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After Jalen Hurts snub, NBC’s Chris Simms admits he was wrong about Eagles quarterback

"If you formulate the right offense around him, man, it’s tough to beat him," Simms said of Hurts.

Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts runs with the football against New York Giants free safety Xavier McKinney in the second quarter on Sunday.
Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts runs with the football against New York Giants free safety Xavier McKinney in the second quarter on Sunday.Read moreDAVID MAIALETTI / Staff Photographer

Give credit to NBC’s Chris Simms, because it’s rare for prominent sports media personalities to admit when they’re wrong.

During the summer, Simms left Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts off a list of the NFL’s top 40 quarterbacks, even though it included some career backups and a couple of rookies who had yet to throw a pass in the NFL. Simms questioned Hurts’ throwing ability and whether he had the arm strength to make it as a starting quarterback.

Now, with Hurts named a Pro Bowl alternate and leading his team to a potential playoff berth, Simms admits he undervalued the young Eagles QB heading into the season.

“Jalen Hurts has proven me wrong,” Simms said on NBC’s ProFootballTalk last week.

“I didn’t think he was going to be able to run to the capacity that he’s been able to run. He’s a better runner than I gave him credit for, there’s no doubt,” Simms added. “And throwing … it’s good enough. Is it Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers? No, and it’s never gonna be. But if you formulate the right offense around him, man, it’s tough to beat him.”

Hurts overcame a sloppy start Sunday to lead the Eagles to blowout win over the New York Giants, putting the team in striking distance of the playoffs. And Hurts relied mostly on his arm, throwing two touchdown passes (including one to offensive lineman Lane Johnson) while rushing for just seven yards.

“I love the way he handles himself,” Simms said of Hurts following the Eagles’ win over Washington on Dec. 21, where he was motivated by yelling head coach Nick Sirianni. “It’s only gonna make the rest of the team better when you have that quarterback that can take it on the chin and just keep on going.”

Sirianni suggests Lane Johnson play was in response to Pro Bowl snub

The highlight of the Eagles’ win over the Giants was a second-half touchdown pass to offensive lineman Lane Johnson.

As my colleague Jeff McLane reported, the play — which Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni calls “East Texas” — had been on his play sheet in previous games, and the team practiced it last week.

But Sirianni, in his weekly call to 94.1 WIP, suggested he had a special reason to call it on Sunday: the league’s Pro Bowl snub of Johnson.

“I just think it’s crazy that he’s not in the Pro Bowl. He’s the best tackle that I’ve ever been around. It’s a shame that he’s not in the Pro Bowl because he’s definitely deserving of it,” Sirianni said to WIP host Angelo Cataldi.

“Obviously you always want to reward your good players, your players that bust their tails and everything like that. It fit this week,” Sirianni added. “That play doesn’t fit every team that you do, it just so happened to fit the week that he got snubbed from the Pro Bowl, so that was good.”

Sirianni also said he enjoyed the fact the touchdown was being referred to as a “thick six.”

“So you’ve got the pick six and now you’ve got the thick six. I kind of like that,” Sirianni said.

Johnson missed three Eagles games this season to address his mental health, but in the 12 games he’s played in he hasn’t allowed a sack. And he’s been a core part of an offensive line that has blocked for the league’s top rushing offense.

“Hopefully they get it right there with the All-Pro team and he’s on that because we know that means a lot … because there’s less guys that get on that,” Sirianni said.

Quick hits

  1. There’s won’t be a “Manningcast” on ESPN2 tonight for the Monday Night Football matchup between the Miami Dolphins and New Orleans Saints. Peyton and Eli Manning will return on Jan. 3 for Browns-Steelers.

  2. Asking Patriots head coach Bill Belichick about his New Year’s resolutions immediately after his team lost a huge game against the Buffalo Bills might me the boldest move of any reporter covering the NFL this season.

  1. If you missed Fox’s John Madden documentary All Madden on Christmas Day, you’ll be able to stream it beginning Jan. 3 with a subscription to ESPN+ and Peacock, or free on Tubi, according to Streamable.

  2. ESPN’s Dan Orlovsky, another one-time Hurts doubter, went “jawn” heavy during a segment about the Eagles’ win on Get Up Monday morning. “I want some Wawa after that segment,” declared guest host and Philadelphia native Kevin Negandhi.