If there were any lingering doubts about how Jalen Hurts’ injured ankle would affect his status for Sunday’s game against the Jets, the Eagles’ starting quarterback cleared the air quickly Wednesday.
“I’m fine,” Hurts said. “It won’t affect me. I’ll be ready to go.”
Some concern about Hurts arose after he sustained the injury during the team’s recent loss to the Giants. When he was sacked in the second half, Hurts said the lower part of his left leg was stepped on. After getting his ankle taped up, the second-year quarterback played through the pain and didn’t miss a snap.
The offense, however, struggled mightily in the defeat and Hurts had one of the worst performances of his career. It should be noted his inaccuracies and mistakes occurred much earlier in the game before he sustained the injury. Hurts managed just 129 passing yards and threw a career-high three interceptions.
“This is business as usual,” he said. “My preparation for the Jets is the same old thing. We had so much to learn from the Giants loss. I need to be patient and take what the defense gives me. To have a game like that, it’s a lot for me to learn from.
“The most important thing is to have the right attention to detail. I think that’s something we lacked as an offense.”
As confident as Hurts seems about starting, his coach showed a bit more tameness.
Nick Sirianni said the plan is for Hurts to start, but he also mentioned how backup Gardner Minshew is being prepared in case Hurts faces a setback and isn’t able to play. Sirianni also showed hesitation when asked whether or not Hurts would handle 100% of the snaps with the first-team offense this week in practice.
“Will Jalen take every rep this week? I don’t know how that’s going to play itself out yet,” Sirianni said. “We’ll see how that goes throughout the week, but when he’s not in there, Gardner will be in there.”
Sirianni and the coaching staff will also need to consider the bye week following Sunday’s game and how the extra time off factors in the final decision regarding Hurts.
“What we’re trying to do is focus on how we’re winning this football game,” Sirianni said. “Yeah, you look forward to the bye week because we’re late in the season now. ... Not just Jalen, but all the guys who have some bumps and bruises. I think pretty much everyone is going to have some bumps and bruises at this point in the season with this many games in a row.
“Again, ‘What are we doing to help get Jalen ready to play this week?’ That’s what we’re focused on.”
The Eagles (5-7, third in NFC East) held a walk-through Wednesday and Hurts was seen at the beginning of the session reading through a play sheet and preparing to work with the starting offense. Hurts was listed as a limited participant on the team’s injury report.
When asked how the ankle issue might limit his mobility, Hurts alluded he’s dealt with multiple injuries throughout the season.
“You guys know I’m dealing with something, but this is the first one you guys have known,” he said. “I’ll continue to deal with it and move forward.”
Over the past 1 1/2 months, the Eagles have leaned on a run-heavy offense and Hurts has played a pivotal role. The dual-threat quarterback has rushed for 50-plus yards in six consecutive games, which is the first time in franchise history a quarterback has accomplished the feat since Randall Cunningham in 1990.
Given the team’s success with running the ball, Hurts hasn’t been asked to pass much in recent games. He hasn’t thrown for more than 200 yards since Oct. 24, when he threw for 236 yards against the Raiders in Week 7.
" It’s something I definitely want to do a better job at this week, regardless of the circumstance,” Hurts said. “I just simply want to execute at a very high level.”
When wide receiver Jalen Reagor dropped a fourth-down pass from Hurts in front of the end zone at the conclusion of Sunday’s game, Hurts remained on the field in disappointment with his forearms resting on his knees. Soon after, left tackle Jordan Mailata consoled him and put his arm on Hurts’ back.
On Wednesday, Mailata explained that moment and detailed the toughness Hurts showed in battling through the injury.
“I actually didn’t say anything to him,” Mailata said. “I just wanted to let him know I was there, that he wasn’t alone, and it wasn’t his fault. Sometimes you don’t have any words to say, you’re just shocked. I didn’t say anything, I just stood and made sure he was in a good place. Because we weren’t in a good place after that game, it was a tough loss.
“When I see Jalen, I just pick his head up. He’s very tough on himself and he’s a hard worker who takes accountability. My message is to let him know we have his back.”