NFL Preseason Blitz: Jalen Hurts looks fantastic in Eagles' preseason opener

·8 min read

The Philadelphia Eagles have the type of roster that can compete for a Super Bowl. Questions about the quarterback keep people from buying in all the way.

Jalen Hurts looked like an asset in the Eagles' preseason opener against the New York Jets, which the Jets won 24-21, on Friday night. Hurts' play is a great sign for Philadelphia.

Hurts came out firing. On Philadelphia's first play he got outside the pocket and on the move he hit Quez Watkins downfield for a 28-yard gain. Hurts gave Eagles fans a scare when he took a big, illegal hit from Jets linebacker Quincy Williams on the sideline, but he popped up and Williams had a 15-yard penalty. Cameras found Eagles coach Nick Sirianni yelling, gesturing and swearing, apparently at the Jets' sideline. But Hurts didn't seem flustered.

Later in the drive Hurts had a nice touchdown run when the Jets gave him a lane on a pass play, though the TD was called back due to a holding penalty. Again, Hurts wasn't flustered. On the next play he found tight end Dallas Goedert open in a soft spot in the Jets defense for a 22-yard touchdown. Hurts completed all six passes for 80 yards on the drive.

Hurts bouncing back right after the dirty hit by Williams will be noticed by his teammates and Eagles fans. So will Sirianni standing up for his player and blistering the Jets for the play.

After that first drive, Gardner Minshew took over at quarterback. The Eagles didn't need to see any more from Hurts. Their first look at Hurts this preseason was more than good enough.

Jalen Hurts had a fantastic game in the Philadelphia Eagles' preseason opener. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Jalen Hurts had a fantastic game in the Philadelphia Eagles' preseason opener. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

Spotlight team: Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jaguars' preseason opener could have gone better. The offense in particular had a few hiccups. But there were some exciting moments in a 24-13 loss to the Cleveland Browns.

Trevor Lawrence's first snap of the preseason was a good one. On a bootleg pass, Lawrence unleashed a fastball to Zay Jones for 32 yards.

Lawrence then kept the ball on a zone read and ran for a smooth 11 yards before sliding down. Lawrence did misfire on some passes but settled in for a solid 6-of-12, 95-yard night. He also got an easy touchdown on a well-timed bootleg pass to former Giants tight end Evan Engram.

Travis Etienne looked good on some runs, though he dropped a pass near the goal line that could have been a touchdown at the end of the first drive. Etienne, a 2021 first-round pick who missed all of last season with a foot injury, had 23 yards on nine carries.

There was a lot to like on defense. Travon Walker, the top overall pick, showed up again after having a good performance in the Hall of Fame Game last week. A good pass rush drew a blatant holding call on Browns left tackle Jedrick Wills Jr., though the penalty was declined. The Jaguars defense looked good against the Browns starters. They were a reason Deshaun Watson was just 1-of-5 for 7 yards in his Browns preseason debut. The Browns didn't have one first down in three series with their starting offense.

There's more work to do, but the first look at the Jaguars was mostly positive.

Standout player: Packers WR Romeo Doubs

Doubs, a fourth-round pick, has been getting a ton of buzz in Green Bay Packers training camp. He looked good in Friday night's preseason opener against the San Francisco 49ers too.

On the Packers' first drive, Doubs ran two routes that could have been touchdowns. On the first he got open deep but Jordan Love just missed him. Later in the drive, on fourth-and-3, safety Tarvarius Moore played up on Doubs and the rookie receiver ran right by him for an easy 33-yard score. The 49ers rallied to win 28-21.

Doubs did have a ball wrestled from his hands later in the game for a 49ers interception, so there are still things to work on. The touchdown shows he has plenty of upside as he learns.

The Packers are looking for receivers to step up in the post-Davante Adams era. Doubs is just a rookie, but it's possible the Packers hit a home run with that pick.

Other games

Arizona Cardinals 36, Cincinnati Bengals 23: Both teams sat their starters. Cardinals quarterback Trace McSorley had a good outing as he tries to earn a roster spot. McSorley was 13-of-22, 163 yards and a touchdown in the first half as the Cardinals took a 23-9 halftime lead. Colt McCoy is Kyler Murray's backup and sat out Friday due to some arm soreness. McCoy is a quality backup, but McSorley could make it as a third quarterback if the Cardinals decide to keep three.

Final thoughts

• It's awful to see an injury in the preseason. New York Jets fans cringed when second-year quarterback Zach Wilson went down with a non-contact knee injury after trying to make a cut on a scramble. Wilson also threw a bad interception to Eagles linebacker Kyzir White in the first quarter, but that was an afterthought due to the injury. The Jets said afterward that they believe his ACL is intact but will wait for MRI results on Saturday.

• The Lions looked good on their first drive of the preseason. Jared Goff looked sharp, hitting exciting second-round receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown on a couple passes. D'Andre Swift had a very nice 9-yard touchdown run. The starters sat after that first drive, leaving on a positive note. The Lions did lose 27-23 to the Atlanta Falcons on a nice game-winning touchdown pass by Falcons rookie Desmond Ridder in the final two minutes.

• Marcus Mariota had a brief and successful Falcons preseason debut. He completed both pass attempts for 36 yards and ran for 23 yards including a 6-yard touchdown.

Mariota has another chance to start finally, though it's with a Falcons team that looks like it's in a rebuild. But he has the opportunity to prove he can be part of that rebuild if he plays well enough this season.

• Lions rookie end Aidan Hutchinson, the second pick of the draft, had a great play in the first quarter. He swam inside Falcons left tackle Jake Matthews, an eight-year veteran and one-time Pro Bowler, for a tackle for loss. It was an impressive play for anyone, much less a rookie in his first preseason game against a tested veteran.

• San Francisco 49ers quarterback Trey Lance was a bit off in his accuracy to open Friday's game. On the 49ers' first drive he was high on a pass to tight end Ross Dwelley, though it was completed for a short gain. On third-and-9 Lance was late on a sideline throw to rookie receiver Danny Gray, and the pass was high too. Gray grabbed it but landed out of bounds and it was incomplete. Lance can't miss on passes like that, especially on third downs.

It seemed Lance might only play one series, but he came back out for a second one. That was a good decision. Lance threw a 76-yard touchdown to Gray. Gray got wide open and Lance floated a deep pass to him for the score. That will give the 49ers good vibes coming out of the preseason opener.

• Jordan Love got the start for the Packers with Aaron Rodgers sitting out. The former first-round pick hasn't gotten many chances to play, so every preseason game is big for him.

The highlight was a nice lofted deep pass to Romeo Doubs for a 33-yard touchdown on fourth-and-3 on Green Bay's first drive. He had some other good plays but three interceptions will be the focus. That’s a bit unfair.

Love’s first interception wasn't his fault. The pick came on a good pass that bounced off tight end Tyler Davis' shoulder pads and caromed straight into the air.

The other was more on Romeo Doubs than Love, as 49ers cornerback Samuel Womack wrestled a jump ball away from Doubs after Doubs had it in his hands. Love did have an interception in the second quarter that was his fault. He threw behind his receiver on a crossing route and Womack picked it off.

Love had some good plays and bad ones. Near the end of the half, he hit Danny Davis for a nice 33-yard touchdown. Love's first-half line was 13-of-24 for 176 yards. It wasn't terrible but Love has to be better over the rest of the preseason. He should have plenty of chances.