the passing game – he finished 11 of 17 for 162 yards – but he added 62 rushing yards and was at his best in critical time, making a play of 10, A 78-yard drive in the fourth quarter, which he capped with a 28-yard touchdown pass to rookie receiver DeVonta Smith. The key play was a scramble on the third and the 4. Hurts had his legs affected as he dove down to the first marker, forcing him to do a full front flip. He got up unscathed and the crowd went wild.
Sirianni said after Hurts “Made plays that I don’t think any other NFL quarterback can make,” praising him on his performance down the stretch.
“We definitely need to build on that,” Sirianni said. “It’s no secret. Jalen has had some good practices over the past two weeks, played two good games in a row, so we just have to go back and have another week like we did. last week, offensively, to put us in a position to win next week. “
It’s no coincidence that Hurts’ strong back-to-back exits coincided with a change in offensive approach. Sirianni, after neglecting the running backs for several weeks, has run plenty of runs over the past two weeks against the Chargers and Detroit Lions (44-6 win). Consider: In Weeks 1-7, the full backs totaled 96 carries (13.7 per game) for 444 yards and three touchdowns. In Weeks 8 and 9, those numbers skyrocketed to 66 carries (33 per game) for 258 yards and six touchdowns.
Hurts made up almost 90% of the Eagles’ offense at the start, most in the NFL. The past two weeks have been easy in comparison. He’s averaged 15.5 passing attempts in the last two games, compared to 34.5 attempts per game in the first seven weeks.
Putting so much effort on Hurts to begin with has never been right or practical. He has only 13 starts in the NFL and is still learning a lot on the job. Although he showed improvement in throwing the ball, increasing his completion rate from 52% last year to 61.5% in 2021, he still ranks 28th in quarterbacks in terms of accuracy.
But it remains very dangerous. Hurts entered Sunday’s game fifth overall in the red zone passers standings (116.8) and with the seventh total yards (3,289) by a quarterback in his first 12 career starts in the NFL history, according to the Eagles. He’s a solid leader and has a steady hand in big moments, as evidenced by the end of the game last week.
Hurts isn’t far enough along as a passer to pull back 45 times a game consistently, and that Eagles defense certainly can’t be relied upon to keep the fort going when such an approach backfires. A steady dose of rushing play lightens some of Hurts’ burden, gives him more wiggle room when he decides to keep him (he’s already second in quarterbacks for rushing yards with 494), and will keep most of the time. nearby matches. , giving Hurts the opportunity to do some late magic.
The running game also fuels one of Hurts’ greatest strengths – the game-action passing. With the Eagles featuring the run and the Hurts lining up more under center in Weeks 8 and 9, he completed 83.3% of his playing passes (20.5% above expectations) and has averaging 13 yards per attempt for a gross QBR of 95.6, which ranks Fourth. In Weeks 1-7, he had a 66% completion rate in such scenarios and averaged 8.8 yards per attempt for a gross QBR of 26.3, which ranked 29th.
“Obviously I think we’ve taken action throughout the year,” Hurts said when asked to develop an offensive identity. “I think we grew up. I think we communicated better. From coach to player, I think we had better conversations and became on the same page on a more cohesive basis. over there and it shows. “
The caveat to all of this is that Philadelphia suffered a heavy run against two of the NFL’s worst defenses against the rush in the Chargers and Lions. To expect the Eagles to rush 40 times per game from now on would be foolish. But it’s not just the opponents they’ve been up against lately. The coaching staff recognized that this put too much weight on Hurts’ shoulders, and that in order to become a more effective offense they needed to build on their strong attacking forehead and allow running backs Miles Sanders, Jordan Howard , Boston Scott and Kenny Gainwell to get down to business.
There will be more in the future, which should be a good thing for Hurts and the offense over the last eight games.