Jalen Hurts makes his case as QB of the long run in Eagles’ route of Vikings

By Ralph Vacchiano
FOX Sports activities NFC East Author

the philadelphia eagles have by no means wavered of their dedication to Jalen Hurts as their franchise quarterback. On Monday night time, he confirmed a nationwide tv viewers why.

It is solely Week 2 and there is a lengthy option to go, however the 24-year-old Hurts made an enormous assertion within the Eagles’ 24-7 win over the Minnesota Vikings. I’ve performed like an elite quarterback. He was extra harmful throwing the ball than he was working it. And he unfold it round, exhibiting everybody simply how numerous and highly effective this Eagles offense is.

It was his best recreation as a professional. And if Hurts retains taking part in like he did in opposition to the Vikings, if that Eagles offense retains clicking, they are going to be an actual Tremendous Bowl contender this season. And people “MVP” chants Hurts heard from the group at Lincoln Monetary Area? He may find yourself being a contender in that race within the close to future, too.

“A giant time efficiency by him,” Eagles coach Nick Sirianni mentioned. “A giant-time efficiency on a big-time stage.”

Hurts actually was that good in opposition to a great Vikings workforce — and a Vikings protection, by the way in which, that held the Packers to only seven factors in Week 1 and stored Aaron Rodgers beneath 200 passing yards. Hurts completed 26-of-31 for 333 yards with a landing and a late interception, they usually ran 11 instances for 57 yards and two touchdowns. The Eagles’ offense, even after slowing down within the second half, racked up 486 complete yards.

However his efficiency was a lot extra than simply the numbers. One week in the past, the massive criticism of the Eagles’ offense of their 38-35 opening day win in Detroit is that it was a bit too one-dimensional within the passing recreation. All the things appeared to run by their new receiver, AJ Brown, who had 10 catches for 155 yards in his debut.

In Week 2, although, Hurts fastened all that. He was “in full management,” Sirianni mentioned, and he unfold the ball round everybody. He even began on the opening drive, which featured 5 runs, 5 passes and 4 totally different receivers. In all, eight totally different gamers caught passes from him. Tight finish Dallas Goedert (5-82), receiver DeVonta Smith (7-80), and receiver Quez Watkins (2-69 and a 53-yard landing) all had been extra productive than Brown (5-69).

If the Eagles’ passing assault is that deep, it ought to terrify the remainder of the NFC East, and it will likely be fairly regarding for the highest groups within the NFC, too. Keep in mind, the Eagles had been the No. 1 speeding workforce within the NFL final season, they usually have already got 379 speeding yards by two video games this yr. Their offensive line is perhaps the very best in soccer and was completely dominant at instances in opposition to the Vikings.

All of the instruments are in place. And now it certain appears to be like like they’ve the quarterback, too.

“He is put in a lot work,” Sirianni mentioned. “In fact [the game] is slowing down for him. It ought to at this level, as a result of he is a yr additional into this course of. He lives the speculation of getting higher day by day. That is why you are seeing main enhancements.”

A yr in the past, the jury was nonetheless out on Hurts, though contained in the group, the Eagles’ religion by no means wavered. He was a bit one-dimensional within the passing recreation, hardly ever throwing over the center — largely as a result of he did not have receivers who thrived there. He was typically too fast to tug the ball down and run on the first signal of bother within the pocket.

Now he is exhibiting the poise of a veteran and the intelligence to run as a weapon, not simply to bail out. A fantastic instance got here on his 26-yard landing run late within the first half. He rolled proper and needed to learn the Vikings’ security protection of Goedert earlier than making any choices. After they acquired tied up, Hurts took off down the sidelines, following Goedert all the way in which. That wasn’t working simply to run, or working in a panic. It was working as an choice to maintain the protection off stability and make a sensible play.

That is maturity and progress and all of the issues a workforce needs to see out of a younger quarterback, particularly in yr three. And it will create numerous issues for defensive coordinators the remainder of the season.

In truth, nearly every little thing concerning the Eagles goes to create issues for opponents. They’re now a harmful, two-pronged offense, averaging 281 passing yards and 189.5 speeding yards by the primary two weeks. Their offensive line is improbable. They’ve three working backs, three receivers and a decent finish who’re all respectable weapons.

And it certain appears to be like like their quarterback now can do all of it.

The large lacking piece within the opener was their protection, which was shredded by the Lions for 181 speeding yards as they missed a couple of dozen tackles in a recreation Sirianni mentioned “wasn’t as much as our requirements.” However that protection made its personal assertion on Monday night time, too. It shut down the dynamic duo of Vikings receiver Justin Jefferson (6 catches, 48 ​​yards) and working again Dalvin Cook dinner (6 carries, 17 yards). The Eagles had three interceptions — two by cornerback Darius Slay — and their secondary was breaking apart passes all night time. They even turned up their dormant go rush within the second half.

Once more, they’re simply two weeks into the season. However their schedule is not daunting. The division is weak. And the convention is basically vast open. All of the items actually do appear to be in place for the Eagles to make a run deep into the postseason.

All they want is somebody to steer them. And on Monday night time, Hurts confirmed the world he is able to do it.

“I would not say I am stunned,” Sirianni mentioned. “I’ve seen the expansion of him. He will attain his ceiling of him.”

Added defensive finish Brandon Graham: “He is proving all of the doubters unsuitable.”

Ralph Vacchiano is the NFC East reporter for FOX Sports activities, masking the Washington Commanders, Philadelphia Eagles, New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys. I’ve spent 22 years masking the Giants, Jets and NFL at massive for SNY and the New York Each day Information. He could be discovered on Twitter at @Ralph Vacchiano.

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