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Stuck in the Middle With You


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Stuck in the Middle With You

Posted: July 1st, 2021 | Author: Tommy Lawlor | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles 

Last time out we talked about Jalen Hurts and his potential. He is talented and hard working. That’s usually a good combination. The question is if he can be good enough to be the starting QB on a long term basis. No one doubts him as a quality backup. Starter? That is a very different question.

As a starter last year, Hurts went 1-3. That’s not good. He lost to Arizona by seven points. The defense gave up 33 points and 526 yards. Hurts lost to Dallas in a blowout, but the defense was the biggest issue in that game as well. In the season finale, Hurts was pulled at halftime. The Eagles lost 20-14. It sure felt like he would have won that game if allowed to finish.

He did go 1-3, but he wasn’t that far off from 3-1.

Some of you will think of this as me trying to prop him up. That’s actually not what I’m trying to do with that. His numbers and overall play last year weren’t anything to write home about.

Hurts is dangerous right now because of his ability to make plays with his legs. That is an X-factor that could win the Eagles a few games this season. Think back to 2000. Donovan McNabb led the Eagles to an 11-5 record. He threw for 3365 yards. He had 21 TDs and 13 INTs. Those are pedestrian numbers, but that’s what happens when Charles Johnson and Torrance Small are your best receivers. Duce Staley got hurt and only played five games that year. Someone named Darnell Autry was the RB for most of the year. There is a reason many of you don’t remember or don’t know who Darnell Autry is.

The Eagles finished 17th in yards that year. They were 12th in scoring points. McNabb’s legs were the star of the show. He ran for 629 yards and 6 TDs. He averaged 7.3 yards per carry. His legs brought some life to the passing game as well.

The team won 11 games that year by being #4 in the league in scoring defense, having very good STs and coming up with 4 return TDs (2 on STs and 2 on D).



Offense…good enough.

That was a fun season because we could see McNabb developing into a star. He had special talent. That season told us the future was going to be very bright and the team was going to win a lot of games.

The 2021 Eagles are not nearly as good on defense or STs. And Hurts is not nearly as gifted as McNabb. The flip side is that he’s got much better weapons to work with. The offense could be solid if he develops as expected. And his legs will keep things interesting.

I don’t think the Eagles are going to win 11 games (shocker, right?). This team still feels a year away from being close to that stage. But they could be around .500. And Hurts could prove to be a solid playmaker. There is danger in both of those.

While you want to see the team win more games and show improvement, every win hurts their draft position. Having a Top 10 pick again could help to re-stock the roster. If they are down in the 15 to 18 range, it can be more challenging to find top talent. You need some luck or a great scouting staff.

Hurts might show enough for you to talk yourself into the idea that he is good enough to be the long term starter. You see him make plays and do some crazy things. He pulls off an upset or two and makes you believe. That leads to rationalization.

  • "Next season he’ll be better because he’ll have a full year of starting experience.”
  • "The coaches will fine tune the offense to really bring out the best in Hurts.”
  • "Donovan McNabb and Carson Wentz both made big strides in their second full season as starters.”
  • "X, Y and/or Z will be healthy and that will make a big difference.”

The front office passed on Justin Fields last April. Part of that was wanting to see what Hurts could do, especially with a better supporting cast. There will be a lot of pressure on him and the Eagles this year. If Hurts stinks, the team will look bad for having drafted him at all. If Fields lights it up, the Eagles will look bad for passing on him.

Ideally you either want Hurts to show enough where you can say "He’s not the guy” or "We found our QB”. History tells us Hurts is likely to be somewhere in the middle of that. And his ability to run and improvise could easily have us leaning the wrong way.

The worst case scenario for the Eagles would be to finish the 2021 season with a so-so record and a so-so QB. And a lot of questions heading into 2022.

The 2021 team needs answers as much as they need wins.


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He's going to win some games this year simply by being able to run. Developing his reads will be key to if he's the future at qb or not. The reason the offense looked better last year to the simple fan is his ability to move out of the pocket and run for his life because the oline was trash and defense's weren't ready for his speed. I hope he's the guy and not a flame out like rgknee, Vick, and vince young. 

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