Eagles’ Pederson on Hurts: ‘He played mentally and physically tough’

Philadelphia Eagles rookie QB Jalen Hurts went to battle against Cardinals QB Kyler Murray on Sunday, and what we got with an entertaining afternoon in Arizona. Hurts, who made his second career start against the Cardinals, threw for 338 yards and three touchdowns and ran for 63 yards and another score, but it was not enough as Murray threw for 406 yards and three touchdowns and Arizona would defeat Philadelphia 33-26.

After the game, Eagles head coach Doug Pederson did not declare a starter, but he made it official on Monday. Hurts, who replaced Carson Wentz in Week 14, will start next Sunday against the Cowboys.

“Well, obviously, I’m going to have [QB] Jalen [Hurts] continue to start this week, and obviously, I’m focused on this week and this week right now,” Pederson said. “I want to see how our team and he respond after a tough loss yesterday. So, Jalen will be the starter this week.”

Pederson discussed further what Hurts did against Arizona.

“He just ran the offense,” Pederson said. “He did what Jalen can do. We protected the football, and I’ll tell you this, as I said this morning, too, the guys around him have played better. They’ve elevated their game, as well, and they’re improving each week. That’s all part of I think Jalen’s success, too, is having the guys around him play better.

“But yeah, he led the team. He played mentally and physically tough, which was good to see. He obviously extended plays with his legs. He had to throw probably more from the pocket yesterday because of the nature of the game and getting behind early in the football game.

“But yeah, he — I guess the biggest thing is just leading the team and keeping the guys engaged for the entire game and gave us a chance there at the end.”

When asked if he felt the next four games would give the team a real evaluation of Hurts, Pederson said the following:

“Well, that’s obviously kind of probably a loaded question a little bit. “I think you have a good idea. Obviously, we haven’t had a full body of 16 plus games, a preseason. We really don’t know necessarily. I do think you can go back and just watch him from his college days. Again, Alabama, Oklahoma, how he’s led those teams, and the success he’s had there, I think that gives you a good indication as to maybe who he is and what he can be, I think, down the road.

“We still have to improve, though. There’s room to grow. Nothing is perfect, and there are some mistakes that are still being made that we have to correct, even in his game. It is a little bit of a small sample size to really probably make that determination, overall.”

The Eagles will have a big decision to make if Hurts continues to play at this level. Do you try to trade Wentz, which could be difficult because of his four-year, $128 million contract he signed last summer? Furthermore, Wentz is reportedly not interested in being a backup, so if Wentz and Hurts have an open competition next season, and Hurts wins the job, that could become an issue for the Eagles. But at this point, there’s no denying that Hurts has a lot of potential.