Nick Sirianni Praised Jalen Hurts, but What Does Howie Roseman Think?

Revisiting what the GM said in July about the QB position, and wondering what he must be thinking now after Hurts has shown growth and accounted for 434 yards vs. the Chiefs
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PHILADELPHIA – Nick Sirianni had never seen Jalen Hurts play as well as he did on Sunday afternoon, the Eagles coach calling it “one of the better quarterback performances I’ve seen.”

Not so fast, Hurts said when asked about what his coach said after the Eagles fell short, 42-30, to the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday.

“Look, we lost,” he said. “We lost. We lost the game. We gotta do more, gotta do better. This is what I’m going to say: We got every opportunity to learn, right? Every opportunity, everything you do, you learn from it. 

"nd we’re clearly not there as a football team. We lost. But we’re this close (fingers close together). And that’s something that I believe.”

It’s a small sample size, between coach and quarterback, together now for not quite nine months and, Hurts pointed out, “Rome wasn’t built overnight. It takes time, but I believe.”

“We’re not a finished product,” the QB added. “No player on the team is a finished product. But it’s about believing in that and continuing to grow and learn from everything that you do. 

"We played a good football team out there today, a team that many say is generationally one of the best. Great quarterback, great players and all that. We got great players, too. We gotta put it together and we will. Were not a finished product.”

What must Howie Roseman be thinking, because, in the end, it doesn’t matter what you or I think.

Remember what the Eagles GM said on the first day of training camp, July 28, when SI.com Eagle Maven asked him what tangible benchmarks he wants to see from Hurts to determine if he will be the quarterback beyond this season.

“You want to make sure you're doing everything possible to have that (QB) room successful,” Roseman said. “That starts up front… From there, talking about the skill position group. Most of these guys, the receiver group...those are young guys. They get a chance to grow and build together. 

"But it starts with the offensive line, making sure we're looking at ourselves in the mirror and saying can we fairly evaluate the quarterbacks because of who is protecting them and the weapons they have around them.”

Jalen Hurts after Eagles lost to Chiefs

Jalen Hurts after Eagles lost to Chiefs

Well, the offensive line on Sunday was without four of its starters from just three weeks ago in Week 1 and left guard Isaac Seumalo, won’t play the remainder of the season.

That benchmark might be out the window depending on well rookie Landon Dickerson does at left guard and when starting tackles Lane Johnson and Jordan Mailata are able to return.

The young receivers are showing growth.

DeVonta Smith put up a career-high 122 yards in just his fourth NFL start. His 237 yards has him on pace to become the Eagles’ first 1,000-yard WR since Jeremy Maclin in 2014.

Quez Watkins has 219 yards and is averaging 21.9 yards per catch while Jalen Reagor has chipped in 116 yards.

Statistically, Sirianni was right about Hurts on Sunday.

The QB threw for a career-high 387 yards in a 42-30 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. By way of comparison, Carson Wentz’s highest single-game total during his stay with the Eagles was 364 in his 2016 rookie season.

Add in the 47 yards Hurts had with his legs, and Hurts accounted for 434 yards of the 461 total yards the Eagles had.

Hurts’ numbers after four games are noteworthy, though some were collected during garbage time against the Cowboys in Week 3.

Still, he has completed 66 percent of his throws (96-for-145) for 1,167 yards and seven touchdowns to two interceptions. His passer rating after four games is 101.1. On the ground, the QB leads the team with 226 yards and averages 6.6 yards per carry.

Will Roseman keep in mind that Hurts is showing growth despite playing in his sixth different offense in the previous six years?

Hurts could have accounted for 600 total yards on Sunday, and the Eagles still would have lost.

This loss was on the defense.

MORE: Red-Zone Inconsistency Sinks Eagles Against Explosive Chiefs

How will Roseman factor in the play on that side of the ball when rendering a decision on Hurts?

“We’ve played good football teams to this point, every game,” said Hurts. “It’s all magnified. It’s on us to execute and do the things that we do."

Yeah, Hurts could have played better in the red zone. He made a scattershot throw to an open Greg Ward on first-and-goal from the three and overthrew an open Zach Ertz in the end zone on another occasion.

“It’s not something I can really pinpoint,” he said. “...It was the difference in this game, clearly.”

It shouldn’t be lost on anyone that Hurts also had three touchdown throws negated due to penalties.

“He battled,” Sirianni said. “He made good decisions with the football. He got out of trouble when there was trouble. He made good checks. He made good reads. That's the best I've seen him in practice. That's the best I've seen him in a game since I've been here. Hats off to Jalen, he battled.”

Yeah, but what does Roseman think?

Ed Kracz is the publisher of SI.com’s Eagle Maven and co-host of the Eagles Unfiltered Podcast. Check out the latest Eagles news at www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles or www.eaglemaven.com and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.