Eagles: Is it time to bench Jalen Hurts?

In the aftermath of the Eagles ugliest loss of the season, the entire organization is rightfully being put under the microscope. From the roster, coaching staff, front office, all the way up to ownership, there’s plenty of blame to go around. While each deserves their moment in the crosshairs, the most immediate concern ought to be at quarterback.

In the short term, not much can be done about the coaching staff or front office—their judgement day won’t come until after the season—but there isn’t much sense in delaying the inevitable for Jalen Hurts. It’s been clear for some time that he isn’t a long-term solution at quarterback in this league (though he’s proven to be a fine to above-average backup already) and the Eagles don’t stand to gain anything from continuing to start him moving forward.

What do they stand to gain from turning to Gardner Minshew?

However clear it may be that Hurts isn’t the future of this franchise, Minshew shouldn’t be considered a long-term option at quarterback either. With that said, there are obvious advantages to pulling the plug on Hurts and giving Minshew an opportunity to lead the offense. Namely, removing the Hurts variable from the equation gives the Eagles an opportunity to better evaluate what they have in the rest of the offense—both personnel, and coaching-wise.

There are other players in this offense whose long-term fate with the franchise will be determined by the rest of this season, and isolating the variable at quarterback makes it easier to get a read on each player whose output is partially dependent on that position. Perhaps the best practical example of this is Jalen Reagor, who in the midst of his second season is still trying to prove himself as a pro. Is he another first-round disappointment, or possibly the victim of an injury-plagued rookie season and poor-quarterbacking in year two? Seeing how he operates with Minshew under center would give us a better idea of that answer.

As far as the coaching staff goes, while the possibility of firing Sirianni after one year may still be remote at this point, it can’t be ruled out given how the season is going. In which case, it’s impossible to fully vet his offense (and in turn justify his firing) without seeing how it operates with a different (more capable) quarterback at the helm.

To be clear, Sirianni has faults as a head coach and play-caller that can’t/shouldn’t be absolved by a change at quarterback, but it at least gives him an opportunity to clear his name enough to get a second crack at this thing. It doesn’t take an expert to see how limited the playbook is with Hurts under center, and defenses are successfully game-planning accordingly. If Minshew is able to pressure deeper parts of the field in ways that the offense currently isn’t, and if they can better navigate multiple reads in ways that Hurts can’t, then Sirianni can better prove (or disprove) his mettle as an offensive-mind and play-caller.

At this point, it ought to go without saying that the Eagles will look to draft a franchise quarterback in this April’s NFL Draft (if not sign/trade for an established option if one becomes available). Consequently, finding out what they have in the rest of the offense and coaching staff should be the upmost priority, and benching Hurts gives them the best opportunity to do so.


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