Nick Sirianni has been very specific on what the Philadelphia Eagles have been working on with Jalen Hurts throughout training camp. Footwork has been the driving force of the coaching staff, as the Eagles believe Hurts will be more consistent with the proper technique — and deliver better throws as a result.
The Eagles aren’t trying to develop Hurts into a pocket passer, but they want him to be better in the pocket. What makes Hurts a starting quarterback in the NFL is the ability to extend the play with his legs, an aspect of his game Sirianni hasn’t forgotten about.
“Again, it is, it’s like the wise man avoids all extremes,” Sirianni said prior to Eagles camp practice at Lincoln Financial Field Sunday. “You can’t just say, ‘Everything has to be on rhythm,’ or, ‘Everything has to be a run.’ We’re trying to get him to play in some rhythm while still using his talents as a runner.
“It’s just putting him — again, it’s calling the plays and running plays that we think that he has a chance to be successful at. So right now, it’s still figuring out does he like the stuff over the middle? Does he like the stuff to the sideline? Does he like stuff over the ball? Does he like to be on the move?
“Again, it’s just figuring out what those plays are and continuing to rep them.”
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Hurts used his legs frequently in his starts last year, often taking off after the first read wasn’t there. The flaw in his game showed as defenses started to cheat on him in the second half of games, making sure the primary target was covered so Hurts would be forced to find another option. That never came into fruition, which Sirianni is focusing on in camp.
Footwork plays a major role in that. The Eagles want Hurts to take off, but also want the complete package in their quarterback.
“When we look at a quarterback, we’re looking at his decision-making. We’re looking at his accuracy. We’re looking at his ability to create, and we’re looking at his leadership abilities, to name four things,” Sirianni said. “And arm strength, we’re always looking at that and fundamentals and stuff like that. But those four things are critical.
“So we know that to be a full package as a quarterback, you’ve got to have all those things, and I’m glad he has that ability to run because not everybody has that.”