Eagles 2024 Training Camp Preview: The Quarterbacks

How Jalen Hurts meshed with new offensive coordinator Kellen Moore will be the biggest story for the 2024 Eagles.
May 30, 2024; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (1) throws the ball in front of quarterback Kenny Pickett (7) at NovaCare Complex.
May 30, 2024; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (1) throws the ball in front of quarterback Kenny Pickett (7) at NovaCare Complex. / Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
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PHILADELPHIA - For the first time in his NFL career, Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts took a step backward in 2023, a development that had a massive impact on the organization’s offensive identity.

Understanding what was likely coming head coach Nick Sirianni retreated to a 30,000-foot view as a CEO head coach after Hurts' family friend Brian Johnson was scrapped as the offensive coordinator after one season and one-time rising young organizational coaching star Alex Tanney was offed with the golden parachute of Shane Steichen and Indianapolis waiting.

In comes new offensive coordinator Kellen Moore, who once interviewed to be Philadelphia’s head coach in the same hiring cycle Jeffrey Lurie landed on Sirianni, and veteran position coach Doug Nussmeier, Moore’s long-time consigliere who once recruited Hurts while at the University of Florida.

How Moore and Nussmeier handle Hurts and the QB1's unique abilities will be the story of the 2024 season for the Eagles.

The spring was less-than-inspiring as Hurts and the talented offense struggled while moving way to the Sirianni-tinted offense and Moore’s philosophy which involved far more motion and bunch formations.

Hurts, who is set to turn 26 in training camp, looked tentative during spring work after the latest shift in a constant churn during his career dating back to college at both Alabama and Oklahoma.

Eagles QB Jalen Hurts
Eagles QB Jalen Hurts / John McMullen/Eagles SI

"I think this whole entire offseason has been about learning, learning and taking in new knowledge, new perspective and the minds that we have in the room," Hurts told SI.com's Eagles Today while remarking that 95% of the offense is new, a nod toward the terminology according to a team source.

Observing OTAs and minicamp in a vacuum might lead observers to believe Moore will try to pound the square peg into an ill-fitting hole with Hurts after emphasizing the quick game, a boatload of underneath throws.

Practice is designed to get better, not necessarily "winning" a period or even a session against the defense.

If the idea this spring was getting Hurts to drill down on the aspects of his game that need improvement, that's good coaching.  However, if Moore was trying to turn Hurts into something he's not the results are not going to be what’s hoped for.

In the past Hurts has called himself a triple threat who can win with his arm, legs or mind.

“I am embracing the uniqueness of my game, and just being a triple threat out there,” the QB1 said. “Just being someone knowledgeable and understanding of what’s going on, on the field, and being able to make those throws. And being able to cause problems on the ground as well.

"Those are the three areas of quarterback that I’m embracing, and that I want to continue to excel at.”

When the running game and Saquon Barkley get involved with Hurts, a quarterback who is extremely gifted in the RPO game and has played at a near-MVP level by extending plays and going off schedule better than most, things should begin to click.

Remember in a “down year,” Hurts produced 38 touchdowns (23 passing and 15 rushing) vs. the 35 (22 passing and 13 running) he had when he was runner-up to MVP Patrick Mahomes.

The difference was turnovers. Hurts threw a combined 15 interceptions in 2022 and 2023 and had 15 last season. Fumbles have been a constant – nine each in his first four NFL seasons -- but Hurts lost a career-high five last season.

The quarterback isn’t broke. It’s just time to double down and reemphasize ball security. 

“Everybody has different styles of doing things," Hurts said. "I think that’s why quarterback is one of the most unique positions because everybody gets it done in different ways. I think my way is a little different.

"It’s rare in a sense.”

The Eagles need to continue to embrace that.

QB Depth Chart: 

QB1 Jalen Hurts; QB2 Kenny Pickett; QB3 Tanner McKee; QB4 Will Grier

WHAT’S CHANGED: The Eagles swapped out Marcus Mariota for Kenny Pickett as the backup, getting younger and more cost-effective in the process by dealing for the 2022 first-round pick who already has 24 NFL starts on his resume with Pittsburgh. 

Pickett, 26, showed he has a stronger arm than Mariota in the spring and was particularly adept at delivering back-shoulder throws. He looks like a better option at QB2 if Philadelphia needs to win a game or two in the short run.

Will Grier, a one-time third-round pick by Carolina in 2019, is another set of eyes and on-field extension, for Moore and Nussmeier. Grier has already worked with both in Dallas and with the LA Chargers.

Grier is not a threat to Tanner McKee as the QB3 but having him around throughout the summer as sort of an embedded coach on the field and the meeting room while the new offense is installed sounds like a solid plan. 

COACHING: Nussmeier was a star college QB at Idaho in the early 1990s and spent five years in the NFL as a backup. He began his coaching career in the CFL with the BC Lions as the QB coach in 2002 and was back in the NFL by 2006 with the then-St. Louis Rams.

He then spent a lengthy time at the college level where he recruited Hurts while at Florida before returning to the pros with Dallas in 2018 as the TEs coach. and quickly became Moore’s right-hand man and most trusted advisor. The two have been together since that time and this season will be the seventh consecutive one working together.

Over the past 23 years, Nussmeier has spent all but two tutoring QBs and few around the league have more experience doing so.  

THE CEILING: Hurts cuts down on the turnovers and Moore caters his offense to his new quarterback’s unique abilities sparking a return to Hurts’ 2022 MVP-like level of play.

THE LONGSHOT: McKee’s only shot at playing time is through injury and no one wants to see him on the field in 2024. That said, if catastrophe does strike the Eagles do seem to believe in McKee’s upside.

WHO STAYS/GOES: You can forget the pencil and use ink to lock in Hurts, Pickett, and McKee on the initial 53. Grier is not a threat to McKee and is here as the coaching extension for Moore and Nussmeier meaning he could stick on the practice squad if the Eagles like how that develops during the summer.

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John McMullen


John McMullen is a veteran reporter who has covered the NFL for over two decades. The current NFL insider for JAKIB Media, John is the former NFL Editor for The Sports Network where his syndicated column was featured in over 200 outlets including the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, and Miami Herald. He was also the national NFL columnist for Today's Pigskin as well as FanRag Sports. McMullen has covered the Eagles on a daily basis since 2016, first for ESPN South Jersey and now for Eagles Today on SI.com's FanNation. You can listen to John, alongside legendary sports-talk host Jody McDonald every morning from 8-10 on ‘Birds 365,” streaming live on YouTube.com. John is also the host of his own show "Extending the Play" on AM1490 in South Jersey and part of 6ABC.com's live postgame show after every Eagles game. You can reach him at jmcmullen44@gmail.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen