Grading the take: Chris Simms takes a wild, unwarranted shot at Jalen Hurts

Chris Simms calls Jalen Hurts the "most overrated player in football."

Jalen Hurts, 2024 NFL Pro Bowl Games
Jalen Hurts, 2024 NFL Pro Bowl Games / James Gilbert/GettyImages

The Philadelphia Eagles' season ended about as disastrously as possible. After their scorching 10-1 start, the Eagles lost five of six down the stretch before getting trounced by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFC Wild Card round. The Buccaneers, man.

There is blame to go around. Nick Sirianni made a knee-jerk decision to change play-callers on defense midway through the season (with a 10-3 record). That backfired in spectacular fashion. By season's end, the Eagles couldn't defend one of those automated police robots the New York subway decommissioned. There was no discernable rhyme or reason to Matt Patricia's scheme, and Philadelphia's fundamentals went out the window. Some of the angles taken by Eagles tacklers in the Wild Card game were inexplicable.

Oh, and the offense struggled, too. By season's end, A.J. Brown was visibly frustrated. Jalen Hurts was left to patch together an offense centered on vertical routes, with very little creativity to speak of. The Eagles put everything into generating explosive plays despite possessing an elite offensive line, Jalen Hurts at QB, and D'Andre Swift in the backfield. A curious choice! Those short-yardage and in-between plays are valuable, too.

Things are looking up with Kellen Moore and Vic Fangio in the building, but the Eagles need to right the ship quickly. Morale fell off a cliff late in the season. The Eagles went from favorites to repeat as NFC champs to a team on the edge of catastrophe in record time.

Such a sudden and swift downfall naturally sets the stage for offseason hot takes from the NFL media apparatus. Rather than nuanced evaluations of what went wrong and how to fix it, we can expect black-and-white evaluations of which players have it, and which players don't. That can be fun, but you at least need to pick players who don't actually have it.

NBC Sports analyst Chris Simms decided to take a potshot at Jalen Hurts, calling him the "most overrated player in football."

Chris Simms declares Eagles' Jalen Hurts the "most overrated player in football"

In short, Simms believes that Hurts gets far too much credit for the Eagles' collective success due to the talent around him. Hurts has the best offensive line in football (true), arguably the best receiving duo (true), and before their midseason collapse, the Eagles also had an elite defense.

In the end, Simms claims that Kyler Murray is "in the same class" as Hurts, using it an example of the ongoing team versus quarterback debate. And sure, we have maybe reached a point where quarterbacks are, broadly speaking, given too much credit for team success. It takes more than a quality QB to win football games. Brock Purdy isn't the best quarterback in the NFC, but he's good enough to connect dots for the Niners' elite cast of playmakers. On the other hand, we can stick with the Kyler comp. Before the injury (and after his return), there was plenty to suggest that Murray is an above-average QB. Unfortunately, Arizona's roster was not built to contend.

There is no strong correlation between that valid point and Jalen Hurts, though. On the surface, Hurts is producing at a star level every season. He completed 65.4 percent of his passes for 3,858 yards (a career high) and 23 touchdowns in 2023, while adding 605 yards and 15 touchdowns on the ground. Hurts' combined 38 end zone visits ranked second in the NFL, tied with Dak Prescott and trailing only Josh Allen.

He admittedly turned the ball over a lot (15 interceptions and nine fumbles), but this was Hurts' first season with double-digit INTs. We can look at the complete absurdity of Sirianni's play-calling evolution and take into account the Eagles' collective meltdown. That number is probably more indicative of team collapse than individual failure.

At the end of the day, Hurts is an efficient passer and one of the best running QBs in the sport. He can extend plays with his legs, create opportunities from scratch, and dominate the goal line with his unmatched physicality. The Eagles probably get too much credit for the whole "tush push" ordeal, but they're the only team that can consistently pull it off. There's a reason for that. Yes, the O-line is great, but it comes down to Hurts. The man is a torpedo.

Any time a QB can generate well over 4,000 yards from scrimmage, while completing 65 percent of their passes and scoring just shy of 40 touchdowns... that isn't a fluke. It's not solely a product of their surroundings. Maybe Hurts' stats take a mild hit if he's in Arizona instead of Philadelphia — and yes, Kyler Murray would look a lot better in Philly — but we can accept those facts without resorting to the "Hurts is overrated" line of thinking. If anything, with how the discourse has evolved following Philadelphia's collapse, Hurts is underrated.

Lest we forget, Hurts is one year removed from one of the best Super Bowl performances in recent history. The Eagles blew it — more specifically, the Eagles' defense blew it — but Hurts ran roughshod on Steve Spagnuolo's vaunted Chiefs defense. He completed 27-of-38 passes for 304 yards and one touchdown through the air, with another 70 yards and three scores on the ground. One lost fumble aside, Hurts proved his mettle on football's grandest stage. That alone should make him immune to this sort of hot-takey, all-encompassing criticism.

Grade: F

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