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September 18, 2023

Eytan Shander: Jalen Hurts is great, and anyone panicking needs to chill

The Eagles are winning and that's what matters.

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2057_09142023_Eagles_Vikings_Jalen-Hurts.jpg Kate Frese/for PhillyVoice

PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 14: A photo of Jalen Hurts #1 of the Philadelphia Eagles from the Philadelphia Eagles game against the Minnesota Vikings on September 14, 2023 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. (Photo by Kate Frese/PhillyVoice)

QB envy is a bad look.

Sometimes it’s understandable. A team has absolutely nothing working at the quarterback position, so the fans look elsewhere. They see other guys easily move the football down the field, be it arm or leg, and wonder why they can’t have nice things. 

Fans have wondered why they can’t have a Patrick Mahomes, or Tom Brady, or others playing at a ridiculous level. We’ve had that before with Donovan McNabb’s near MVP season, Randall Cunningham and Ron Jaworski to name a few.

We have that now in Jalen Hurts – at least so far in his young career. Yet it seems as if some absurd metaphorical bar was raised so high for some folks where this QB envy is starting to seep back into the conversation. But it's one that I’m not going to have, nor should you allow it to be had. 

This nonsensical bar that’s being raised is a sneaky way around demanding Hurts to look like an MVP every game while throwing the football. That’s just not going to happen, not in the NFL. This isn’t college football where each week a Heisman candidate can dominate based on talent gaps and off-scheduling. This is pro football where it’s super difficult to dominate opponents week in and week out.

It’s insulting to Hurts, the Eagles, fans like us who watch more than just our team, and anyone else who pays attention to the NFL. I don’t care if your only interest in this league is betting, fantasy, or your grandmother raised you in Kelly Green — asking Jalen Hurts to dominate every football game in the air is brainless. 

This isn’t going away either because the Eagles are still going to need another week or two to get situated. This offense didn’t have any time in the preseason. This can take some time. Some people with platforms – radio or social media – can’t wait. They need interaction like a bettor needs action on a random Tuesday in the fall. Stuff like this comes out where people are actually upset or nervous that Hurts didn’t throw for 300 yards along with 3 TDs. 

They want it again. 

This is the nature of our society, and it should come as no surprise that it’s infected our fanbase, or those who claim to mirror it. There are plenty of reasonable people across multiple platforms who bring balance and stability regarding Hurts, and then there are the idiots who simply can’t let anything be. The vocal minority is always heard louder than the silent majority. In fact, we’ve reached a stage where the silent majority in most cases are simply beaten into submission by the incessant yelling of extremes. 

The people pushing a narrative centered around the idea that Hurts is struggling or suffering a down year can’t handle being challenged. Their immediate response is that we believe Hurts is the best QB ever. 

No. We understand that Hurts is going to make some bad throws at the start of the season. His interception in the first half against the Vikings was a horrible pass, but not representative of anything more than that, a bad decision. We get that Hurts took time off, like the rest of the team, and didn’t have a true amount of simulated game experience to pick right back up.

Most of us have been watching the NFL long enough to know that rarely does stuff just pick up from the previous season, unless you have one of those Brady or Mahomes types in their primes. 

Are you ready for this? Hurts is not in his prime yet, he’s just stepping into that arena this year. He’s entering a season of prime status, but it might get off to a slow start. The conversation continues and people demand numbers seen from Peyton Manning or like Mahomes last year. They easily point to A.J. Brown's frustration while ignoring DeVonta Smith thriving. 

Teammates picked up Hurts in the Patriots game, they did it again against the Vikings. Nothing is wrong with that. This is the most team-oriented game you will ever watch. The Eagles play it at a ridiculously high level, fueled by the competitive spirit of Hurts. While the Birds took a little bit to move away from reliance on the pass game, once they moved heavily to D’Andre Swift there was no reason to return.

There should be little concern about Hurts throwing the football, especially based on just two games. The Eagles are talented enough that if he’s struggling or their run game is flourishing, they can maintain a different course to victory. The first two weeks of the season should be about just how talented the Eagles remain so that despite skating by on turnovers or build up of injuries, they can still win games.

The Eagles got a necessary home victory while running all over their opponent, all the time saving the health of their MVP in Hurts. Read that again, and again, and maybe one more time if you still have a problem with this. 

Follow Eytan on Twitter: @shandershow

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