Friday night’s game between the Eagles and Jets may have resulted in a serious knee injury for New York quarterback Zach Wilson. The other starting quarterback also gave his team a brief scare.
Jets linebacker Quincy Williams applied for a huge – and late – hit to Jalen Hurts, after coming out of bounds on a third-down play. Coach Nick Sirianni reacted like he wanted to go three rounds.
After the match, Sirianni explained his outburst, which included Sirianni shouting to the other sidelines: “Saleh! What the fuck?!”
“I wasn’t mad at Coach [Robert] Saleh,” Sirianni told reporters. “I was angry at the situation. I was more angry with the player than with coach Saleh. Coach Saleh is a great guy. I have so much respect for him. It was just the emotions of the game. I just stood up for Jalen. I will never apologize for standing up for my players. I should have handled it a little better than I did. It was clear I didn’t want that goal to happen on the sidelines. I know it happens, and I know it’s football. I was more angry with the situation, not angry with coach Saleh.”
Coach Saleh was also not happy with the game. Primarily because it gave the Eagles 15 yards and another run of downs.
“I spoke to him after the game,” Saleh told reporters. “Very awful of Quincy, and he knows it. He knows better. And those are the plays Quincy needs to get out of his game if he wants to be the linebacker I think he can be, which we all think he can be. It’s one thing to make a mistake in the game, it’s another to make a mistake that leads to points, touchdowns. It’s a good drive, we’re off the field, Jalen is a phenomenal quarterback, and to stop them, hold them against a field goal after giving up an explosive – pretty good for the first drive. For that to happen, the drive is expanded. Every time you expand the drive that way, it will likely lead to bigger points. So Quincy knows, but at the same time those are the plays he needs to get out of his game if he wants to be the player we think he can be.”
The fact that Williams hit Hurts so late suggests Saleh coaches his players to treat running quarterbacks as running backs. That’s something more teams will do – and it’s something the officials will reportedly call appropriately this year. But a player still can’t be blown up if he’s clearly out of bounds, regardless of whether he’s a quarterback or a running back, and Hurts was.
For his part, Hurt had no complaints. “It’s happening,” he told reporters. “He hit me late. They called a flag. We moved on.”
He was glad, however, that so many came to defend him.
“I think that’s what we’re about,” Hurts said. “In the end, I think we’re each other’s backs. That’s Philly.”
The good news for Philly is that Hurts came out of the game healthy. That is always the top priority for any team that plays in the preseason.