The Philadelphia Eagles made a recent announcement that did not exactly shock most of the NFL world.
Second-year pro Jalen Hurts was named the starting quarterback ahead of their Week 1 matchup with the Atlanta Falcons.
He was the odds-on favorite to win the job over other alternatives under center such as Joe Flacco.
The team acquired Gardner Minshew via trade over the weekend, but that transaction is not expected to alter their plans under center.
Even though the announcement was expected by most, the Eagles tried to play up a Flacco-Hurts quarterback competition over the summer months.
New head coach Nick Sirianni likely wanted to create an environment where all jobs would be granted based on merit, and did not want to hand anyone anything straight away.
But at the end of the day, it seemed like this conclusion was inevitable.
In early August, Philadelphia offensive coordinator Shane Steichen commented on how he was molding the offense to Hurts’ strengths, which was a calculated move during training camp.
— Tyler Dragon (@TheTylerDragon) January 23, 2020
Why Philadelphia Made The Right Decision
In a league that is obsessed with upside, franchises normally gravitate towards finding out whether a young prospect has the potential to be among one of the most dangerous weapons in the game.
Hurts has a long way to go to establish himself as one of the premier quarterbacks in the NFL, but there is a world where he can achieve that status.
His athleticism alone will allow the Eagles offense to give their opponents multiple things to worry about.
If the Eagles decide to deploy run-pass options each week, opposing defensive ends will need to respect Hurts’ ability to get outside, and would need to wait an extra split second before getting up the field.
— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) August 4, 2021
It’s somewhat surprising, but Hurts has already appeared in 15 games, despite being the backup to Carson Wentz for most of last season.
Even though he was only involved in a handful of plays in most of those contests, he has a nice base of experience to work with heading into his first full campaign as a starter.
Taking A Closer Look At The Alternatives
Flacco was given a legitimate chance to compete for the starting job, but his days as a clear cut QB1 option are over.
The 36-year-old had a great 11-year run with the Baltimore Ravens, and posted a winning record in games he started in seven of those campaigns.
His career highlight was being at the forefront of the team’s Super Bowl XLVII victory over the San Francisco 49ers in the 2012 season.
Flacco used to offer some mobility when a play broke down to get a first down with his legs, but that part of his game has significantly diminished in recent years.
He has started 12 games in the last two seasons combined with the Denver Broncos and New York Jets, and has averaged a 60 percent completion clip in that span.
He’ll need to increase that figure if he wants to prolong his career.
Given the team’s recent moves, it seems like Minshew will slot into the backup quarterback spot.
He has had an exciting start to his NFL career, and provides a little bit more upside as a pocket passer than Flacco at this stage of their respective NFL journeys.
Minshew had a really impressive rookie season in Jacksonville, moving the offense and keeping his turnovers to a minimum.
He wasn’t awful last year, completing a career high 66 percent of his passes.
However, the team around him was less than stellar, and he had to absorb 27 sacks in nine games.
If he can get better protection in Philadelphia, Minshew would be one of the better insurance options in the league under center.