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time2rock

Has Hurts improved his accuracy enough in Year 2?

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Has Hurts improved his accuracy enough in Year 2?

 

If there was one area where Jalen Hurts needed to improve from Year 1 to Year 2, it was his accuracy.

And he has.

But has he improved it enough?

It’s a relevant question, especially as the Eagles use this season to try to figure out if he’s their franchise quarterback. Because there has been improvement this season with Hurts’ accuracy, but he still ranks toward the bottom of the NFL in that category.

After completing just 52% of his passes as a rookie, Hurts is up to 61.2% in Year 2, which is very solid improvement. But he still ranks 29th of 34 qualified quarterbacks in the league. Perhaps it’s no surprise that three of the guys below him are rookies: Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson and Justin Fields.

As unfair as it may be, those guys are first round-picks who will get the benefit of the doubt and the benefit of time. Meanwhile, Hurts was a second-round pick taken before this new coaching staff arrived and his arm talent was questioned entering the draft. And some of those pre-draft evaluations have rung true, at least early in his career.

But is Hurts accurate enough to be effective leading the Eagles’ offense?

"I think so. I believe so,” head coach Nick Sirianni said after Sunday’s 33-22 loss in Las Vegas. "We’ve still got to get him in some situations where he’s staying in the pocket, we’ve got to be able to move him enough to hit some things down the field. I gotta go and look at the tape.

"I thought he probably played about average to above average today if I had to say anything right now. But I think he can make all the throws and make them accurately. … How many passes did he have? 34? You’re going to have some missed passes in 34 attempts. You’re going to have some on there and say, gosh, I wish I had that one back. But that’s any quarterback. I believe he is. I’ve got a lot of confidence in him.”

After completing 77.1% of his passes in the season-opening win in Atlanta, Hurts has completed just 58.5% of his passes since and he has been under 60% in four of the last six games, including the last three. In Sunday’s loss, Hurts completed 18 of 34 passes (52.9%).

The league average in 2021 is 65.9%, the highest in NFL history.

In his short career, Hurts has started 11 games dating back to last year. Overall, he has a completion percentage of 57.7%, which ranks 9th-worst in the league over the last 10 years among QBs with at least 350 attempts.

But there has been improvement.

Beyond the basic completion percentage stats, Hurts’ bad-throw percentage is down from 26.7% in 2020 to 11.4% in 2021. And his on-target throws have improved from 60.7% to 65.1%.

All that is good.

Although it might also be a product of play design. While Sirianni certainly hasn’t seemed to really figure out how to use Hurts properly, the young quarterback hasn’t been chucking the ball downfield quite as much this season. Last year, his average air yards per attempt was 9.1 and that has dropped to 8.6 this season. Basically, it’s easier to hit short throws than it is long ones. Duh.

What we’re seeing is an inconsistent young quarterback who might be able to develop into a more accurate passer. At least there are signs of improvement. But it’s fair to wonder how patient the Eagles are going to be with him.

And, remember, a lot of the inefficiencies and inconsistencies we’ve seen from Hurts as a passer early in his career aren’t surprises to folks who scouted him during the pre-draft process last year.

Here’s an excerpt from what TheAthletic’s Dane Brugler wrote about Hurts heading into the 2020 draft:

"Hurts plays with the gutsy demeanor and the toughness of a runner reminiscent to Tim Tebow as an NFL prospect. However, like Tebow, his inconsistencies as a passer are concerns for the next level, holding the ball too long, struggling to anticipate and forcing throws. Overall, Hurts offers the intangibles and mental toughness required for the next level, but he is a tardy passer who will struggle to consistently create plays with his arm vs. NFL speed, which is why he projects more as a developmental backup than a starter right now.”

There’s no question that Hurts is still a developmental quarterback. The only difference between him and some other developmental quarterbacks is that he’s learning on the job.

Because of those intangible qualities, there ought to be hope that he can continue to improve as a passer, but what’s his ceiling in that respect? His scrambling ability and his ability on designed runs is special. But he needs to be more than that.

Sure, it’s tough to evaluate Hurts this season because Sirianni hasn’t done him any favors with play calling (true), because his offensive line has been constantly shuffled and hasn’t been the strength it’s supposed to be (true) and because for most of the Eagles’ games this year there hasn’t been any semblance of run-pass balance (again, true).

But the Eagles are evaluating him. And they’re trying to figure out this season if he’s their best option going forward. The way Hurts can prove it to them is by improving his accuracy and showing that he can be an NFL thrower.

If Hurts doesn’t succeed it won’t be for lack of effort. All those intangibles we hear about him are valid.

And he’s accountable. Hurts knows he needs to get better.

What’s the one area he needs to improve the most?

"Consistency,” Hurts said on Sunday. "Making the play when the plays are there to be made. Making the plays when it doesn’t look too nice, but still finding a way to get it done. We’ve got another week, another opportunity. I put the 24 hour rule on this one as well. We’ve got a big one in Detroit.

https://www.nbcsports.com/philadelphia/eagles/has-eagles-jalen-hurts-improved-his-accuracy-enough-year-2

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Those numbers are misleading. His first half/third quarter numbers have been brutal.

 

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The simple answer... No he hasn't improved enough but I don't think it's necessarily accuracy. It is timing, it is going through his progressions, it is staying in the pocket, it is not staring down his receiver.

Accuracy is absolutely an issue with Hurts I'm not trying to argue against that. But I think some of those that I've raised above are potentially bigger issues.

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But he still ranks 29th of 34 qualified quarterbacks in the league. Perhaps it’s no surprise that three of the guys below him are rookies: Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson and Justin Fields.

For all intents and purposes, Hurts is still a rookie too (he has less than a full year of starting experience ... 4 games under the old regime that was completely swept out at the end of last season, 7 games now under a new coaching staff implementing a new scheme).  

Quote

How many passes did he have? 34? You’re going to have some missed passes in 34 attempts. 

Unless your Derek Carr or any of the other QBs facing the Eagles.  <_<

Quote

You’re going to have some on there and say, gosh, I wish I had that one back. 

Oh no, not another one of those gee whillikers, gosh dang, tag nabbit kind of guys!  :lol:

Anyway, has he played well enough?  No

Can he get better?  Maybe.  Probably.  Can he reach the level needed to be a franchise QB ... unknown.  He needs more time to know with any certainty.  That is the one thing we have is time to give him ... we are NOT competing for a championship this year and it is almost certain we won't be competing for a championship next year.  This roster is too full of holes.  They'd be best served to add as many talented pieces as they can to fill those holes outside of QB (since the upcoming class is reportedly a weak one) and give Hurts more time.  If there are as many questions about him when next season concludes, then look to the 2023 draft for a QB ... the new guy would have a much better chance at success with a stronger team around him from the start.  

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1 hour ago, time2rock said:

If there are as many questions about him when next season concludes, then look to the 2023 draft for a QB 

I don't think he is going to last this year as the starter unless he improves.

 

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3 minutes ago, Perforator said:

I don't think he is going to last this year as the starter unless he improves.

I had given some thought to that too.  If he shows no improvement from here until the end of the season, then I'd open up a QB competition between Hurts and Minshew (and possibly any other QB that is on the roster at that point) next offseason for the right to be named starter when the 2022 season kicks off.  That would be my approach, at least.  Who knows what the FO is thinking.  Knowing Howie he'll give all three 1s to Seattle for Wilson.  

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2 minutes ago, time2rock said:

I had given some thought to that too.  If he shows no improvement from here until the end of the season, then I'd open up a QB competition between Hurts and Minshew (and possibly any other QB that is on the roster at that point) next offseason for the right to be named starter when the 2022 season kicks off.  That would be my approach, at least.  Who knows what the FO is thinking.  Knowing Howie he'll give all three 1s to Seattle for Wilson.  

I don't trust their 'QB competition'. They were supposed to have one this spring.

 

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1 minute ago, Perforator said:

I don't trust their 'QB competition'. They were supposed to have one this spring.

 

I don't buy that they had a legit competition.  Gut says they had Hurts in mind all along as the starter but didn't want to name him from the get go, wanted him to work hard to "earn" it.   

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He had a great college career and that's his high water mark.  Not an NFL QB

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No.  Just watching, the ball usually arrives late.  This is going to sound like Wentz but makes me think Hurts needs to see the receiver open before he throws the ball.

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9 minutes ago, Miami said:

No.  Just watching, the ball usually arrives late.  This is going to sound like Wentz but makes me think Hurts needs to see the receiver open before he throws the ball.

I’ve also been noticing when receivers are running crossings routes they aren’t catching the ball smoothly in stride … they usually are slowing down and reaching behind them to try to make the catch.  Also reminiscent of Wentz, McNabb, etc. 

For the love of God I hope whoever Howie target next has that touch (and can drop those deep balls right in the basket for the receiver to make the catch in stride).  That’s all I’ve ever wanted from my QB.  I’d prefer that to mobility.  

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8 hours ago, time2rock said:

I’d prefer that to mobility.  

What I don't understand is why these QBs with great mobility and the ability to run and make plays with their legs don't have that touch and accuracy? I mean surely if you are naturally athletic and agile then you can focus on your throwing mechanics and then fall back on that athleticism if you need to? I mean Lamar is a good but not elite passer. I guess Mahomes is both but he doesn't run a lot but that's because he hasn't needed to. And I guess Murray is now showing that touch and accuracy so perhaps the next wave of QBs will have it because they are modelling themselves on Mahomes and Murray. 

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On 10/27/2021 at 6:21 PM, time2rock said:

I’ve also been noticing when receivers are running crossings routes they aren’t catching the ball smoothly in stride … they usually are slowing down and reaching behind them to try to make the catch.  Also reminiscent of Wentz, McNabb, etc. 

For the love of God I hope whoever Howie target next has that touch (and can drop those deep balls right in the basket for the receiver to make the catch in stride).  That’s all I’ve ever wanted from my QB.  I’d prefer that to mobility.  

Because that is what wins...accuracy. It's by far the most important trait for a QB.

If the ball is consistently on time and on target, then everything else associated with that is right by default, and guess what? You almost always win.

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5 minutes ago, PoconoDon said:

Because that is what wins...accuracy. It's by far the most important trait for a QB.

If the ball is consistently on time and on target, then everything else associated with that is right by default, and guess what? You almost always win.

When was the last time we had that QB?  

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5 minutes ago, time2rock said:

When was the last time we had that QB?  

Not in our lifetimes brother. We've seen guys go on accuracy hot streaks but consistent accuracy year in and year out? Never.

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20 minutes ago, PoconoDon said:

Not in our lifetimes brother. We've seen guys go on accuracy hot streaks but consistent accuracy year in and year out? Never.

I know.  😞

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