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Tribune News Service
Tribune News Service
Mac Engel

Mac Engel: Jalen Hurts’ success in Philadelphia both inspiring, and infuriating, for Dallas Cowboys

Watching the Philadelphia Eagles celebrate their second Super Bowl appearance in the last six years is enough for any Dallas Cowboys fan to launch all of their electronics through their HD flat screen.

Even more fun, since the 2004 season, the Eagles have made three Super Bowls to the zero for the Dallas Cowboys.

There is good news; the Cowboys remain tied with the Washington Football Team for Super Bowl appearances this century.

And the Cowboys rank first as the most valuable franchise in the NFL, according to Forbes; the Philadelphia Eagles rank 10th.

Just waiting for details on the parade route.

There are many frustrating details, and realities, for the Cowboys, not the least of which is that their hated rivals from Philadelphia are doing something with supposedly the inferior quarterback.

Jalen Hurts deserves all of the credit and love for leading the Eagles to the Super Bowl, and he should not be here ahead of Dak Prescott.

Because Dak Prescott is a better quarterback than Jalen Hurts *.

(* A fool can see that Hurts had a better year than Prescott in 2022; this is not about one year.)

If the Philadelphia Eagles can win the NFC with Jalen Hurts as their quarterback, there is no reason why the Dallas Cowboys can’t do the same with Dak Prescott as theirs.

For every single Dallas Cowboys fan who believes that their quarterback can do this, they only need to look at Jalen Hurts.

The Eagles front office, and coaching staff, did a better job of setting up their team, and the offense, around what Hurts does well than the Cowboys did for their quarterback.

Easy to say.

Harder to do.

Also, that’s the job, Jerry Jones. Stephen Jones. Charlotte Jones. Jerry Jr. Will McClay. Mike McCarthy. Rowdy.

When the Eagles decided to go with the former Alabama and Oklahoma quarterback as their passer over former first-round pick Carson Wentz after the 2020 season they had no idea they had a Super Bowl QB this fast.

At the time the gamble wasn’t trading Wentz away to the Indianapolis Colts, whom the Eagles decided was damaged beyond repair. The gamble was Hurts.

Hurts had all of the characteristics of a young player who could develop into a long time NFL quarterback, at least as a backup. There was nothing to indicate that he was going to lead the Eagles to the Super Bowl in February of 2023.

Much like Tony Romo when he was promoted to the position as starter in 2006 with the Cowboys, Hurts has continually improved, and has not found a ceiling.

Give the man credit. Alabama dumped him, so he transferred to Oklahoma for his senior year. He was a second-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, and all he has done is win the job, win over teammates, win over a city full of “love” amid winning games.

He does what he does well; this season, in 15 games he completed 66 percent of his passes for 3,701 yards with 22 touchdowns and six interceptions. He also ran for 760 yards and scored 13 times with his feet.

The Eagles put good players around Hurts; they spent a first round pick on receiver DeVonta Smith. They traded a pair of high picks to the Titans for receiver A.J. Brown. They have a quality tight end in Dallas Goedert, and a productive running back with Miles Sanders.

The Eagles had the third-best offense in the NFL in 2022, and are 16-3 in games that count.

At no point in this two-year process with Hurts did the Eagles ask him to be anything more than what he is.

Hurts is no Trent Dilfer bus driver, nor is he a Patrick Mahomes Marvel action figure.

Somewhere between those two quarterbacking extremes is Jalen Hurts. The same for Dak Prescott.

Dak had a bad year, but he’s not a bad player.

Too often his teammates failed him, and he paid the price.

Also, there were high profile moments when he needed to play better, and he didn’t. Re-watching his playoff performance against the San Francisco 49ers is as bewildering as it is painful.

One week after playing one of the best games of his career in the playoff win against Tom Brady in Tampa, Dak played like he had no clue how to play the position against the 49ers.

Jalen Hurts is not as good as Mahomes, Joe Burrow, Josh Allen. He’s also good enough to lead the Eagles to the NFC championship, and the Super Bowl.

If the Eagles can get there with Jalen Hurts, the Cowboys can do the same with Dak Prescott.

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