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Eytan Shander: Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie is making his biggest bet on Jalen Hurts


Did you know the Philadelphia Eagles are going to be a good football team this year?

Everyone’s talking about them. They are the current rave. We even told you to bet on them winning 10+ games for even money on this very column!

Are you paying attention to what’s really going on? There is a real buzz around the season to come. It’s a wager, but not like the one we placed on this team winning a bunch of games.

It’s just hard to ignore what’s happening with this organization – pending the success of Hurts this season. The world focuses on him because he’s the true remaining unknown that can impact this team more than anyone else. He can settle in as the franchise QB for years to come or be part of the long list of could be’s that failed to last in our city.

Could this be the year Howie Roseman and his boss Jeff Lurie finally settle in and commit to a long-term relationship? Not with money, anyone can do that, but with action. It’s certainly plagued the team since the departure of Donovan McNabb, and much like Brian Dawkins leaving, the team saw a rotating door of talent at a key position. In McNabb’s case the key position.

We never got our Malcom Jenkins at quarterback, man.

Hurts has the chance to be that and more for this team. So, in turn, Roseman and Lurie are placing a large wager on the back of their young quarterback that he can be the one. The first passer in years that the team can actually grow with for multiple years down the line.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have your children grow with a franchise player at the most important position in all of sports? This is some bizarre holy grail the team has failed to find, and even in winning a Super Bowl, it came under the most unique set of circumstances.

Hurts has his shot to play into a big role with some big money attached. It’s a fair culmination for a young man that has put in so much to make it this far. It’s safe to say he’s never been tackled by any complacency, so there’s a healthy expectation he continues to improve his game.

He doesn’t need to be a future hall of famer to fit the above role, specifically be the one that this team can finally commit to a long-term relationship. This isn’t futures bet the team is placing, more so, a season-long play.

This is where it gets weird.

Philadelphia is a football town – just stop. I know you are already coming up with something in your head to refute this but every single piece of metric or data that we have says otherwise. I work in radio, TV, and this digital platform – it’s E-A-G-L-E-S 24-7-365. We do care about other stuff because we have brains, but normally it’s Eagles first, then the rest of the world.

We are also passionate about our team – meaning we are full of piss and vinegar (probably some other stuff) and will fight over everything. No fan base moves like the old city states of Greece, where the internal battles can be insanity, but we pull together to destroy any outside invasion.

What’s specifically different about this year is that there’s really nothing to be upset about heading into the season. The team probably won’t win the Super Bowl, but they will be in the playoffs. They upgraded some key spots around the team, and even critics of the defensive coordinator (myself included) have to recognize how those improvements will help. The team has the chance to find a franchise QB – yes, yes, yes, they’ve said it before – which will come down to this season alone.

Last year was new to a lot of people, from personnel to systems. This year is heightened with expectations that should all be positive. It’s just so hard for me to look at this currently assembled team and come away with anything negative.

Knowing this city as well as you do, I would guess the three biggest reasons for negativity seeping into the brainstem of certain fans would be – in no particular order:

  1. Well, they ain’t winning the Super Bowl so why should I care
  2. I just don’t like Jalen Hurts 
  3. I’m really just a Cowboys fan from South Jersey who infiltrated an online poll or waited 2 hours to talk to Anthony Gargano about why I just don’t like Jalen Hurts

While I appreciate you showing the Cuz some love, this is absurd and outlier material at best. The season is full of tangible hope attached to the anchor of Hurts.

That’s not the only bet being placed.

Some of you already know betting is a long play, the ones who are most successful are doing this every day and putting a ton of time you don’t have into their homework. Even then, most are just above breaking even. The rare ones who consistently beat the books never waver from their process, they don’t abandon after a bad streak, nor tweak or adjust after a massive winning streak. It’s the hardest thing to do, but they exhibit what would be common sense and patience wrapped in one.

Mr. Lurie is a long-term gambler who has had some pretty impressive streaks, including a big one – the biggest one. Like most successful pros, Lurie has a spreadsheet of bets and is able to look back and see what hits and what doesn’t. Like most of these winning bettors, Lurie doesn’t care why the bet lost, just that it lost.

At some point there is a change in approach, not necessarily the system itself. Meaning Lurie will fire Roseman before Lurie changes the type of owner he is. That’s fine, but it’s also a deeper meaning behind what everyone is saying regarding this year’s Eagles team. Let us continue to put the pressure on Hurts as fans or anyone with any platform, but the true pressure now lies on the shoulders of Roseman.

Contracts are contracts, and the Eagles have shown the ability to get out of anything at any time. While I don’t think Roseman will ever be escorted out of the building, there will be a serious breakdown if this season ends in failure. It will be the end, or at the very least the start of it.

The team has survived, even thrived, without stability at the QB position. We don’t know that to be true with someone charged with running the team. Lurie has a nice chunk of change riding on Hurts, but has everything this year on Roseman.


Follow Eytan on Twitter: @shandershow

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