Jalen Hurts is in the Super Bowl with the Philadelphia Eagles and is even an NFL MVP candidate. And yet there are still doubts about the Philly quarterback. Is he a beneficiary or a driver of the system? The chicken and egg dilemma taken to a new level.
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For a long time, Jalen Hurts had to hear from a lot of people what he couldn’t do. The quarterback of the Philadelphia Eagles will probably be less interested than usual these days, after all he is preparing for Super Bowl LVII and a showdown with Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs. He still doesn’t get rid of the label “System Quarterback” completely, which ultimately doesn’t have to be that bad.
There are so many things you can do to ennoble an NFL quarterback. You can compare his arm to a cannon or praise his pinpoint passes. Likewise, signal callers like to be told they have a quick wit or the courage to “hang in the pocket” until the last moment, even when an enraged rhino in the form of an NFL defenseman is charging at them.
The list of attributes that quarterbacks in the National Football League like to claim could go on and on, and probably there would also be the talent that enables a passer to operate “within a system”. It’s also a good thing, isn’t it? Or, Jalen Hurts?
The man behind the center at the Philadelphia Eagles looks a little contrite or at least relatively serious when asked such questions. For too long he has heard from many people that he not only understands something about “playing within the system”, but is even a so-called “system quarterback”.
A player who certainly has respectable skills, but who is undoubtedly made better than he actually is by his team’s system. It’s a long-established term in NFL jargon, which in itself is not actually a blemish, but ultimately is seen as a reproach to a position where the self-glorification of the individual compared to the collective is of exorbitant importance.
One only has to ask Dallas Cowboys’ Micah Parsons, who blamed Hurts’ resounding success this season more on the team and said system. An opinion shared by quite a few. Quite a few, but many of whom will not be part of the Super Bowl in two weeks. Unlike Jalen Hurts himself.
This followed his outstanding statistics in the regular season with two NFL playoff victories and is now facing his first professional final. The acknowledgment that comes with it has to feel good for an actor who has always found motivation in the prejudices about their game and tells everyone that they are not a system profiteer but rather the system itself, even if they don’t necessarily want to hear it .
The intrinsic drive that results is a well-established practice in professional sports that is bearing remarkable fruit for Jalen Hurts. Hurts’ combination of a good passing game and a strong ground game is particularly mature and juicy, which forms the basis for the Philadelphia Eagles’ offensive, which relies permanently and vehemently on run-pass option plays.
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Whether Jalen Hurts is a chicken or an egg is irrelevant in the current situation, because after all the Eagles are still flying, which their quarterback has an absolutely significant share in. It is his running strength that makes many plays in Philly’s game plan possible in the first place, he creates space for his strong running backs and creates free air space for his catching comrades on the flank with the possibility of a run.
He also excelled as a leader at a young age, benefiting from successful college semesters at the Alabama and Oklahoma high schools. Even there, despite good performances and many victories, he was already surrounded by a label that questioned his potential as a classic passer. And it wasn’t entirely wrong.
Because while Hurts undoubtedly knows how to selectively and in the right situations undermine a defense through the air, this part of his game is certainly not the one that would be at the top of an NFL application letter. Nor are MVP fantasies justified in any way, even if Hurts’ Camp or the Eagles marketing machine may tweet their fingers sore.
As important as his legs may be for the Eagles’ aerial acrobatics, there are also many snags elsewhere that can be said to be the fathers of success. There is the absolutely outstanding defense of Philadelphia or the offensive line, which is one of the three best in the entire NFL. A lot of quarterbacks get giddy just thinking about Hurts’ top receiving duo of Devonta Smith and A.J. Brown, let alone imagine watching those two aces run down the field after play action.
Parameters like this hide some weaknesses in Jalen Hurt’s overall package, from body size to situational awareness in the pocket. However, the situation does not have to be understood as black and white, as either or. On the one hand, Hurts can be a good quarterback, but at the same time he benefits immensely from his environment. And the fact of the matter is, Jalen Hurts is dreaming his NFL dream in an incredibly comfortable bed. One in which he also shakes out the sheets himself for the next day.
The next big one these days is February 12, when the Philadelphia Eagles take on the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LVII. Hurts will then face a quarterback in Patrick Mahomes, who is at his best when Andy Reid’s system can no longer act as a support wheel and . Which is also an important part of that system.
Here it becomes clear how misleading the term “system quarterback” is, since it applies to a certain extent to every signal caller. More on some, less on others. Success or failure can only be derived from this to a limited extent, as a swear word and as a reward it is rather shaky. In any case, Jalen Hurts doesn’t need to apologize if he is one of many feathers in an eagle’s dress to be gilded with a Super Bowl victory.
That it will probably take more than Hurts showed in the NFC Championship against ailing San Francisco 49ers seems quite realistic. 121 passing yards would be a bit too small a number in the big game. Whereby, if one result is correct in the end, then no more birds of prey squawk afterwards. On the contrary. Because then Jalen Hurts would be more than, for example, a Jimmy Garoppolo, who was in a similar situation with the 49ers a few years ago when he ultimately failed in the Super Bowl in his function as game manager with a brilliant team. Then Jalen Hurts would actually be a Super Bowl champion.
And that would be a label that you really can’t use for every quarterback in the same way…
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The original of this article “The chicken-and-egg dilemma takes on a new dimension in the Super Bowl quarterback” comes from touchdown24.de.