Jalen Hurts hardly left a positive final impression in the Philadelphia Eagles' defeat against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFC Wild Card Round.
Head coach Nick Sirianni backed Hurts as the Eagles' franchise quarterback then and he's doing so now.
Sirianni believes Hurts has what it takes to get Philadelphia back to the postseason and to push it further than the first round as the Eagles continue to learn to fly with their young QB and coach leading the way.
"He led us to the playoffs and obviously we want to go further than that and we're really confident that Jalen is the guy that can help us do that," Sirianni said this week at the NFL Scouting Combine, via the team website's Chris McPherson.
In the Eagles' aforementioned 31-15 wild-card loss to the Bucs, Hurts struggled to the tune of 23-of-43 passing for 258 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions to go with eight carries for 39 yards and a fumble.
The Eagles sputtered in all aspects in their playoff loss, but as is normally the case, the QB took the brunt of the blame.
Among the positives for the dynamic 23-year-old Hurts are that he piloted the Eagles to a postseason berth that wasn't prognosticated by most at the onset of the 2021 campaign. He dazzled with his legs – 784 yards rushing and 10 touchdowns – and did just enough with his arm (most of the time), as he tallied 3,144 yards through the air with 16 touchdowns and nine interceptions.
Questions surrounding Hurts' arm strength abound, but Sirianni believes Hurts has improved season after season and is confident that will carry on in 2022.
"He just continues to get better whether that's from Alabama to Oklahoma, or Oklahoma to his first year in the NFL, or first year to the second year," Sirianni said. "We just know that progression is going to continue and it's because of the person he is and that he loves football. The guy loves football and he's just willing to do the things that he needs to do to get better and that's why he does continue to get better."
Expected to be ready to go by organized team activities following offseason ankle surgery, Hurts will also be expected to continue his maturation on the field and to maintain Philadelphia's ascent back up the NFL ladder.
Last season's 9-8 showing and postseason berth was surprising to many, but it will lead to greater expectations for the club and its QB in 2022.