You watch the way Jalen Hurts has blossomed into an MVP candidate, and you can’t help but admire the way that the Eagles have done everything in their power to assist and support him and surround him with everything a franchise quarterback needs.
The flip side is Daniel Jones.
The new Giants front office has only just begun to address the blatant negligence of the previous regime, but there are many miles to go before they sleep to put to rest John Mara’s famous line from January:
“We’ve done everything possible to screw this kid up since he’s been here.”
The Eagles have provided a textbook example of how you develop a young franchise quarterback, and you can bet Giants GM Joe Schoen and coach Brian Daboll, who did yeoman’s work for and with Josh Allen in Buffalo, will go to school on replicating it for Jones should he be the quarterback in 2023.
Hurts (20 touchdowns, three interceptions, 132 carries for 609 yards with nine rushing TDs) deserves tremendous credit himself for his dedication to his craft, but he should consider himself as fortunate as any franchise quarterback in the NFL to be playing where he is.
The final pièce de résistance was Eagles GM Howie Roseman stealing wide receiver A.J. Brown from the Titans for the 18th and 101st picks on draft day one year after he leapfrogged the Dave Gettleman-Joe Judge Giants for 10th-overall pick WR DeVonta Smith. Third-round WR Quez Watkins has helped pick up the slack with tight end Dallas Goedert (shoulder) hoping to return Week 15 to chase his third 50-plus catch season in his fifth year.
Julian Love: “[Brown is] a stud, one of the best of the best right now in the league. He’s strong, fast, great hands, good route-running.”
Daboll: “Complete receiver. … He was that way at Tennessee, and he’s certainly that way now.”
Eagles offensive coordinator Shane Steichen: “He’s an elite player. Very fortunate that we got him. Great job by Howie getting that done.”
By comparison, Gettleman imported Kenny Golladay (four years, $72 million, 41 catches, zero TDs) and drafted WR Kadarius Toney (39 catches, zero TDs), who was unloaded by Schoen and Daboll to the Chiefs for a third-rounder and a sixth-rounder.
So that leaves Jones throwing to Darius Slayton as his go-to guy and a lesser cast of characters, no disrespect intended.
Then there is the matter of the offensive line. The Eagles have a great one. The Giants do not.
“We’ve got to fix the O-line, let’s be honest,” Gettleman said when he was hired. And let’s be honest, he didn’t fix it — kudos aside for drafting left tackle Andrew Thomas.
Judge didn’t help with a dizzying game of offensive line coach musical chairs, and Schoen and Daboll immediately began playing catch-up with first-round right tackle Evan Neal and free agents center Jon Feliciano and right guard Mark Glowinski to learn under respected O-line coach Bobby Johnson.
The Eagles have seamlessly replaced future Hall of Fame LT Jason Peters with Jordan Mailata as RT Lane Johnson’s bookend. Center Jason Kelce is an experienced veteran rock. LG Landon Dickerson was the 2021 second-rounder. RB Miles Sanders isn’t Saquon Barkley, but he’s a stud (187-for-924, nine TDs rushing, 17-for-74 receiving).
“Their offensive line is as good as it gets. … It starts with Kelce. Gets everything set. He’s been a fantastic player for a really long time,” Daboll said.
For Hurts, former Colts offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni has proven to be the right coach to replace Doug Pederson.
“I think Howie’s done a great job of putting together a really good team,” Daboll said.
Hurts has quieted critics who questioned his arm talent.
“He’s just trusting his players to make plays,” Love said.
Against the Packers, Hurts ran for 157 yards. Against the Titans, Hurts threw for 390 yards and three TDs.
“The way [Hurts] ran the week before had a major effect on how the Titans played us,” Sirianni said. “A major, major effect.”
Hurts isn’t as elusive as Lamar Jackson, but is stronger.
“You gotta treat him like a running back,” Love said.
Daboll was Alabama’s offensive coordinator when freshman Tua Tagovailoa came off the bench in the second half to replace Hurts and defeat Georgia in overtime in the 2018 national championship game.
“He’s as competitive and mentality tough as I’ve ever been around,” Daboll said. “Nothing rattles him.”
To his credit, nothing has rattled Jones. He wants to continue as QB1 for the New York Giants next season, and he’s playing for that privilege. For now, he can only fantasize about what it must be like to be Jalen Hurts.
You’ll never see Daniel Jones sweat … but of course it hurts.
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