You Don’t Always Have to Run Jalen Hurts; He Can Throw the Ball, Too

Photo Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Does it seem like Doug Pederson only ever calls zone read or option running plays with Jalen Hurts?

He’s been on the field for 24 snaps this season but has only thrown two passes, one of which was an 18-yard completion in the Pittsburgh game. On Thursday night, his other attempt was a two-point conversion that was blown up and resulted in an incompletion, which also featured a penalty on Matt Pryor for being illegally downfield.

That play was pulled straight from the Tim Tebow Florida Gators playbook, a little run fake and jump ball attempt for the tight end, but they mixed it up with a gadgety double trips look, one to each side of the formation:

The play wasn’t there, so Hurts tried to salvage it and keep it alive, but by then Pryor had trickled downfield and was ineligible. New York just declined the penalty, obviously.

Here’s the thing:

Jalen Hurts threw for 3,800 yards last year. Yes, he had CeeDee Lamb and Charleston Rambo, and yes, the Big 12 isn’t known for its defense, but the guy is not a scrub. He’s got a good arm and he can make some good throws, especially on the run.

At this point in his career, Hurts isn’t going to scan the field through multiple reads and climb the pocket to find his 3rd option, but you don’t need to limit him to one-read running plays, which is most of what the Eagles are doing right now.

If you go back to the Baylor game in 2019, not the Big 12 Championship, but the regular season game, OU was down 31-10 at halftime and needed to throw their way back into it. In the second half, Hurts put together three touchdown drives and a field goal drive, and they would have scored again if not for his goal line fumble.

But throws like this one were impressive:

That’s from the family of plays the Eagles installed for him. Zone reads, run/pass option, bunchy goal line formations and whatnot. In that sequence above, he looks to run and it’s not there, but secondary routes are built in to allow him a passing option that he uses after evading a couple of tacklers.

Here’s another one that I had the pleasure of watching in person as he dismantled my team:

He’s a great player. That’s why you used a second round pick on him. If you’re gonna give him these snaps, let him throw the ball, too. You’re just limiting him for no justifiable reason.

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