Eagles name Jalen Hurts as their starting quarterback


For the Philadelphia Eagles’ first game of the 2020 NFL season, rookie quarterback Jalen Hurts was a game-day inactive as the Eagles dressed Carson Wentz and Nate Sudfeld for a 27-17 loss to the Washington Football Team.

When the Eagles open the 2021 season on Sept. 12 against the Atlanta Falcons, Hurts will be at the helm of the Philadelphia offense.

On Tuesday, Eagles coach Nick Sirianni confirmed the obvious: Hurts had earned Philadelphia’s starting-quarterback job.

“Really, nobody else got any reps with the ones,” said Sirianni, who is entering his first season as the Eagles’ coach, “and Jalen’s known ‘Hey, nobody else has gotten any reps with the ones but me,’ and Jalen’s our starter. And he’s done a great job. We wanted him to take advantage of the opportunity and take the reins of the opportunity that he got, and we feel like the preseason that he had, he did that.

“I consistently saw a player that got better every single day. I consistently saw a player getting better with his reads and his accuracy and his ability to run and when not to run. And so, he did exactly what we wanted him to do. Again, nobody else has worked with the ones, so you could really argue that we named the starter a while ago. But Jalen will be our starter, and he’s earned that right with a great preseason, and we’ve got a lot of confidence in him.”

The former Alabama quarterback joined Philadelphia as a second-round draft choice in 2020 after finishing his college career as the Heisman Trophy runner-up during a transfer season at Oklahoma.

After sitting out the Eagles’ season-opener in 2020, Hurts appeared in each of the next 10 games, mainly as a gadget player, and never played more than seven snaps in any game.

But in the second half of Philadelphia’s 12th game, coach Doug Pederson pulled Wentz, who was in his fifth season as the Eagles’ starting quarterback. Hurts stayed in the lineup for the final four games of the season, and in the offseason, Philadelphia traded Wentz to the Indianapolis Colts.

Hurts completed 77-of-148 passes for 1,061 yards with six touchdowns and four interceptions and ran for 354 yards and three touchdowns on 63 carries as a rookie.

Hurts led Philadelphia to a 24-21 upset of the New Orleans Saints as he became the first quarterback in NFL history to run for at least 100 yards and throw a touchdown pass in his first start.

The next week, Hurts became the first quarterback in NFL history with at least 500 passing yards and 150 rushing yards in his first two starts as well as the first QB in the Super Bowl era with at least three touchdown passes and a rushing TD in his first road start in a 33-26 loss to the Arizona Cardinals.

After a 37-17 loss to the Dallas Cowboys, Hurts was the 16th quarterback with at least 847 passing yards and the third quarterback with at least 238 rushing yards in his first three starts. But he was the only quarterback to reach both those totals in his first three starts.

“I’m really excited to work with him because I think he’s got special playmaking abilities in him,” Sirianni said.

During Tuesday’s press conference, Eagles general manager Howie Roseman was asked if Philadelphia might have an interest in acquiring Deshaun Watson. The three-time Pro Bowl quarterback wants the Houston Texans to trade him.

“I think we’re very confident and comfortable with the quarterbacks that we have on our roster,” Roseman said. “… We’re going forward with who we’ve got here. We’ll see what happens in the next 24 hours with the rest of our roster, but when you talk about that quarterback room, we got a good blend of youth, of experience, talented guys and we’re excited to start the season and to see the players that we have on this football team.”

Roseman did trade for a quarterback on Saturday, when the Eagles obtained Gardner Minshew from the Jacksonville Jaguars. Minshew started 20 games for Jacksonville over the past two seasons, with an injury limiting him to eight starts in 2020. Minshew became expendable when the Jaguars named 2021 No. 1 draft choice Trevor Lawrence as their starting quarterback.

JALEN HURTS, GARDNER MINSHEW FINALLY BECOME TEAMMATES

“I think it’s a priority for us, and we’re always going to invest in that position,” Roseman said. “We had chances to talk to Jalen and to Joe (Flacco), too, and tell them that we thought it was an opportunity to get a good player, a good person at an important position.

“Certainly, Jalen had an excellent preseason and continued to get better, and Joe was really impressive during the preseason and during camp as a whole. I think that in 15 of the last 16 years here in Philly, we’ve carried three quarterbacks, so I don’t think it’s unusual for us, and when you look at the 17-game schedule and everything that’s kind of going on in the world, we thought it was a good opportunity for our football team to improve.”

Sirianni said Minshew would be Philadelphia’s No. 3 quarterback. Hurts’ backup will be Flacco, a 13-year NFL veteran with 175 regular-season and 15 playoff starts.

Mark Inabinett is a sports reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter at @AMarkG1.

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