Monday, June 27, 2022

Andy Reid endorses Jalen Hurts as Eagles QB1: ‘He’s willing to work hard and wants to be great’

Andy Reid has a reputation for developing quarterbacks in the NFL, coaching Donovan McNabb, Michael Vick, Alex Smith, and Patrick Mahomes to Pro Bowls throughout his 23-year head coaching career. When Reid, the winningest head coach in Philadelphia Eagles history, talks quarterbacks — it’s wise to listen. 

Reid didn’t hold back on his early evaluation on Jalen Hurts, who the Kansas City Chiefs saw for the first time last season. He was impressed with the Eagles’ young quarterback and his development in his first full season as a starter. 

“The one thing you got there is a guy that’s willing to work hard and wants to be great,” Reid said on JAKIB Sports’ Sports Take Tuesday. “He sincerely wants to do well. That’s the foundation — and with the coaching he’s getting that’s gonna take place.

“Everybody just has to hang with him, and Nick (Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni) will deflect some of the stuff that you have to deflect from the public until it feels like he’s grounded all the way. Then he flies from there.” 

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Reid said it takes about four years to truly evaluate and develop a quarterback — the kind of patience he has shown over the course of his career. The Eagles have to be intrigued with what they saw out of Hurts last season. 

Hurts completed 61.3% of his passes for 3,144 yards with 16 touchdowns to nine interceptions for an 87.2 rating on the year, and he’s just the second quarterback in Eagles history to throw for 3,000 yards and rush for 750 yards in a season — the eighth to reach those numbers in NFL history. He improved as the season went on, completing a season-high 66.7% of his passes for 709 yards with three touchdowns to just one interception for a 101.3 passer rating in leading Philadelphia to a 9-8 record and playoff berth — one year after the Eagles went 4-11-1. 

Hurts is also the only quarterback to throw for 4,000 yards and rush for 1,000 yards in his first 20 career starts (he’s started only 19 games in his career). The Eagles gave Hurts significant help at wide receiver by adding A.J. Brown to be the No. 1 pass catcher, pairing him with DeVonta Smith, Quez Watkins, and Dallas Goedert.

The pieces are there for Hurts to succeed in year three in the NFL, even if the Eagles commit to the run significantly. Philadelphia led the league in run play percentage and rushing yards per game last year. 

“There has to be a balance and you have to stay flexible with it,” Reid said. “You want to make sure you throw the ball. The issue is the throw game takes a little longer to get together than the run game. Most teams are going the opposite way now, but there’s going to be a time and place where you’re going to have to rely on the run game — and it’s going to be there for you.”

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