In the NFL, the shortest distance between overreaction and overcorrection is one week of football. The swings between extremes are particularly acute here in Philadelphia, a town that falls in and out of love with quarterbacks faster than Taylor Swift circa Fearless.
Back in 2010, it was a 30-year-old Michael Vick at the pulpit of the big tent revival. Next came Nick Foles in his first season with Chip Kelly. Then Carson Wentz.
Now, it’s Jalen Hurts’ turn at the top of the see-saw. Barely four months ago, the Eagles were speculated to be interested in drafting a quarterback in the first round. Over the next two months, they were rumored to be one of the leading candidates to acquire embattled Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson. When they traded a fifth-round draft pick to the Jaguars for Gardner Minshew, it was interpreted as evidence of their hesitation with Hurts. Now, after one football game against a defense that last season allowed Teddy Bridgewater and Drew Lock to complete 62% of their passes for a combined 626 yards, 4 TDs and 1 INT in back-to-back weeks, Hurts jerseys are selling out faster than toilet paper in a pandemic.
Now, I know what you’re thinking.
Jiminy H. Christmas, here comes Murphy to pour cold water on another parade.
To which I say: Party on, Birds fans. Hurts still has plenty left to prove about his staying power as a playoff-caliber starting quarterback, but his numbers through five starts are awfully fun.
1.) If Hurts retired tomorrow, he would do so as one of 10 quarterbacks in NFL history to have three games of at least 250 yards passing and at least 60 yards rushing.
Cam Newton has seven such games in 139 career starts. Russell Wilson has seven in 145. Kyler Murray has four in 33. Hurts has three in five.
2.) Lamar Jackson is the only quarterback in modern NFL history to rush for more yards (427) in his first five starts.
The most impressive part about the Jackson comparison is the extent to which Hurts’ passing numbers dwarf the 2019 NFL MVP’s. In Jackson’s first five starts, he threw for just 731 yards with four touchdowns and three interceptions. He failed to crack 180 yards in each of those games. To date, Jackson has thrown for 300 yards in a game once. Hurts has already done it twice.
3.) Only six quarterbacks in modern NFL history (since 1950), have accounted for more total offensive yards than Hurts’ 1,460.
Granted, you might not be impressed by a list that also includes Jeff Blake, Aaron Brooks, and Marc Bulger in the top 10. But check out the next one ...
4.) Only four quarterbacks in modern NFL history have accounted for more fantasy points in their first five starts.
And we all know that fantasy wins are what really matters, right?
Regardless of what the numbers say, Hurts has given the Eagles and their fans plenty of reason to believe that a competent NFL coach can build a competent NFL offense around him. It’s way too early to pencil him in as the starter for the next decade, but the numbers are the numbers. At the very least, they’re a lot of fun.