REALIZE this: The only thing that could hold the Eagles back in 2022, is whether or not QB Jalen Hurts can read a defense. This is not me taking a shot at Hurts. Last year I said that we should start him, and though he doesn’t strike me a franchise QB, I still think the job should be his in 2022. So I’m not taking shots.
The last time Hurts took the field, his inability to read a defense was put on national display. He came here not knowing how to read a progression, so the coaching staff put him on a high-low read concept, on the right side of the field. (For when he would scramble right, and then throw the ball down the sideline. Sound familiar?)
As we saw last year, Hurts waits until a receiver is wide open, before throwing the ball. That resulted in a lot of incompletions, and late completions resulting in tackles instead of touchdowns. More important than getting Hurts more WR talent, is him knowing when to get the ball out. He has to be taught how to throw his receivers open. How to put the ball opposite a defender, where the receiver can run under it, and not have to break stride.
Here’s an example: Hurts has been throwing with WR A.J. Brown during the offseason. Still in this video, Brown has to gear down and reach behind him (not in front of him), to make this catch.
Brown having to gear down, gives the defense a better chance to catch up to him. Also, in a game, with his head turned back like this, Brown wouldn’t see a defender closing on him. Ouch!
The easiest way to train Hurts, would be during Training Camp, before the pads go on. Draw up plays, and tell Hurts where the ball should be placed on each route. Coaches on every team already do this of course, but unlike other drills, teaching him to see passing windows, anticipate them, and place the ball, would be the focus, not merely the suggested best practice.
Every year we see plenty of camp reports where a QB’s proficiency is judged by how often the ball hits the ground. Don’t do that this year. Window and placement work means that a LOT of early passes will end up with grass stains. Prior to pads, grass stains don’t equal failure. This is fine tuning. You wouldn’t say a guitarist tuning his guitar was failing at it. Well this is exactly that.
Teach Hurts to read. For a QB, it’s fundamental.