Does trade for Kenny Pickett signify a shift in Eagles' offense?

The Steelers decided to move on from quarterback Kenny Pickett. The Eagles decided to move him in.

Almost as surprising as Pittsburgh's pivot from Pickett (and Mason Rudolph and Mitch Trubisky) to Russell Wilson is Philadelphia's decision to embrace the 2022 first-round pick. His skillset doesn't mesh seamlessly with the abilities of starter Jalen Hurts, making the transition from QB1 to QB2 less jarring for the rest of the offense.

Hurts, most significantly, runs the ball a lot more than Pickett. In 2023, Hurts had 157 rushing attempts for 650 yards That's 9.23 rushes per game, and 38.2 yards per game. Pickett, in contrast, ran the ball 42 times for 54 yards in 12 games last year — 3.5 attempts per game and 4.5 yards per game.

Pickett ran more at Pitt, but not much. He had 97 attempts for 241 yards in his final year with the Panthers. It's obvious based on his two years in the NFL that he lacks the burst to run past NFL-quality defenders.

The question is whether, under new offensive coordinator Kellen Moore, there will be less running by the quarterbacks in Philly. While it's hard to imagine the Eagles abandoning the Brotherly Shove/Tush Push since they do it so well, it's fair to wonder whether the decision to trade for Pickett means that the Eagles will be using Hurts in a way that entails less running.

Even though it was never disclosed, Hurts had a knee injury that bothered him for much of the 2023 season. The team might be making a strategic decision to better protect the quarterback in 2024, especially since they now have running back Saquon Barkley to take, and deliver, hits with the ball in his hands.

We'll find out how different, or not, the Eagles' offense is when the season rolls around. For now, the move from Marcus Mariota to Kenny Pickett as the backup to Jalen Hurts could be a clue as to how the Philly offense will attack defenses in a year with heightened stakes for head coach Nick Sirianni.