Jalen Hurts rise means Commanders cannot afford further QB failings

(Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports) Jalen Hurts
(Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports) Jalen Hurts /

The incredible rise to prominence of Jalen Hurts means the Washington Commanders cannot afford any further quarterback failings moving forward.

It was a performance for the ages from Jalen Hurts in Super Bowl 57. Even though it wasn’t enough for the Philadelphia Eagles to emerge victorious over the Kansas City Chiefs, the signal-caller came away with a significant amount of credit and is now considered one of the league’s brightest young players at the quarterback position.

While this was a nice surprise for Philadelphia and something Hurts has worked hard to attain, it’s only going to make life more difficult for the Washington Commanders next season and beyond. Hurts promises to be a thorn in their side for years to come, with a bumper new contract on the immediate horizon as the Eagles look to keep him around long-term.

Having a productive quarterback capable of taking over any game is the difference between success and failure in the NFL. Something the Commanders sorely lacked in 2022 aside from a decent stretch when Taylor Heinicke occupied the starting role.

Jalen Hurts threat increases the urgency for Commanders

Sam Howell also flashed promise in their season-ending triumph over the Dallas Cowboys. This was enough for head coach Ron Rivera to give him a legitimate opportunity atop the depth chart, although the prospect of additional competition arriving in free agency or the 2023 NFL Draft cannot be dismissed, either.

One thing is abundantly clear. The meteoric rise of Hurts means the Commanders cannot make any more poor personnel moves at the quarterback spot.

If they do, then it could be a long road back into contention.

The NFC East was highly competitive last season. Perhaps more so than anyone envisaged given how it was perceived in league circles before competitive action began.

Washington found that out to their cost. They bet on the wrong horse by acquiring Carson Wentz, who put them in an early hole they were unable to get out of despite Heinicke’s best efforts.

It’s only going to get harder next season. Hurts will take a substantial amount of confidence from his efforts in 2022, with the New York Giants also set to improve during their second season under NFL Coach of the Year, Brian Daboll.

That’s without discussing the Cowboys, who looked like a real challenger last season before falling to yet another early postseason exit.

Unless the Commanders are 100 percent convinced Howell can make the necessary improvements from the No. 1 position, they’ll need another capable option. Someone that can step in at a moment’s notice to increase or maintain momentum.

Rivera’s margin for error has decreased. This bears more significance if Dan Snyder sells the team to someone that has no emotional attachment to the current coach whatsoever.

If this season proved anything above all else, it’s that the quarterback is king. Had the Commanders secured stability at the position, playoff football would have likely followed.

As it turned out, they had to sit back and watch Hurts spearhead the Eagles to within a touching distance of the Vince Lombardi Trophy. If those in power cannot get their options under center correct, this is a trend that could continue long into the future.

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