Eagles: Are Hurts’ limitations correctable?

Sometimes the truth Hurts.

Sorry, trying to forget about Monday’s loss with stupid word play isn’t healthy.

But it’s time we face the reality of what Jalen Hurts has been through seven NFL starts: a limited passer who is not a quick decision maker.

The stats say he’s been marginally better this season, but take out the Week 1 game against a terrible Falcons defense and his numbers are downright awful. Through the past two weeks, Hurts has thrown for 516 yards, two touchdowns, two interceptions, along with posting a passer rating of 83 with a completion percentage of 58%.

On average, the air yards on his throws have been a pedestrian 5.5 per attempt, which means his average throw only travels 5.5 yards past the line of scrimmage. The 331 yards after the catch yardage that Hurts has benefited from over the past two weeks speaks to that.

The most alarming aspect of Hurts’ game right now is how rapid his decline has been since Week 1. His PFF grades from Week 1 to Week 3 are 89.5, 76.3, down to 66.1 Monday night. Teams are quickly figuring out how to defend a Hurts led offense, and Dallas had the best plan of attack yet.

Although the Eagles did themselves no favors with the pass heavy play calling, Dallas’ defensive game plan was simple. Use one of their many athletic linebackers to spy Hurts, use a mix of Cover 1 man and Cover 3 zone to confuse the quarterback and force him to go through his reads. Hurts was not up to the task and seemed confused almost from the first play of the game.

While things like decision making and pocket awareness can be coached, some of Hurts’ limitations are not. His poor arm strength being the most obvious. He hasn’t proven that he can make all the NFL throws needed for any franchise quarterback to succeed.

On both of his interceptions Monday night, the arm strength and accuracy woes were clear as day.

On the first one to Jalen Reagor, Hurts placed the ball in the exact spot where it should not be thrown, short and to the inside. This is an interception 10 out of 10 times in the NFL.

The second INT on the night was more egregious, and was more of a poor decision than anything else. Though if the pass was thrown on the outside shoulder of DeVonta Smith, it would’ve at at least fell incomplete rather than resulting in a pick six.

Hurts stared Smith down as soon as he got the snap on this play. Just a bone headed rookie mistake.

Even on some of Hurts’ completions Monday night, he held onto the ball way too long. That extra second will kill you in the NFL. That pick six was just one example. If the ball is out of Hurts hands just a split second earlier it may not have resulted in Trevon Diggs running down the sideline.

As we all know by now, Hurts has all the intangibles needed to be a franchise quarterback. But if we’re being honest with ourselves, the talent will always outweigh leadership qualities in this league. Hurts’ pure talent has not been up to snuff in the seven games he’s started in the NFL. With the exception of Week 1 in Atlanta, Hurts has looked like a backup quarterback.

The season is still young and I want to give Hurts the benefit of time here. He deserves this entire season to try and right the ship. But as of right now, he’s trending in the wrong direction.

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