Jalen Hurts will lead the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LVII against the Chiefs on Sunday. One notable NFL analyst suggests that a lingering shoulder injury could affect his play.
He provides data to back up a decline in production over the last three games, which has led to internet reaction amongst football fans.
Hurts was injured in a Week 15 matchup against the Bears. The diagnosis was a sprained shoulder on his throwing arm resulting in the passer missing two games in the regular season.
The signal caller returned to action in the season finale, and he’s since gone a perfect 3-0 since being inserted back into the lineup. That includes blowout victories over the 49ers and Giants in the playoffs. Philly is averaging more than 34 points a game in the postseason.
But digging deeper into the analytics, that insane offensive production can be deceiving. At least in terms of Jalen Hurts’ passing success.
Analyst Warren Sharp broke down the quarterback’s recent accuracy issues, as well as an apparent philosophy change for the Eagles’ offensive unit. The numbers show a downward trend that has him worried for the upcoming Super Bowl.
Jalen Hurts pre- and post-shoulder injury
passing map (left) & success rates (right)
more analysis: https://t.co/tI7NwNLWLF pic.twitter.com/eNjmJJ4Hfv
— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) February 7, 2023
Sharp looks at Jalen Hurts’s success on throws to different parts of the field. There’s been a significant drop off in a number of areas.
The most glaring issue is the QB’s struggles throwing to the right side of the field. After connecting at a high rate over the first 14 games, Hurts has seen a less than 25% completion rate to the right side over his last three contests.
Secondly, Sharp looks at the quantity of downfield shots taken in the postseason. Philadelphia has done very little to push the field over the last three outings, which could, in theory, be due to lingering pain in that throwing shoulder.
The Eagles have navigated a path to success using shorter passes as Hurts has attempted far fewer passes over 10 air yards and more passes behind the line of scrimmage in the last three games. Prior to the injury, Hurts had equal success targeting both sides of the field, but since his return, his ability to pass to the right side has relied on shorter quicker throws.
Now, the decline in deep shots could also be attributed to adjusted game scripts as the Eagles have jumped out to big first half leads in each of their first two playoff games. The ability to stretch the field is much less essential when your team is up by three scores.
Still, many are buying into the narrative as they evaluate the upcoming matchup.
One fan wrote, “The more I go through this week, the more I think the Chiefs are winning.”
Others are more skeptical, with this fan commenting, “I don’t think the sample size is big enough.”
It’s certainly interesting data to look at with the Super Bowl right around the corner. We’ll see if the trends continue against the Chiefs, or if Jalen Hurts is able to see more success on Sunday.