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July 27, 2022

Jalen Hurts Watch 2022: The Eagles QB looks sharp as training camp kicks off

Eagles NFL
Jalen-Hurts-Eagles-Training-Camp-2022-0727 Nick Tricome/PhillyVoice

Jalen Hurts speaks to the media during the 2022 Eagles training camp.

As A.J. Brown might say, it's Jalen Hurts SZN. During training camp, I'll be tracking Hurts' daily performances. Kicking off #HurtsWatch, the third-year quarterback excelled in the drills that I saw on Wednesday. Here's how each of the plays turned out when Hurts was on the field during the Birds' first practice open to the media:

Things began with 11-on-11 work from the 15-ish yard line going in:

• Play 1: Quick handoff.

• Play 2: Play-action, quick throw to the left to Dallas Goedert.

• Play 3: A nice middle of the field throw to Kenny Gainwell for a "touchdown" (it feels weird to call practice plays touchdown at times, but, hey, it's fun). Hurts has struggled throwing to the middle of the field during his short NFL career. He made a few of these type of plays during OTAs earlier in the summer too. That's a positive!

• Play 4: Quick dump-off throw to the right to Boston Scott. 

• Play 5: Hurts hits Brown on the left side of the field for a "touchdown." Hurts, as I alluded to, has been almost exclusively throwing to the right side of the field during his time with the Eagles. It's a welcome sign to see him moving the ball all around even if it's only training camp.

Break. When the first team offense returned to the field, it changed to a 7-on-7 look:

• Play 6: Hurts' first read isn't there and he hits Miles Sanders on a little stab route, throwing to his left again. It's a short gain.

• Play 7: It's a back shoulder throw to to Quez Watkins in the right end zone. "Touchdown." Perfect placement from Hurts. An even better catch from Watkins. 

• Play 8: Hurts hits Brown in the middle of the field. Linebacker Shaun Bradley ripped the ball out of his hands. I'll count it as a drop, but you could make the case that it was a catch and then a fumble.

• Play 9: An out of the ordinary play from DeVonta Smith, the second-year receiver dropped a great pass over the middle at the goal line from Hurts. It would've been an easy touchdown. I don't anticipate that happening much, if at all, from Smith come the regular season. It looks like Smith had to some push-ups as a penalty after too.

• Play 10: Boom. Hurts hits Goedert short to the left for another "touchdown."

Break. Back to 11-on-11 play as the first team offense returns...

• Play 11: Read option hand off right to Sanders.

• Play 12: It's a square in route from Scott on the left and Hurts passes to him for a short pickup.

• Play 13: The Birds run a screen to the right for Boston Scott. Scott hauls it in, but it's would've been for no gain or a loss of yards.

• Play 14: Hurts hands it off to Sanders, who dashes left for a "touchdown."

• Play 15: Hurts looks for Smith in the back corner of the left end zone. There was ultra-sticky coverage from second-year corner Zech McPhearson. The margin of error on this throw was very slim. It wasn't an ideal throw, but certainly a hard one to connect on. Smith, nevertheless, almost brought it in on what would've been an unreal one-handed catch. Major props to McPhearson here.

Break. Birds' first team offense returns to the field for the final drill of the day in the red zone. 11-on-11...

• Play 16: Hurts' pass is immediately batted down at the line of scrimmage. Brandon Graham bobbled the ball on what was a near-interception. Not ideal, but not a travesty by any means. 

• Play 17: Hurts' worst pass of the day: He fires one in the end zone that hit safety Marcus Epps right in the hands. It was bad, but it was the lone play all day where I thought Hurts didn't look mightily improved from what Eagles fans saw in 2021. 

• Play 18: It's a read option or RPO that leads to Gainwell rushing up the gut for a "touchdown." 

• Play 19: The play design is a straight right rollout. Hurts keeps his eyes up and nails a throw to Watkins at the back of the end zone for a "touchdown." Watkins puts the cherry on top with a perfect toe-tap. That's exactly what the team wants to see after Hurts' first two iffy throws of practice.

• Play 20: There's immediate pressure and Hurts' first (and second?) read isn't open. He tucks it and runs for a "touchdown." It's obviously not live action with tackling, so it's a hard play to evaluate in a practice setting. For a guy who rushed for 10 touchdowns last year, however, I have little concern that Hurts will be able to make those plays with his legs for scores in the fall. 

Hurts "stat line" for Wednesday: 11/16 (68.8 percent) and five "touchdowns." 

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