The Philadelphia Eagles won’t start Jalen Hurts in Sunday’s game against the New York Jets, giving their starting quarterback an extra week to rest an ankle injury heading into their bye week. Hurts was listed as questionable heading into Sunday’s game and was limited in practice throughout the week. On Sunday he was listed as inactive.
With Hurts not starting, No. 2 quarterback Gardner Minshew will start against the Jets. Minshew has played just 14 snaps all season, completing 2 of 2 passes for 11 yards in mop-up duty against the Detroit Lions back in Week 8. The Eagles traded for Minshew just prior to the season, sending a conditional 2022 sixth-round pick to the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Hurts is coming off his worst game of the year as he finished 14 of 31 for 129 yards with no touchdowns and three interceptions for a 17.1 passer rating in a 13-7 loss to the New York Giants. The ankle injury may have affected Hurts in the loss, even though he finished with eight carries for 77 yards.
“He was limited the last two days,” Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni said Friday. “Obviously, with Wednesday being a walk-through, he was able to get a lot of mental reps. And all the guys were able to get a lot of mental reps, but limited the last two days.
“And so, again, I feel confident with either guy – either of the guys if they have to go play the way they prepared all week and went about their business…I feel confident that both of them will be ready to go when either of their numbers are called.”
The Eagles have struggled throwing the ball over the past month, but have rushed for 175-plus yards in five consecutive games and 200-plus yards in the last three games. Philadelphia is first in the NFL in rushing (157.9 yards per game) and second in the league with 18 rushing touchdowns. Hurts has been a major factor in the success of the run game, leading the Eagles with 695 rushing yards and eight rushing touchdowns.
Hurts has completed 60.1% of his passes for 2,435 yards with 13 touchdowns and eight interceptions (83.9 rating) in 12 starts. Of 34 qualified quarterbacks, Hurts is 28th in completion percentage, 23rd in touchdown percentage (3.7%), 18th in interception percentage (2.3%), 23rd in yards per attempt (6.9), and 28th in passer rating.
Minshew completed 66.1% of his passes last season for 2,259 yards with 16 touchdowns to five interceptions, finishing with a quarterback rating of 95.9. He has started 20 games for the Jaguars over his two NFL seasons, completing 62.9% of his passes with 37 touchdowns and 11 interceptions (93.1 rating). Minshew was 25th in the league in completion percentage, 20th in touchdowns, and and fourth in interception percentage (1.38) for all qualified quarterbacks between the 2019 and 2020 seasons. His 93.1 passer rating is the 12th highest for a quarterback after their first two seasons (minimum 500 attempts).
Regardless if Minshew plays well, the Eagles have reaffirmed their commitment to Hurts throughout the week. Philadelphia giving its starting quarterback time to rest up before the stretch run is in the best interest for Hurts and the team going forward.