There is only a small sample size in this off-season Jalen Hurts analysis, because he only played one series and threw six assists in pre-season — when Hurts saw only one coverage scheme in that engine. Therefore, it is difficult to tell how much he has improved.
However, Ron Jaworsky has a distinct eye. The former Eagles quarterback is a true student of the game and is still deeply engrossed in watching the movie of the game and the basic mechanics of the quarterback position.
Due to limited pre-season access, no one really knows how much improvement Hurts have made from 2021 through Sunday against the Detroit Lions.
Howie Roseman had a really strong off-season performance; Jaworski said: “The acquisition of AJ Brown was genius. “He’s a red zone receiver, he’s a 50-50 catch guy, he’s physical and aggressive, and the Red Eagles’ attack immediately improved when Brown joined the team.
“Looking at Hurts’ off-season throws, in general, I think he did a really good job. I think there is a natural growth that you see in the young midfielder. Along the way there have been some setbacks.”
Jaworski pointed out that one of those big falls came in the Eagles’ playoff loss to Tampa Bay last season. Todd Bowles, now head coach of the Bucks and formerly the team’s defensive coordinator, takes many different looks at the opposing quarterbacks.
These appearances change dramatically, from the pre-caught look to when the ball is actually caught. These looks surprised not only Hurts, but the Eagles coaching staff as Team Bock brought in safety and canceled defensive tackles in coverage. The Eagles did not make any adjustments until the end of the first half.
The Eagles adjusted last year in the transition from a passing team to a running team, which put them in the playoffs.
“That was a turning point for the Eagles last year, but Galen made great decisions in that scheme, because there’s a new style in the NFL now,” Jaworski said. “I thought he did a phenomenal job making those readings. That’s the thing that we sometimes overlook, because we still tend to look at football the traditional way where midfielders fall back, the timing, the tempo, those things are very important, don’t get me wrong. .
“But there’s a new style in the NFL now. RPOs, the area reads, quarterbacks have to make those split decisions in the running game as well. And Galen has done a great job with that. The running game is still very important to the Eagles right now—and still is. The center back is important for that.
“They took the ball out of his hands, in a sense, but Galen still made the decisions.”
What annoys Jaworski is the criticism Hurts receives for his deep ball.
Jaws feels Hurts’ ability to throw deep is good.
“Where Galen gets into trouble is when his mechanic breaks,” he said. “He worked on it in the off-season. I’m sure his coaches trained him on that. His deep ball tended to lose energy on the court because his mechanics were down. He wasn’t driving his hips. He wasn’t throwing off his hind leg.
As a result, the energy was not there. This is where he gets himself into trouble. This is not due to a lack of arm strength. It is a matter of mechanics. I’m not as worried as some people about it.”
A glaring concern is the pains in third place. He threw five touchdowns and three interceptions for third place last year. The Herts team shot in third. Only Lamar Jackson of Baltimore was attacked in third place. Hurts completed 58 of 108 passes in third, with 53.7 percent and 792 yards—in front of the blitz 37 percent of the time in third touchdown.
Hurts will face a different team in Detroit than he faced last year, I’ll tell you,” Jaworski said. “Quarterbacks run they run, because they can. They don’t learn how to go through progression, because they have the ability to escape. That’s why they pay off from the primary receivers.”
“When the Eagles coaching staff demanded the right play, Galen executed. It was where he got himself into little trouble when his projected defense changed, and he had a tendency to rush out and out of pocket. He didn’t trust himself to follow that lead so quickly.
We don’t know if he can do that or not. We’ll find out on Sunday against Detroit.”
Joseph Santolicetto is an award-winning sports writer based in the Philadelphia area who has written features for SI.com, ESPN.com, NFL.com, MLB.com, Deadspin, and The Philadelphia Daily News. In 2006, he was nominated for an Emmy Award for a special project for ESPN.com called “Love at First Beep”. He is best known for his ESPN.com award-winning feature on high school wrestler AJ Detwiler in February 2006, and his breaking story on Carson Wentz for PhillyVoice on January 21, 2019. In 2015, he was elected president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.