Philadelphia Eagles quarterback and MVP candidate Jalen Hurts will be on the sidelines for this week’s game due to a sprained shoulder.
Fourth season quarterback Gardner Minshew will get the Philly (13-1) nod on Saturday against the NFC East rival Dallas Cowboys (10-4).
A win over Dallas would clinch the NFC East and the No. 1 seed in the conference. Only the top seed in each conference gets a bye into the playoffs.
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“Jalen did everything he could to prepare his body for launch,” team coach Nick Siriani said on Thursday. “And at the end of the day, he won’t be able to do it. He tried like crazy. I know he still wants to go. Jalen Hurts is the hardest player I’ve ever had.”
Earlier in the week, Sirianni hinted that he doesn’t count pain because of his strength.
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The 24-year-old sat out training on Wednesday. He suffered a shoulder injury in the Eagles’ Week 15 win over the Bears. It appeared he had a shoulder injury when he was tackled 3 yards later in the second half.
He was slow to get up after the hit, but he played the rest of the game.
When asked how prepared the Hurts are for next week’s game against the New Orleans Saints, Siriani said the team will take it day in and day out.
The No. 1 seed clinch meant the Eagles would receive a bye during the first week of the postseason. It would also give the coaching staff some flexibility when it comes to the possibility of Hurts playing the last two games of the regular season.
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Hurts is not expected to sustain an injury or require surgery, which means the quarterback will likely be available in the playoffs.
Minshew handled snaps with the first-team offense during practice this week. A sixth-round draft pick from Washington State was away from the team on Tuesday to speak at the funeral of the late Mike Leach.
Minshew was the starting quarterback under Leach in 2018.
While he was away, Minshew reached out to the coaches via Zoom and FaceTime to keep up with everything going on on the team’s tour on Tuesday.
It wouldn’t be the first time Minshew had stepped in for Hurts. He replaced injured Hurts last season in a game against the Jets. He also gained experience as a starting pitcher during his time with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
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Hurts’ third year in the NFL proves to be his best yet. He has thrown 22 touchdowns and added 13 more on the ground. He has completed just over 67% of his passes and is widely regarded as the leading favorite in the MVP race ahead of Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen.
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