Doug Pederson Needs to Expand the Jalen Hurts Package or Just Get Rid of it Entirely

Photo Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Weird moment in Monday morning’s Doug Pederson/Angelo Cataldi conversation.

Here’s the question from Angelo:

“I’m curious about your use of Jalen Hurts. It doesn’t seem like the plays you’ve had him in for have been effective. Are you still struggling to find the right way to use him?”

And Doug’s answer:

“No. Listen, he’s missed a ton of football and he’s just getting himself back. We’re gonna continue to find ways to get him the ball. It’s on us as coaches to put him in positions, and then it’s on him as a player to understand his job, do his job, and help this team win. We’re gonna do our part to keep scheming for him, but we also feel comfortable with the other guys we have on the team. It’s a good group of young receivers and we’re encouraged by that.”

Wait, what? He missed a ton of football? I had to listen to that three times to make sure I wasn’t going crazy. Doug must have misheard the question and thought Cataldi said “Reagor,” otherwise it was just a brilliant feint and misdirection on behalf of the wordsmith Pederson.

But listen, we’ll answer the question for Angelo:

Yes.

Yes, Doug Pederson is struggling to find the right way to use Jalen Hurts. It’s nothing but predictable zone read with no passing options and Carson Wentz split out wide as a receiver, doing nothing at all.

Hurts was in at quarterback for three plays on Sunday afternoon and this is what happened:

  1. Miles Sanders nine yard run
  2. Jason Kelce snaps the ball off Hurts’ foot, Sanders picks it up and runs for 11 yards
  3. Hurts stuffed for a one-yard loss

 

They brought him in for two 2nd and 10s and a 2nd and 6, and it’s not like they were in some luxurious position where they could do some gadgety stuff and risk a couple of downs if necessary. They weren’t playing with the lead. Maybe they thought this would loosen things up a bit and keep the defense off balance, but if we’ve learned anything in recent weeks, it’s that opposing teams are just teeing off on Hurts because they know the Birds are executing these one-read running plays when he’s on the field.

Case in point, from Sunday:

They pull the right guard and tackle, but again, with no passing threat the defense can pretty much focus on Hurts, and that’s what happens as Lane Johnson completely whiffs on a block and the QB gets dropped for a loss.

On the season, Hurts has run the ball 11 times for 50 yards and thrown two passes for 27 yards (he completed both). Mind you, this is the same Hurts who threw for 3,800 yards as a college senior, and while he’s not Joe Montana in the passing game, the dude is not some one-trick scrub who must be relegated to Taysom Hill nonsense when on the field. You went out and used a 2nd round pick on the guy, so obviously you believe in him, right? It would be like me already owning a car, but I go out and spend good money on another car and then only drive it once a week. Now I have two depreciating assets executing the same function.

It’s too predictable, and they’re stuck in this purgatory with Hurts right now. You either have to expand the package or eliminate it entirely, because right now you’re not getting much of anything from it. You can’t have one foot in the door and out of the door, because then the door isn’t doing anything. It’s not really opened or closed.

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