No, it wasn’t because of Jalen Hurts’ performance. Hurts was magnificent, completing all six of his passes for 80 yards and a touchdown in his only series in the Eagles’ preseason opener on Friday night. Hurts had a perfect passer rating of 158.3 as he diced up the Jets’ defense.
Rather, Sirianni was incensed when Jets linebacker Quincy Williams hit Hurts out of bounds, with his helmet, as Hurts escaped pressure. Williams was immediately flagged for unnecessary roughness as several Eagles teammates quickly came over to the Jets sideline, where the hit took place, to confront Williams.
Sirianni, meanwhile, came on the field and started yelling in the direction of Jets coach Robert Saleh. TV cameras caught Sirianni yelling, “Hey, Saleh, what the (expletive)! That’s (expletives)!”
After the Eagles’ 24-21 loss, Sirianni said he wasn’t mad at Saleh. Rather, he was mad “at the situation.”
“I was more mad, obviously, at the player than Coach Saleh,” Sirianni said. “It was just emotions of the game. I was just sticking up for Jalen. I’ll never apologize for sticking up for my players. I should have handled it a little bit better than I did.”
Saleh called the hit “egregiously awful.”
Hurts wasn’t hurt and got right back up and continued his dominating play.
Hurts began it on the first play when he rolled to his right and fired a 28-yard strike to Quez Watkins. That was followed by a 12-yard completion to Miles Sanders and 6 yards to Jack Stoll.
The Eagles got to the Jets’ 35 when Hurts escaped the pocket and ran to the sideline where Williams hit him.
“It happens. He hit me late,” Hurts said. They called a flag and moved on.” Later, Hurts expressed surprise that there were more questions about the hit, saying, “I’m not tripping over it.”
Hurts certainly played that way. The penalty put the Eagles at the Jets’ 20. Hurts then hit Sanders for 9 yards to get down to the 11. After a holding penalty moved the Eagles back 10 yards, Hurts capped the drive with a 22-yard touchdown pass to Dallas Goedert.
Clearly, a Hurts’ injury was Sirianni’s nightmare scenario in his decision on whether or not to play his starters in the preseason. Sirianni’s intention all along was to have them play a series or two, then pull them.
It’s a safe bet to assume that Hurts and some of the other starters won’t play again in the final two preseason games, especially because the Eagles have two days of joint practice sessions with the Cleveland Browns before the next game, and then two more practices with the Miami Dolphins.
Sirianni wouldn’t go that far, but he did say the late hit won’t influence his decision.
“We’ll do what we think is best for the team and those guys, and each case will be discussed individually,” Sirianni said. “We won’t ever be scared to do something. … It’s football, and that won’t play into our decision.”
Other than the late hit, Hurts’ series went as well as can be expected. The only thing missing was Hurts connecting with A.J. Brown, who was not targeted at all.
“It didn’t go his way,” Hurts said. “He’ll get his.”
That will likely have to wait until the regular-season opener against the Detroit Lions on Sept. 11.
Hurts was pleased overall with his performance.
“There aren’t too many guys in the league that can do the things I can do in terms of extending plays, throwing on the run, getting freaky, getting down the field using my legs, and running with the ball,” Hurts said.
He certainly did that on Friday.
The Eagles’ other QBs
Gardner Minshew finished out the first half for the Eagles at quarterback. Minshew went 8-for-12 for 81 yards. He led a touchdown drive on his first series as the Eagles built an early 14-0 lead.
Reid Sinnett played the second half and went 9-for-17 for 81 yards and a TD. His best play came with the Eagles trailing 17-14. He faced a fourth-and-3 from the Jets’ 15 with 2:17 left. Sinnett threw over the middle to tight end Noah Togiai for the first down.
Sinnett capped the drive with a 2-yard TD pass to Kennedy Brooks with 1:40 left.
The Eagles couldn’t hold the Jets as Chris Streveler led New York down the field, hitting Calvin Jackson from 5 yards out with 16 seconds left.
Carson Strong didn’t get into the game.
Jets QB hurt
It wasn’t a good night for Jets quarterback Zach Wilson. He was intercepted on his first series by Kyzir White, setting the Eagles up at the Jets’ 27. The Eagles converted that into a touchdown, too, on Jason Huntley’s 1-yard run on fourth down.
On the next series, Wilson escaped pressure and headed upfield. He was untouched when he went down just across midfield after picking up 8 yards. He was taken into the locker room. The Jets announced that Wilson, the No. 2 overall pick in 2021, had suffered a knee injury.
There was speculation that Wilson might have torn his ACL, but after the game, Saleh said Wilson will undergo an MRI on Saturday. University of Delaware star Joe Flacco would take over if Wilson is out for an extended period of time. Flacco didn’t dress Friday night. Mike White got the bulk of the work at QB.
In all, Wilson was 3-for-5 for 23 yards.
Speaking of White, he said he felt he should have scored on his INT: “I got hawked. I tried to hit (the Jets player) with a stiff arm. He slapped it down. I was a little mad about that.”
Jordan Davis is a space-eater
It was a decent night for the Eagles’ top draft picks. First-rounder Jordan Davis made his debut in the second quarter. While he didn’t have any tackles, on one play, he occupied a Jets’ blocker and got his hands on Michael Carter. Davis slowed him down enough for Nakobe Dean to make the tackle.
It was reminiscent of their days at Georgia.
“They planned that, those Georgia Bulldogs,” defensive end Brandon Graham said. “I’m happy for the young group because they want to listen, they want to learn, and they want to keep getting better. That’s what you want − guys to come in with a worker’s mindset.”
Dean had five tackles, second most on the team. Cam Jurgens, the other prominent rookie, started at center in place of Jason Kelce, who had elbow surgery earlier in the week. Jurgens played the entire first half, and did well.
Stock up and down
For the Eagles, those who stood out were wide receiver Zach Pascal with two catches for 41 yards, cornerback Josh Jobe, who tied with Dean with five tackles. Safety Reed Blankenship led the Eagles with seven tackles.
But two wide receivers hoping to win a roster spot struggled. Britain Covey dropped a pass over the middle and Deon Cain dropped a back-shoulder pass that would have gone for about 30 yards. Covey told reporters after the game that he tore ligaments in his right thumb.
The Eagles announced that left guard Landon Dickerson sat out with a sore foot and DT Javon Hargrave sat out with a sprained toe. The Eagles are hoping Hargrave’s injury doesn’t linger into the regular season. In addition, WR DeVonta Smith (groin), RB Kenny Gainwell (hip) and TE Grant Calcaterra (hamstring) sat out.
The Eagles also announced that defensive linemen Trent Cole and Hugh Douglas will be inducted into the team’s Hall of Fame during the Nov. 27 game against the Green Bay Packers.