The Eagles’ offensive line is stacked with talent. But, of all the Eagles’ offensive linemen, Lane Johnson is the most vocal about how impressed he is with quarterback Jalen Hurts. “I think he’s a great player,” Johnson said after practice on Thursday. “He makes great decisions, and he’s doing a great job running our offense. You can see that he’s competing. He’s competing against the best, and he’s just trying to get better every day.” Johnson is one of many in the Eagles’ locker room who appreciate Hurts’ work ethic and game management skills.
In a recent interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer, Lane Johnson talked about his new quarterback, Jalen Hurts, who is a true rarity in today’s NFL. The former Alabama quarterback is the first true freshman to start a season opener for the Crimson Tide since Gene Stallings in 1986. Johnson went on to explain that Hurts’ ability to get into the huddle and communicate with his teammates right away was impressive.
While most of the focus leading up to the 2017 NFL Draft has been on the quarterbacks—and rightly so—it is just as important to not ignore prospects at the other skill positions. The Eagles have a massive need at the guard position due to injuries and a lack of depth, and Lane Johnson has been impressed with the Alabama product. “The guy has a unique skill set,” Johnson said. “He has good speed and great quickness. He can make all the throws and he is athletic. “He’s so young; he can learn the offense pretty fast. He’s going to be a good asset for us.”Jalen Harts will have to prove that the Philadelphia Eagles made the right choice by selecting him atand a year ago and sending Carson Wentz to the Indianapolis Colts.
Harts has impressed at times in his four starts as a rookie in 2020, and now he’s trying to earn a permanent spot as the starting quarterback. Eagles right guard and offensive leader Lane Johnson wants fans to know how grateful he is for a second quarterback.
Johnson praised Harts and his unique skills
Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts has already had time to thank offensive lineman Lane Johnson | Christian Petersen/Getty Images
The era of tough, pocket-friendly quarterbacks like Peyton Manning is coming to an end. Most of the current starting quarterbacks in the league are dual-threat players who, while not 1000-yard runners like Lamar Jackson, can completely change the game and create movement with their feet.
That’s good news for Johnson, a three-time Pro Bowl winner at right guard. ProFootballTalk transcribed the veteran offensive lineman’s remarks during a recent interview on Sirius XM. Johnson not only praised Hart’s confidence, but also explained how much the quarterback’s skills help the Eagles’ offensive line.
What he can do on the field, you know, he can rush from the pocket. If that happens, it makes the job of the offensive line a little easier. When you have a mobile quarterback, passers do things a little differently. Instead of running to the hoop, they are taught not to break, because if they do, he can run for 10 or 15 [yards] and get a quick first down.
As for the sophomore quarterback’s impact on the locker room, Johnson said he’s not worried about that.
The way he acts, he acts like a veteran, Johnson said.
Johnson’s words should speak to the Eagles’ confidence in Hart
Harts is in a unique situation among second-year quarterbacks. The Eagles have a new coach, and because Harts was not selected in the first round, they are not financially tied to him like, say, the Dolphins are to Tua Tagovailoa.
But when Johnson speaks so highly of Harts and his abilities, we have to pay attention. The former first-round pick has been around since Michael Vick started with the Eagles, and he’s seen what quarterbacks let run.
After the Eagles won Super Bowl 52 in February 2018, their offense struggled with injuries and inconsistency in the years that followed. Wentz struggled with various ailments until his game last season. The Eagles looked to Harts not only for a spark, but also to see the progress he has made as a rookie.
Herts didn’t set the world on fire, but he provided a spark with his hands and feet. Clearly, he’s shown enough during that time and during offseason workouts that Johnson is excited about next year.
Harts can secure his place as Eagles’ starting quarterback long term
If Harts has a disappointing second season and the Eagles get a high enough number of draft picks, they could easily replace him in 2022. The possibility of Deshaun Watson leaving for the Eagles next year doesn’t seem all that unlikely, especially if the veteran quarterback can resolve his legal issues.
But this is Hart’s chance to shine and prove himself to the new coaching staff. Unless he gets injured or plays consistently bad in the preseason, don’t expect the Harts to bench Joe Flacco in Week 1 against Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons.
Harts has the hands and feet to succeed in the NFL. It’s up to him and the Eagles to make the most of that talent in a year where outsiders don’t expect much from them.
As it stands, Harts has already earned the respect of his starting right guard. That could play a big role in his rise to the Eagles’ quarterback position.
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COMPARED TO: Eagles QB Jalen Hurts got a glowing recommendation from the best possible source
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