Here’s a topic the media obsesses over, whereas fans seem to give maybe one-tenth of a shit:
“Will you name Jalen Hurts the starting quarterback?”
“When will you name a starting quarterback?”
“Are you committed to Jalen Hurts as the starter?”
Any iteration of those questions. We seem to get this every training camp, as if the obvious isn’t staring us right in the face. The dude who takes the most first team reps is going to be the starting quarterback, and the guys who do not will begin the season on the bench.
What happens is that reporters ask these questions because they’re more interested in what the coach or general manager does not say, i.e. they’re looking for bread crumbs that fall into the proverbial book, where we’re already reading between the lines. We’re trying to determine if the Birds are really sold on Hurts or if they’re not totally convinced he’s a franchise QB.
It’s fine to read between those lines, to an extent, but sometimes it’s okay to take things at face value, and we have to ask ourselves what true purpose it serves to name a starting quarterback by any specific point in time. The most basic thing I can think of is that it might take some weight off a guy’s shoulders if he gets the nod, so that he can focus on Week 1 and not worry about the ‘competition’ he just won. Maybe he feels gratitude to the coach for naming him the starter instead of stringing him along. But these are all arbitrary philosophical things, and there’s nothing truly meaningful in this otherwise ceremonial gesture. Most fans seem to be perfectly fine with the head coach naming the starter whenever he feels like it, but reporters and radio guys become pseudo-offended and make up shit like, “this isn’t high school Harry football, it’s irresponsible, blah blah.” That was the stuff I heard on the airwaves Wednesday afternoon.
If you go back through Howie Roseman and Nick Sirianni’s press conference, there were, I’d say, six questions that touched on this topic. This one was indirect, but I think it qualifies:
Q.Will we see QB Joe Flacco as the first team quarterback at some point?(Bo Wulf)
NICK SIRIANNI: Right now, [QB] Jalen [Hurts] is in with the ones. He’s working with the ones and he’s earned that because he’s worked his butt off. We’re hoping that he takes the reins and rolls with it and continues to just get good reps with the ones
Bo was fishing there by asking about Flacco instead of Hurts. Good technique by him. If they’re being coy on one guy, ask about the other guy.
Here was another one, from Mike Kaye at NJ.com:
Q.What is your level of confidence in Jalen right now?(Mike Kaye)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: Obviously, we did a lot of work on Jalen coming out. We drafted him in the second round. You look at what he’s done, we talk about the jump from year one to year two. This guy has done everything possible to put himself into a successful position with his work ethic, with his studying habits, with his leadership.
I think for us, like coach said, we’re looking for him to grab the reins and go and follow him as it goes. That all comes out here as we start practice and as we start the pre-season and training camp.
Wulf then asked a one-two combo regarding outside QB candidates, again sticking the fishing line in the water:
Q.Have you done homework on other quarterbacks that might be available? (Bo Wulf)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: Have we done homework on quarterbacks that might be available? I mean, we have a shortlist. Is that what you’re talking about?
Q.How extensively have you looked into those options?(Bo Wulf)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: I think our job is to always evaluate every option at every position. We’re always constantly doing that and looking about what’s going on in the league. We do that before the draft, we look at next year’s draft classes at every position and try to figure out the strengths and weaknesses.
That’s what we are doing during this time period. We’re watching tape on guys, we’re looking at guys and we’re making sure that we’re ready, one in case of injury, and also for any position that trades become available, being ready for that. I’m obviously not going to talk about anyone who is property of another team.
Joe DeCamara even got in on the action. He was broadcasting live with WIP on the first day of camp:
Q.Nick, do you have a timetable in mind when you’d like to name a starting quarterback by? Is it truly an open competition? Is there a chance, barring injury, QB Jalen Hurts could not be the starting quarterback?(Joe DeCamara)
NICK SIRIANNI: We play Atlanta. We have to be ready by Atlanta to have all the ones named and all the twos named. Nothing in mind as far as when we got to make these decisions. They’ll play out. They’ll play out as we go, right, with these practices.
It’s just great to get out there and practice. We’re going to be able to go in there and make the corrections and praise the things that went well, and set the standard so they can see it.
So, again, those will play out. Just really excited to work with Jalen and [QB] Joe [Flacco] and [QB] Nick [Mullens]. I think a lot of teams in this league would be thrilled to have that quarterback room that we have with the veteran leadership and then the playing experience that the guys have.
No timetable. Just really excited to work with the guys.
And finally, Tim McManus:
Q.Following up on the quarterbacks, you guys have been linked to one specific quarterback pretty consistently, leaving some uncertainty in the public view as to where Jalen Hurts’ standing is on the team, and whether you are going in a different direction. I know that you can’t talk about a specific player on another team, but can you address kind of Jalen’s standing, and exactly how you guys are operating looking at quarterback?(Tim McManus)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: I think we talked about Jalen, and how he’s done everything possible off the field and during the spring practices to take the reins. We want to see him do that. I think this is a big year for any player going from year one to year two. We’re excited to see that, and see his growth, and working with the ones. And hopefully that happens.
One of the things that I always find kind of funny is whenever there’s a name bandied about, the Eagles are kind of associated with that. I understand because we have more draft picks, high draft picks, going forward that that’s probably going to be continual as players become available.
We draft these guys for a reason. We’re really excited about the development of them. Excited to start practice here.
What’s your takeaway from all of that?
To me, it seems 100% obvious that Jalen Hurts is their guy for the time being, but they’re not gonna blow sunshine up his ass for no reason. He’s an unproven, second-year quarterback who hasn’t done squat in this league, and even if the ‘competition’ angle is a bullshit smoke screen, they’re not just gonna hand the dude those ‘reins’ for nothing. And they don’t need to. It’s day one of camp, going on day two. Let this play out, let Hurts show us what he has, and then we’ll take it from there.
No Eagles fan should give a shit if/when they name a starting quarterback. It’s media and talk radio fodder, and you seem to agree: