Eyes On The Skies: Hurts “Hasn’t Touched The Ceiling” Yet
If the Eagles truly expect to move past a forgetful 2020 season that led to sweeping changes to the team’s infrastructure, their revival will be contingent upon superior play from their quarterback.
Fortunately, the early returns have been encouraging on Jalen Hurts in Year 2.
New offensive coordinator Shane Steichen, in his first camp press conference, praised Hurts on Monday, calling the second-year pro “a tireless worker” striving “to be the best he can be.”
How good can Hurts be?
According to the young quarterback, much better than he’s already shown.
“I know I haven’t touched the ceiling yet,” Hurts said in his press conference after practice, the final practice before the pads come out Tuesday. “I haven’t scratched it. I know that it’s important to continue to take to coaching.
“Continue to take these things so I can grow, so we can help the football team. So, I love those details. I love the little details. I love the coaching. I love how hard they are on me, because it challenges me to be the best player I can be. So, I’m all for it.”
So far, Steichen has appreciated the mobility Hurts brings to the offense and the ability to drive the ball downfield. He referenced a deep ball to DeVonta Smith last week and another recent sideline connection with tight end Zach Ertz.
“You know what, I’ve been really impressed with him,” Steichen added. “We all know this about him – this guy loves football. Like, he loves football.
“And he’s a tireless worker and he wants to be the best he can be. To be able to throw the deep ball and hit guys in stride, that’s an 80-yard touchdown instead of a 60-yard gain. So, really impressed with how he throws the deep ball right now.”
The beneficiary of a revamped coaching staff brimming with creative minds, along with an offseason spent building continuity with teammates, Hurts appears primed to take the reins in the post-Carson Wentz era.
When Hurts was inserted in place of an ineffective Wentz last year to navigate the final four games, the rookie reinvigorated the offense with his signature poise and athletic traits.
There were also moments that warranted skepticism, but for a rookie thrust into the spotlight, late in the season, with an abbreviated acclimation process, Hurts showed promise.
While the 22-year-old largely relied on his legs to evade pressure and compile yards, and often dealt with accuracy woes and ball security issues in his four starts, Hurts is eager to correct his flaws.
As Hurts mentioned, he prefers to be coached hard and prides himself on his being coachable. This season, he’ll have the luxury of absorbing knowledge from a subset of offensive coaches, including Steichen, head coach Nick Sirianni, quarterbacks coach Brian Johnson, and pass game coordinator Kevin Patullo.
Although Hurts said he aims to improve 1-percent overall daily, his primary area of emphasis has been footwork – a sticking point for Sirianni.
“We’re always … talking about feet and how his drop correlates with it,” Sirianni said over the weekend. “So, everything we do is going to be to get his feet in sync with the play and to get his feet target line set to where he’s throwing the football. That’s the most important thing we can do for a quarterback’s fundamentals.
“Everything we do fundamentally is going to be with his feet and also ball security and keeping two hands out of pocket and when he is about to move. That is something we have to continue to work on because he has a tendency as he moves to keep one hand on the ball.
“We’ve just got to get the two hands on the football as he moves in the pocket. So, fundamentals at every position is critical.”
– Andrew DiCecco (@ADiCeccoNFL) is a Staff Reporter/Content Producer for InsideTheBirds.com.
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