Philadelphia Eagles Need Jalen Hurts’ Legs in Playoffs
The NFL postseason is here with 14 teams vying to capture the Vince Lombardi trophy.
The Eagles are part of the field, a long shot in betting terms, or playing with house money as many people like to say. With that, it’s a perfect time for them to unveil and unleash a secret weapon.
Hurts is a dual-threat quarterback who hasn't done as much running in recent weeks, due to an ankle injury suffered in the teams Week 12 loss to the Giants.
The second-year signal-caller can devastate defenses with his arm and legs, but since the ankle injury, we haven't seen as much of the later.
In three games post ankle injury, Hurts has rushed for just 89 yards on 17 carries, which is just 29.6 yards per game. Before the injury, Hurts ran for 695 yards, good for 57.9 yards per game.
"Jalen is feeling pretty good," said Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni on Wednesday. "But I know the last week off really helped him heal and get better and closer to that 100%."
If he is felling 100%, then he is going to be an important part of the rushing attack. In the first game against the Buccaneers, the team ran the ball 19 times, but 10 of those runs came from Hurts.
This time around, you can expect that to change.
Miles Sanders had nine carries for 56 yards, all coming in the second-half, no other Eagles running back had carry in the game.
The result: Tampa Bay had the ball for 39:56 compared to 20:04 for Philadelphia.
This time around, I expect the Eagles to mix in more of Sanders, Jordan Howard and even Boston Scott in addition to what Hurts gives you in the running game.
Hurts not only can be a big factor in the run game, but he has continued to improve as a passer since returning from that ankle injury. Hurts has been very efficient, completing 54-of-81 passes (66%) for 709 yards and three passing touchdowns.
"He has definitely gotten better throughout that time, which doesn't surprise me at all because Jalen is a student of the game," Sirianni stated.
In the first game, Hurts struggled as a passer, completing just 12-26 passes for 115 yards, but has grown leaps and bounds since that game.
"I think you're just seeing him grow closer and closer to his ceiling," Sirianni said. "Yeah, he's definitely better and he’s just going to continue to get better because of who he is as a person and as a player."
But now, it’s time to prove it on the field that he has improved and grown as a quarterback. If people still have questions about Hurts as the team's quarterback of the future, he can put those doubters, doubts to rest with a big game against Tom Brady and the Bucs.
It’s a tall ask for a quarterback entering his very first playoff game, against the defending Super Bowl champions defense.
Anything is possible and Hurts has shown that he can overcome the odds in the past, but winning this game might just be his biggest achievement to date.
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