The scheduled starter, Jalen Hurts, was a late scratch after being brought to a hospital due to a stomach illness.
The sophomore quarterback notified team officials that he wasn’t feeling well as soon as they arrived at Lincoln Financial Field.
As it turned out, Hurts felt intense pressure on his stomach that rendered him unfit to play.
This was Jalen Hurts during pregame warmups and looked good
Eagles say he came down with an illness. Joe Flacco started pic.twitter.com/qttV7OG2MI
— John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) August 19, 2021
Flacco took over and it was a disaster.
On the third play of the game, Nate Herbig’s snap sailed over Flacco’s head and resulted in negative yardage.
Flacco played the entire first half and ended up with 10 completions for 83 yards and an interception.
Nick Mullens took over and didn’t do better with five completions for 27 yards.
To sum it up, it was a disaster for the Eagles as they were shut down by the Patriots, 35-0.
It’s a good thing that the trashing occurred during a preseason game.
Had it been in a regular season game, Flacco and Mullens would be crucified on local radio sports shows.
But the defeat outlined an irrefutable reality that head coach Nick Sirianni cannot ignore.
Hurts is their best chance to win games this season.
The Eagles Quarterback Competition Is Over
No offense to the one-time Super Bowl MVP, but Jalen Hurts is the Eagles top quarterback now.
Flacco did have better numbers against Hurts in their preseason opener.
But the Eagles already know the ceiling of the one-time Super Bowl winner.
As for Hurts, they can still develop his talent and his mobility adds another dimension to their offense.
Likewise, Hurts already has the support of the locker room as early as last year.
There is a fast-growing sentiment among #Eagles’ players that Jalen Hurts is undoubtedly the franchise QB. His work ethic, intangibles and overall skill level have captured the entire locker room. Players I’ve spoken with are consistently blown away by Hurts – on/off the field.
— Jordan Schultz (@Schultz_Report) August 16, 2021
Amidst the controversy surrounding the organization last season, Hurts defeated an erratic Carson Wentz for the starting role.
Come Week 17 of last season, the Eagles knew that Hurts was their best chance of winning even if they were eliminated for playoff contention already.
That vote of confidence is crucial to keep the team on the same page.
Of all the quarterbacks the Eagles have, only Hurts has that as of the moment.
A Dynamic Offense
The Eagles are acquiring players who will be the cornerstones of what could be an explosive offense.
They drafted wide receiver Jalen Reagor in the first round of the 2020 draft and acquired DeVonta Smith in 2021.
Place Hurts under center with these men and the Eagles are seeing limitless possibilities.
— B/R Gridiron (@brgridiron) August 17, 2021
They can either activate the run game or stretch the field with long passes.
But if all else fails, Hurts’ scrambling ability can bail them out.
He can take off and turn what looked like a disaster into positive yardage.
With Flacco or Mullens calling the plays, that dimension of the Eagles offense vanishes.
Thus, they cannot afford Jalen Hurts to incur any serious injury.
He is their best chance of possibly snatching the wide open NFC East.