Eagles using Jalen Hurts to simulate Lamar in practice originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
The Eagles have found creative ways to utilize Jalen Hurts this season. From gadget plays to acting as Lamar Jackson for the Philadelphia defense to prepare, the rookie quarterback continues to find ways to help his team as Carson Wentz’s backup.
Is it smart for a team to spend a second-round pick on gadget plays and scout team contributions when they have clear needs elsewhere on the roster? Probably not, but it’s still interesting to see the methods teams use to prepare for the dynamic skill set of the Ravens’ reigning MVP.
“He’s given us a great look. So far, so good,” Brandon Graham said, according to NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Dave Zangaro. “Yesterday was really good seeing the speed of what we’re going to see. Of course, he’s not Lamar, but he’s fast, too. To see the speed of what they’re showing us and how fast things happen, it’s definitely going to help us Sunday. I think with him that plays right into what he does.”
No matter who you use to imitate Jackson at practice, it’s not going to be the same thing once the game starts, but Hurts isn’t a terrible option.
He ran for over 1,200 yards in his final year at Oklahoma and 3,274 rushing yards during his college career. That doesn’t exactly stack up to Jackson’s 4,132 rushing yards in eight fewer games, but there’s no arguing Hurts’ mobility.
It’s clear the Eagles have Jackson as their No. 1 priority in their gameplan this week. Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz called him the “most dangerous” player in the NFL earlier in the week and outlined several ways Philly can slow Jackson down.
But you’d hope the Eagles have the awareness to recognize the damage Jackson can do to a defense. If they weren’t preparing hard for him, you’d think they’d have lost their minds over there. Jackson’s challenge, which has been the case all year, is to continue to dominate defenses that have seen plenty of tape on him and know his weaknesses.
The Eagles have had success against mobile quarterbacks in the past with their zone-heavy scheme and ability to stop the run. Can Jackson shred a defense equipped to stop him and seemingly prepared to do so? We’ll see on Sunday.