Here’s a scary thought for the Giants and the rest of the NFC East: What if Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts is just scratching the surface in his development?
On Sunday, Giants defensive coordinator Wink Martindale will get his second look at Hurts, who was used in rushing situations behind starter Carson Wentz when he faced Martindale’s Ravens in 2020.
“Then last year to this past year, he’s really worked on his throwing mechanics, his footwork, and it’s paying off for him,” Martindale said. “The same way it did for Patrick Mahomes. If you go back and look at those comparisons, it’s very similar. He is a triple threat.”
Mahomes sat on the Chiefs’ bench as a rookie and won his first MVP in his first season starting. This is the second season at the helm for Hurts, who is completing a career-high 68.1 percent of his passes and averaging 245 yards per game through the air and another 50.8 on the ground. The former second-round pick is responsible for 29 combined passing and rushing touchdowns while committing only five turnovers.
“I was telling the defensive staff: I know they’re not going to play the Pro Bowl this year,” Martindale said referring to the cancellation of the NFL’s All-Star game, “but they’re playing it in Philly because they’re talented across the board. Jalen is getting into that level — that top-tier quarterback — because you can just see the jump.”
The Giants already have faced the two premier rushing quarterbacks in the NFL: The Bears’ Justin Fields (seven carries for 52 yards) and Ravens’ Lamar Jackson (11 for 77). What’s different about Hurts?
“I think it’s the power and balance he has coming out of his cuts,” Martindale said. “So, he can get you running, and when he sits down and makes a cut he comes out of it with power, compared to a lot of guys. The thing that makes him so tough to go against, he’s still looking to get the ball downfield until that last second where he says, ‘No, I’m going to go.’ ”
RB Saquon Barkley (neck) was added to the injury report as a limited participant in Thursday’s practice. Asked how he feels physically, “I feel like it’s Week 14. No matter if I had 200 touches or 10 touches, it’s a grind. The wear and tear on the mind and the body.”
S Julian Love, DT Dexter Lawrence and RG Mark Glowinski rejoined practice after resting Wednesday. CB Adoree’ Jackson (knee), OG Shane Lemieux (toe), OG Josh Ezeudu (neck) and DL Leonard Williams (neck) did not practice.
CB Darnay Holmes (shoulder), WR Richie James (knee), CB Nick McCloud (hamstring), DL Henry Mondeaux (knee) were limited.
S Xavier McKinney had the pins removed from his broken hand, which is a step toward returning to the field. He is eligible to come off injured reserve this week, but head coach Brian Daboll sounded pessimistic about the possibility.
“There’s a lot more to discuss on that with the doctors and the trainers,” Daboll said.
Daboll said he “hopes so” when asked if McKinney will return this season. Removal of the pins should open up the possibility that McKinney could play with his hand wrapped like a club.
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