Eagles coach Nick Sirianni: Jalen Hurts was ‘great’ in and out of the pocket in preseason opener

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts was perfect on his only drive of his team’s preseason opener on Friday, completing 6-of-6 passing for 80 yards and a touchdown.

The QB, often criticized last year for fleeing the pocket too soon, completed passes on the move and from the pocket. Coach Nick Sirianni praised the quarterback’s decision-making in the first brief preseason outing.

“I thought he was great,” Sirianni said via the team’s official website. “He made plays in the pocket when he needed to make plays in the pocket and when he needed to escape, he escaped. I think it’s interesting; I think it’s also to be known that leaving the pocket isn’t just something that you see when the protection breaks down. I think that people think like, oh, we left the pocket early, and the protection was good. Well, sometimes nobody is open. And sometimes the defense calls a good play and it’s not a good look in the coverage.

“So, it’s not as easy to say that the protection broke down, so he left, because that’s obvious. I think the thing that is not as obvious is, again, what I said, somebody slipped on a route out or the defense played a good coverage and there wasn’t anybody open and he’s trying to create with a scramble. I thought he did a great job of that. I thought he played a good football game, first drive, and we’ll just look to build on that.”

On the lone drive, Hurts scrambled on a third-and-5 and was decked out of bounds by Jets linebacker Quincy Williams for a late-hit penalty. During the contest, Sirianni was livid by the play. But Hurts popped up and downplayed the hit after the game.

On Sunday, Sirianni praised the quarterback for his calm demeanor in all situations.

“I thought Jalen said it perfectly,” Sirianni said. “He said it perfectly, how did he say it? He said, ‘I got hit late. They threw the flag. I moved on. I ain’t tripping.’ Perfectly said. Perfectly said. And that is who he is. That’s Jalen. It doesn’t matter if he threw an interception or I’m screaming in his face; the people in Washington fall out of the stands and almost break his leg, he’s pretty unfazed and that’s a great quality to have as a quarterback because he’s going to be unfazed in the first quarter, he’s going to be unfazed in the second quarter, third, fourth. That is a great quality to have in a quarterback.”

Entering a big season for the young quarterback, Hurts has passed all the early tests as he tries to prove he’s the long-term answer under center in Philly.

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