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Jalen Hurts defied Philadelphia Eagles coaching staff ‘more frequently’ late in 2023 season

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts
Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia Eagles season ended in disaster, with the NFC champions a year ago dropping from 10-1 to losing six of their last seven games. Now coming off an ugly Wild Card loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, new details are emerging about how the dysfunction impacted Jalen Hurts.

Coming off an MVP-caliber season with a historically-dominant performance in the Super Bowl, Hurts was rewarded with a contract extension that made him one of the highest-paid NFL players. While injuries and regression by Philadelphia’s offensive line played a role in Hurts’ struggles, the bigger issue was the Eagles coaching staff.

  • Jalen Hurts contract: $13.558 million cap hit (2024), $21.769 million cap hit (2025), $31.771 million cap hit (2026), $45.832 million cap hit (2027)

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Philadelphia truly unraveled on both sides of the ball. With the defense struggling, head coach Nick Sirianni stripped defensive coordinator Sean Desai of his duties and handed play-calling over to Matt Patricia. Already experiencing issues with the defensive coaching staff, things were apparently even worse for the Eagles’ offense.

According to Ralph Vacchiano of FOX Sports, one team source indicated that Hurts audible and freelanced more frequently late in the regular season for Philadelphia. As the Eagles’ slide worsened, Hurts and Johnson were “rarely” on the same page and that influenced Hurts to freelance even more.

Specifically, Hurts was frustrated that Johnson seemingly abandoned the running game in favor of a pass-heavy attack that took a high rate of downfield throws. Philadelphia’s quarterback wanted to use the short and intermediate areas of the field, with a better mix of the run game, but Johnson kept calling passing plays.

Hurts wasn’t the only one on the field frustrated by the coaching staff and play-calling. In addition to the finger-pointing within the locker room, players had ‘issues‘ with the offense Sirianni and Johnson were operating.

  • Philadelphia Eagles offense stats (Weeks 9-18): 199.2 passing yards per game, 11-8 TD-INT, 2.2 sacks per game, 82.1 QB rating, 6.0 net yards per attempt

In his meeting with owner Jeffrey Lurie this past week, Sirianni had to offer assurances that changes would be made to the Eagles coaching staff. Since being eliminated from the playoffs, general manager Howie Roseman has been assisting Sirianni with evaluating Eagles offensive and defensive coordinator candidates.

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It’s very likely that Johnson, Patricia and Desai are all fired by Philadelphia this offseason. With Sirianni in a prove-it year, Roseman will have a heavy influence on the Eagles’ hires. It remains very possible one of Philadelphia’s next coordinators is a candidate to become the team’s interim coach next winter if Sirianni’s team continues to underperform in 2024.

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