PHILADELPHIA – There are worse quarterbacks to get advice and video snippets from than Peyton Manning, who ranks third in NFL history with just under 72,000 passing yards in a Hall of Fame career.
And yet, it would seem like Manning would be an unlikely mentor for Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts.
Hurts revealed that he is close with Manning, who played for the Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos during his 17-year career. Hurts also knows Manning’s brother, Eli, the Giants’ QB for 16 seasons, and family patriarch Archie Manning, who spent most of his 15 seasons with the New Orleans Saints.
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“I love watching Peyton Manning and seeing what he has to say (in) the detailed (video) episodes that he makes,” Hurts said. “He actually sends them to me. Having a relationship with him, I enjoy that.”
Hurts said the relationship began going into his sophomore year in high school when he attended the Manning Passing Academy.
“We just maintained that relationship,” Hurts said. “Always, little things I can learn from, pick their brain. I value that. I value the Mannings and the relationship that I have with them.”
Yet you won’t see Hurts standing in the pocket this Sunday against the Saints, waiting until the last possible second to throw the ball. And you won’t see Hurts come anywhere close to matching Manning’s arm strength or pinpoint accuracy.
Conversely, Manning is not nearly the runner that Hurts is. Hurts has 547 yards rushing this season, on pace for 930 this season. Manning ran for just 667 yards in 17 seasons. Then again, Hurts is on pace to throw for 3,670 yards in 17 games this season.
Manning threw for at least 4,000 yards in 14 of his 17 seasons. Until this season, NFL teams played 16 games.
While Manning can’t help Hurts as a runner, he can help Hurts in other ways at the quarterback position, beginning with leadership.
“He’s just really, really detail oriented,” Hurts said. “You talk about doing walkthroughs, he’s a guy that everything was really full speed until the snap. He was going through checks.
“Even in the offseason, the amount of detail he has in the offseason when he’s with his receivers. He had scripted plays out there. He had special routines. I admired that. I hope to continue to carry that on.”
There are signs that Hurts is doing just that.
It goes beyond the past three games, when Hurts has a completion percentage of 66.7% and a passer rating of 102.6. The passer rating ranks second in the NFL during that span.
Hurts had a 61.1% completion percentage and passer rating of 89.5 over the first seven games.
Sure, Hurts is throwing about 50% fewer passes per game over the last three games – 18 attempts compared to 34.7 for the first seven. But Eagles coach Nick Sirianni said Hurts is throwing better.
Sirianni mentioned Hurts’ 24-yard completion to tight end Dallas Goedert on 3rd-and-12 from the Eagles’ 29 midway through the first quarter on Sunday in the 30-13 win over the Broncos.
“I think three or four weeks ago, he’s going to run that football,” Sirianni said. “He might get 10 (yards), and he might shake the guy off and get 15, might get 20. He got 24 when he stepped up in the pocket.”
Actually, that exact scenario did happen.
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The Eagles faced a third-and-12 from their 8-yard line against the Detroit Lions on Oct. 31. Hurts escaped the pocket and ran 20 yards for the first down.
That’s not to say that Hurts will never try to run in those situations again. It’s just that Hurts has improved enough as a passer where he can do either.
“It’s something that I do,” he said. “I can run it. I can throw it. It’s that ability to keep a defense on their heels. I think we’ve used that as a positive thing. And ultimately, you just felt it, made the throw, moved the chains … another day in the office.”
Hurts said that shows how far he has come since his first NFL start, last Dec. 13 against the New Orleans Saints.
The Saints came into that game with a 10-2 record, having won nine straight while the Eagles were 3-8-1 and reeling after Carson Wentz was benched in the third quarter the previous week against Green Bay.
Hurts led an unlikely 24-21 victory. He completed 17 of 30 passes for 167 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions. His passer rating was a pedestrian 83.6.
But Hurts ran 18 times for 106 yards, both career highs.
There was no question back then that Hurts’ first instinct was to run if a receiver wasn’t open.
“I think with a year’s time, I’ve just grown,” Hurts said. “We’ve had a lot happen since my first start. I’ve had to approach it just getting better every day, putting daily deposits in, just trying to grow – as a player, grow as a leader, grow as a man.”
No doubt, that’s what Manning would appreciate. As for Hurts, there’s one more thing he can get from Manning: a spot on the “Manningcast” with Peyton and Eli during ESPN’s Monday Night Football games.
Could that happen?
“I’ll talk about that later,” Hurts said.
TE Dallas Goedert was a limited participant in practice Thursday after suffering a concussion against the Broncos on Sunday. Goedert has to be cleared by an independent neurologist before he’s eligible to play again, but this is a good sign.
Goedert did not practice Wednesday.
In addition, RB Miles Sanders took part in the portion of practice open to the media, another good sign that he might come off injured reserve in time for the game Sunday against the Saints.
LB Davion Taylor (knee) and G/C Jack Anderson (hamstring) were also limited. Everyone else was a full participant in practice.
Contact Martin Frank at [email protected] Follow on Twitter @Mfranknfl.
This article originally appeared on Delaware News Journal: Peyton Manning sends Eagles’ Jalen Hurts advice, videos