NFL analyst reveals biggest catalyst for Jalen Hurts rebound

NFL analyst reveals biggest catalyst for Jalen Hurts rebound
NFL analyst reveals biggest catalyst for Jalen Hurts rebound

The Philadelphia Eagles were one of the more aggressive teams in the NFL during free agency, but much of the franchise’s hopes of returning to the Super Bowl for the second time in three seasons hinge on quarterback Jalen Hurts returning to form.

Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles
May 30, 2024; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (1) shakes hands with running back Saquon Barkley (26) during practice at NovaCare Complex. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Last season, the Eagles’ dramatic decline from a 10-1 start in the regular season and the fact that the 2023 season ended with a crushing loss to the Buccaneers in the NFC Wild Card Round in Tampa Bay was one of the biggest stories of the competition in the second half of the season.

During the Eagles’ final six games of the regular season, Hurts completed 61 percent of his passes for 1,161 yards with just five touchdowns and five interceptions, and was sacked seven times.

But the pieces could be in place for Hurts to return to form when he was a legitimate MVP candidate in 2022.

Why Jalen Hurts Is Ready for the 2024 Bounce-Back Season

Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles
New York Giants linebacker Bobby Okereke (58) chases Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (1) just before tackling him in the second quarter, Sunday, Jan. 7, 2024.

As the 2024 season approaches, CBS Sports’ Garrett Podell has compiled a list of the quarterbacks most likely to bounce back this fall, including Hurts.

“The 2023 season didn’t go as smoothly for Hurts after the departure of offensive coordinator Shane Steichen,” Podell wrote for CBS Sports. “He left to become head coach of the Indianapolis Colts. Hurts’ turnovers have more than doubled in 2023, while his passing yards per attempt have dropped by almost a whole yard, from 8.0 to 7.2. By comparison: quarterback Lamar Jackson of the Baltimore Ravens ranked fourth in the NFL last season in averaging eight yards per pass attempt, while Hurts’ 7.2 yards per pass attempt ranked 14th in the league.

“With the addition of two-time Pro Bowl running back Saquon Barkley and veteran offensive coordinator Kellen Moore, Hurts should look more like the 2022 version of himself than he did last season. Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott had some of the best years of his eight-year career when Moore was his play-caller from 2019-2022. There’s no reason Hurts can’t return to a high-level performance in 2024.”

Barkley’s arrival is expected to have a major impact on the Eagles’ offense and on Hurts, thanks to Barkley’s ability to make big plays behind one of the league’s best and most consistent offensive lines.

Barkley gives Jalen Hurts a much better chance to get through the season healthy,” Tannenbaum writes for ESPN, calling the Barkley signing the most impactful in the league. “Over the past three seasons, Hurts has run the ball 491 times, which is the most of any quarterback during that span.

“Those numbers take their toll, and he didn’t look the same at the end of last season. With a real elite runner in the backfield, there won’t be as much pressure on Hurts to run, which could keep him healthy down the stretch.”

Likewise, Moore’s system could bring out the best in Hurts, especially considering it will be his third season with dynamic receiver AJ Brown on the receiving end of the passes and fourth with DeVonta Smith as the top target.

“He’s a coach who’s very quarterback-friendly,” an NFL defensive coach who has coached against Moore several times told Heavy on the condition of anonymity to speak freely about another team. “Kellen is a great fit for Jalen Hurts’ skill set. And, perhaps more importantly, he knows how to get the most out of Philly’s skill players because it’s a similar collection of talent to the one he had in Dallas.”

Philadelphia Eagles
December 31 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (L) and offensive coordinator Brian Johnson (R) talk during a timeout in the second quarter against the Arizona Cardinals at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

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