jalen hurts

Eagles' Sirianni Gives Hurts Vote of Confidence After Playoff Loss

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Sirianni gives Hurts a vote of confidence after playoff loss originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

Had Jalen Hurts at least played an average game, it would have gone a long way to silencing critics this offseason.

He didn’t.

The Eagles lost 31-15 to the Buccaneers on Sunday afternoon and their 23-year-old quarterback had a horrible game. One of his worst of the season.

“It’s not going to come out as his best-graded game,” Nick Sirianni said.

Well, that’s true. And a performance like that, on a stage like this is simply going to invite the conversation about Hurts’ future as the quarterback in Philadelphia. Hurts’ future was already the biggest topic of conversation throughout the season and after 15 regular season games and one playoff game … we still don’t know.

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But at least his head coach gave him a vote of confidence on Sunday after the loss.

“I know we’re all judged on the last game that we play, I understand that and fully get that, but I felt like Jalen grew throughout the year,” Sirianni said. “And he got better as a passer, and he got better reading the defenses, getting the ball to the right place. He developed so much in his ability to extend plays of not only making plays with his feet, but also making plays downfield on the scramble. …

“So, I feel really good with what we have in place right here at the quarterback position. I thought he had a great year and he came a long way, and that’s what I expect from Jalen because of the type of football character he has, the type of character he has, the toughness that he has, the love for football that he has.”

It’s undeniable that Hurts improved this season from what we saw from him in four starts as a rookie. But has he improved enough? Has he shown enough signs to show the Eagles he could be their franchise quarterback — or at least their quarterback for the 2022 season?

It really comes down to projection. And that’s a tricky thing to figure out.

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For all the talk about Hurts’ character and his leadership and his poise and all the intangible qualities he has — and he has a ton of them — none of those things help him hit a slant with anticipation or a streaking receiver down the sideline.

Sirianni’s point on Sunday was that one bad game shouldn’t define Hurts; that we saw enough growth from the young quarterback this year that his performance on Sunday shouldn’t erase it. That’s a fine point. But that doesn’t make it any less disappointing to watch Hurts struggle on an elevated stage.

While the vote of confidence from Sirianni is nice, he’s not the only guy in charge. Certainly the front office will listen to its head coach when it comes to the quarterback position but Hurts doesn’t just have to sell Sirianni. He has to sell GM Howie Roseman and owner Jeffrey Lurie too.

Get ready for an offseason of quarterback questions.

“I can’t say enough good things about Jalen the person and the player, so I feel good about him,” Sirianni said. “I know again, this wasn’t the game that any of us are going to be satisfied with – me, him, multiple guys on that football team, but I’m really pleased with how he came along this year, and the leader he is on this football team.”

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