Jalen Hurts Goes to Hospital, Joe Flacco Pressed into Starting Role
PHILADELPHIA – One minute, Jalen Hurts looked fine. The next, he was not fine and was on his way to the hospital on Thursday night.
It wasn’t a hit that sent him there, but stomach pain.
“He had pain in his abdomen,” said head coach Nick Sirianni. “For a guy like that to tell us, he’s a tough guy, so it must have been hurting him pretty good for him to let us know about that.”
Hurts did not have COVID-19, but a source confirmed that he was sent home with direction to spend the next couple of days resting.
The Eagles have off Friday then a scheduled walkthrough on Saturday before returning to Lincoln Financial Field Sunday night for an open-to-the-public practice at 7 p.m.
“He came in, he wasn’t feeling great,” said Sirianni. “We put him through pregame warmups, and he wanted to go out there and go through pregame warmups. He came back in. He still wasn’t feeling good. We evaluated him. We just decided that it wasn’t in his best interest to play with what he was feeling. We evaluated him. He’s doing OK now. That’s why we held him out.”
Exactly where Hurts was after the Patriots pasted the Eagles 35-0 in the second preseason game.
Sirianni wasn’t sure.
“He’s not still at the hospital. I do know that,” said the coach. “I don’t know if he came back to the stadium. I’m assuming he did, to get the car. I didn’t see him after in the locker room. That’s about all the information I have.”
With Hurts out, Joe Flacco started and played the entire half.
The veteran quarterback has had better outings. He finished 10-for-17 for just 83 yards and was sacked once.
To be fair, he doesn’t get many reps with the first-team receiver group, and he had zero reps with DeVonta Smith who made his preseason debut.
Flacco, though, didn’t use that as an excuse.
“You throw routes on air with them and stuff like that,” he said. “You always get a couple of reps with them here and there. Sometimes that stuff’s overrated. When you go out there and play in a game, it is what it is. You make the most of it. Especially in my role, that’s part of it.
“With what I’m doing now, I could get thrown in there at any point and it doesn’t matter if I don’t have reps with people. It’s just the nature of the business.”
Hurts looked OK during pregame warmups moving well and even dancing to the music that was being pumped into the Linc.
Flacco learned that he would have to start when the team went back to the locker room after the warmup period.
“Somebody alerted me to the fact that something might be happening,” said Flacco. “Obviously, he went through warmups and things like that, so I didn’t really think too much of it. It’s just the nature of this business. You have to be ready to go at any time.”
Asked how he thought the offense responded to the unexpected adversity, Flacco said: “You just kind of go with the flow. It’s an NFL game. Everybody’s still getting pumped up and getting ready to go, getting their minds right to play an NFL game.
“We came out there and got a couple first downs then kind of hit a wall after that and weren’t able to kind of turn it over and get any momentum going in our favor and it kind of carried through the rest of the night.”
So what’s next for Hurts?
He played just 10 snaps in the preseason opener and none against the Patriots, even though there were two practices that were probably better than game reps.
The Eagles wrap their exhibition slate next Friday at the New York Jets, a preseason game that rarely features any starters playing any snaps.
After that, however, more than two weeks will have passed before the regular-season opener on Sept. 12 in Atlanta.
“Next week, we have two practices against the Jets and two other (walkthrough) practices,” said Sirianni. “So again, we’ll evaluate how he’s feeling these next couple of days … Those are like games. Those inter-squad practices are like games, so he’s going to get two more there. I’m pretty confident that he’ll get some good work against the Jets.”
Ed Kracz is the publisher of SI.com’s Eagle Maven and co-host of the Eagles Unfiltered Podcast. Check out the latest Eagles news at www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles or www.eaglemaven.com and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.