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Training Camp Position Preview: Quarterback

Jalen Hurts

The Eagles have an enviable situation at the game's most important position, led by fourth-year starter Jalen Hurts. He is coming off a great 2022 campaign during which he accumulated 35 total touchdowns (22 passing, 13 on the ground), a franchise-record 4,461 total yards, and a 14-1 record as a starter in the regular season (2-1 in the postseason). He was a second-team Associated Press All-Pro, a Pro Bowl starter, and was named runner-up in the Most Valuable Player voting.

Hurts signed a contract extension through 2028 this offseason and is one of the great leaders in the NFL. Backing up Hurts is veteran Marcus Mariota, the second overall draft pick in 2015 who last season started 13 games in Atlanta and tossed 15 touchdown passes, ran for another four scores, and totaled 2,657 yards from scrimmage. Ian Book is here for a second season after serving as the team's No. 3 quarterback and Tanner McKee, a sixth-round draft pick from Stanford, is in the room to compete for a roster spot. – Dave Spadaro

Did You Know?

• Jalen Hurts has a 22-8 record as a starter in the regular season since the 2021 campaign (second behind Kansas City's Patrick Mahomes) and has won 17 of his last 18 regular-season starts.

• Ian Book spent the entire season on the active roster and dressed for two games in 2022, Weeks 16 and 17, but did not play.

Returning Players

There's no questioning the fact that Jalen Hurts was outstanding last fall in pretty much every way. Whether it was with his dazzling runs in prime time in Week 2 against Minnesota or dicing up the Pittsburgh Steelers with his arm at home after the bye week, at every major tentpole last year, he played winning football.

With that in mind, he saved, arguably, his best performance for last. What he did against the Chiefs in the Super Bowl was downright masterful. He was outstanding on the game's biggest stage while going toe-to-toe with Patrick Mahomes. I'm still in awe when I go back and watch some of these throws. – Fran Duffy

New to the Nest

Marcus Mariota – The Eagles ensured that they would have a quality veteran backup behind Jalen Hurts when they signed Mariota this offseason.

The former No. 2 overall pick is unique in that he has experience both as a starter (74 regular-season games over eight seasons) and as a backup, so this is not a new role for him. Like Hurts, Mariota has the capability to win with his legs (2,012 career rushing yards and 17 touchdowns).

The Eagles also have some familiarity with Mariota. When the quarterback had his career-best season in terms of yards passing (3,426), passing touchdowns (26), and quarterback rating (95.6) back in 2016 with Tennessee, his quarterbacks coach was Jason Michael, the Eagles' tight ends coach. Mariota's new quarterbacks coach is Alex Tanney, a former teammate from Tennessee.

Tanner McKee – The Eagles drafted McKee, a two-year starter at Stanford, in the sixth round of the 2023 NFL Draft. Back in April, the Eagles raved about his prototypical size (6-6, 231 pounds), arm strength, and decision-making. McKee threw for nearly 3,000 yards last season in the Stanford offense, one that utilizes RPOs. – Chris McPherson

Key Stats

11.1 – Just in case there were any Jalen Hurts doubters after his MVP-caliber campaign in 2022, I took a stab at trying to rip away the bells and whistles from his performances to see how he did in pure dropbacks last fall.

All in all, 22 quarterbacks dropped back 250 times in 2022. If you remove all of the play-action passes, screens, and run pass option calls, none of those qualifying quarterbacks had a better passer rating than Hurts (96.3). He did that with an average depth of target of 11.1, while no one else in the Top 5 (Joe Burrow, Geno Smith, Patrick Mahomes, and Trevor Lawrence) even cracked 10.0. So on those straight dropbacks, Hurts was both extremely efficient and very productive; a hard line to tiptoe.

53.6 – Many people think of Marcus Mariota as more of a conservative passer after his run and gun days in college, but he was actually one of the most aggressive starting quarterbacks in the NFL last year.

The former No. 2 overall pick averaged 11.0 yards per target a year ago, the highest of any passer with at least 150 dropbacks in 2022. He led all qualifying quarterbacks as 53.6 percent of Mariota's throws went past the sticks last season. – Fran Duffy

What They Said

• "Last year is over. Anything that we were able to do last year ... nothing that's been done prior will get us to where we want to be now." – Jalen Hurts

• "I just really believe that I can relate with a lot of guys and be able to just continue to build that chemistry in the locker room, be a voice, and make an impact any way that I can ... I think specifically for the quarterback position – ups and downs, you're going to face those throughout your career. Just being a guy for Jalen and being a resource any way that I can to hopefully make him better and make the team better." – Marcus Mariota

Check out the quarterbacks on the Eagles' roster heading into Training Camp, presented by Independence Blue Cross. Players are listed in numerical order.

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