I’M not going to keep you in suspense. It’s QB Jalen Hurts. All the beat reporters in Philadelphia don’t have the balls to do what I’m going to do here. Let me put it plain language, so that no one can be confused by it, and so I can’t back away from it in January.
QUALIFIER: If Hurts isn’t mentally sharper in 2022, the Eagles won’t win 9 games. However, if he is better at seeing passing lanes and getting the ball out on time, the entire NFC, not just the East, is on notice. This 2022 Eagles team will be competing for a first round bye, in the playoffs.
Am I getting ahead of myself? Nope. Not at all. You saw my qualifier. I didn’t say it was an automatic. I clearly stated the one thing, and ONLY one thing, that has to happen to trigger this team’s ascension.
I hear you ask “But BEAST, what about injuries?” We will have some, and some of them will be more damaging than others. Of course if the team is decimated by injury, even with a better Hurts, we’re probably screwed. That however, won’t need to be said to smart people. (So anyone who ignores parts of article, to focus on other parts, will be removing themselves form the ‘Smart’ category.)
As for a normal amount of injuries, what sets the Eagles apart, is that everywhere that we’re strong, we’re also deep. Let’s go position by position.
QB – Hurts and Gardner Minshew. No back-ups here, just two starters.
WR – Devonta Smith, A.J. Brown, Quez Watkins, Zach Pascal. Our top four WR’s have all been starters, who have posted at least one 600 yard season. There are no untested kids here.
OT – Lane Johnson, Jordan Mialata, Andre Dillard. Dillard doesn’t start because of how good the guys in front of him are, and teams have inquired about trading for him.
C – Jason Kelce is a Hall of Famer in-waiting, backed up by an heir (Cam “Beef” Jurgens) that Kelce hand-picked, as well as a couple of guys (Jack Driscoll and Isaac Seumalo) who have been plug and play at this position.
DT – Fletcher Cox, Javon Hargrave, Milton Williams and Jordan Davis. There are teams that don’t have one guy of this caliber at DT, and we have FOUR. (FYI: If they can get Renell Wren going, they’ll have to change the scheme to get any three of these guys out there at once.)
LB – Kyzir White, Hassan Reddick, T.J. Edwards, Nakobe Dean. Anyone who expects Dean to walk away with the starting job in camp, wasn’t paying attention to Edwards, once the team gave him over 50% of the snaps in a game. Go and look at Weeks 8 – 16. Go look.
CB – Darius Slay, James Bradberry, Avonte Maddox, and Zech McPhearson. Maddox is strictly a slot guy, but he’s Top 10 (#9) at it. McPhearson is a pup, but he’s got dawg in him.
Those are positions of outright strength for the team. Next we have some positions that aren’t deep with game-changers, but have plenty of options if the starters go down.
RB – Miles Sanders is our guy. Behind him are Kenneth Gainwell and Boston Scott. Neither is spectacular, but in Sander’s absence, they’ve already shown that as a duo, they can keep the Offense running.
G – Landon Dickerson is a star. Isaac Suemalo (the other starter), isn’t a star. Young Jack Driscoll has made a strong case for Suemalo’s spot, and if Driscoll wasn’t coming back from his own injury, the job might already be his. So there’s one star, and two starters battling for a job. So we’re solid.
DE – Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett, Josh Sweat. Graham is not a sack artist, but he generates hurries, and contains the run extremely well. Conversely, Josh Sweat is pass rusher more than a solid End. Derek Barnett never became the sack artist he was drafted to be, but he’s low-key pretty good vs the run. There are no stars here, but no weak links either.
Right now S has too many question marks to say that it’s an asset yet. There is also almost no depth at TE. This is why I wrote earlier that the Eagles need the experiment of moving J.J. Arcega-Whiteside from WR to TE, to be a success story.
Since this article was written (originally on July 16th), Training Camp has begun, and USA Today has picked us to go 11 – 6, and win the NFC East. So far so good, everything looks like it should, right about now.
I do have some concerns about Hurts though. And I’m not alone. Some guy named Brian Westbrook also used “concerned” to describe his feelings about the team “When I’m hearing our quarterback is struggling early on in the preseason, early on in the camp, I’m absolutely concerned because I absolutely know that our quarterback has to carry us for a certain part of the season. We have to find a way to make sure Jalen Hurts is the guy and right now, based on some of the reports that are coming out of camp, he hasn’t done too well.“
It’s not just me. It’s not just BWest. As he said, reports coming out of camp. This is internal stuff, folks. Even Head Coach Nick Sirianni used the ‘C’ word. “Would you want to eliminate a couple of the turnovers? Absolutely. There’s a couple too many turnovers in there. That’s where my biggest concern is.”
So this is not me picking on Hurts. Fan, former player, and Head Coach are all concerned. So this can just be dismissed. I want to believe the kid can do it, but he’s running out of time and wasting opportunities. Game One is closer than it appears.
Do you want to know what my nightmare is? Watching Hurts be outplayed twice this year, by QB Carson Wentz. Are you up for that? Hurts has started two games against the Cowboys, and been blown out both times. Are you up for that again? Last year, Hurts (QB rating 17.5) was massively outplayed by QB Daniel Jones (QB rating 94.0), in a 7 – 13 Eagles loss. Are you up for that again? If you aren’t up for this stuff, then you need to be concerned.