His first pass of the Eagles’ 2021 training camp was a touchdown pass to running back Miles Sanders.
His last pass of training camp was a touchdown to running back Kenny Gainwell.
In between Jalen Hurts took 468 reps as the starting quarterback of the Eagles, a job he has not yet been officially given, but definitely earned during training camp.
With camp now over, here is a final report card for Hurts for the 17 practices open to the media over the last month:
215/297, 22 TD, 6 INT, 468 reps (all first-team)
Passing: It is fair to say that coming into camp, and really coming into the NFL, the biggest concern from most about Hurts was his arm.
Hurts definitely made progress towards answering those questions — but he still has work to do.
Hurts showed over the last month that he is capable of making every throw on the field. He throws an extremely catchable, accurate ball and routinely hits his receivers in stride. He has nice touch on his passes, which shows on his deep passes, but also his passes across the middle. Nick Sirianni’s passing game seems to be built on hitting receivers in stride and Hurts seems very capable of doing that.
The concern with Hurts is the easy throws he misses.
Hurts consistently missed two-to-three throws each practice that were there to be made. There was no throw he consistently missed, which made the misses even more puzzling. It wasn’t an arm talent issue. Hurts’ issues were consistency. That is to be expected from most second-year quarterbacks, but there is no question there are going to be throws each week that are open that Hurts misses.
The good news is he looks very capable of making enough throws, especially down the field, to make up for the misses — but there will definitely be some frustrating moments with Hurts in the passing game.
In the Pocket: One thing the coaches seemed to have to tell Hurts consistently was to get rid of the ball sooner. You could see the result of that with some of his passes on occasion, when he would hit a receiver closer to the sideline, causing them to have to go out of bounds, instead of hitting them earlier where they could turn up field. The coaches presumably also saw Hurts missing throws as the result of holding onto the ball. Getting rid of the ball quicker should come with experience, considering Hurts only has four games at quarterback in the NFL.
Running: Hurts is definitely a quarterback that will make a ton of plays with his legs this season. Although he is known for his running ability, he is actually a much better runner than he is given credit for. He isn’t lighting quick like Lamar Jackson (nobody is), but he is much, much quicker than you would think once he gets going in the open field. He is also very strong, which should help when he needs to fight for extra yards. It is clear the Eagles are going to use Hurts’ legs as a big part of the running game.
Red Zone: Hurts’ performance in the red zone was a mixed bag. There were long stretches of red zone drills where Hurts just couldn’t get the offense in the end zone, even during drills that were advantageous for the offense. His struggles in the red zone resulted in Hurts having just 16 passing touchdowns in the first 15 practices.
Hurts did, however, improve over the last few practices. He was very good against the Jets in the red zone, throwing four touchdowns on the final day during a practice that was predominantly red zone drills. Hurts probably made more throws into tight windows against the Jets than he did in the rest of the red zone drills combined from the rest of camp.
Add in the fact that his running will show up more in games in the red zone than it did in camp, and Hurts struggles in camp in the red zone aren’t a huge red flag.
Turnovers: Hurts threw the ball 297 in team drills and was picked off only six times. Of those six, only four of the interceptions were his fault, as two bounced right off the hands of receivers and into the hands of the defenders.
Those numbers speak for themselves, but they also back up what Hurts showed in training camp — he did an excellent job taking care of the ball and rarely put it in danger.
Overall: There are going to be growing pains with Hurts. He is going to miss throws he should make. He might have one-or-two ugly interceptions.
Overall, however, Hurts looks ready for the job. He is going to be make a ton of plays this season, both through the air and on the ground, that will open the eyes of his critics. He is a better quarterback than people think, and if he continues to improve like he has throughout camp, he is going to lead this Eagles’ team on a much better season than many think.
You can reach Eliot Shorr-Parks on Twitter at @EliotShorrParks or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org!