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 provided his team with a brief scare, too.
Jets linebacker Quincy Williams applied a massive — and late — hit to Jalen Hurts, after he scrambled out of bounds on a third-down play. Coach Nick Sirianni reacted as if he wanted to go three rounds.
After the game, Sirianni explained his outburst, which included Sirianni yelling to the other sideline, “Saleh! What the fuck?!”
“I wasn’t mad at Coach [Robert] Saleh,” Sirianni told reporters. “I was mad at the situation. I was more mad at the player, than Coach Saleh. Coach Saleh is a great guy. I have so much respect for him. It was just emotions of the game. I was just sticking up for Jalen. I’ll never apologize for sticking up for my players. I should have handled it a little bit better than I did. Obviously, I didn’t want that hit to happen on the sideline. I know it happens, and I know it’s football. I was more mad at the situation, not mad at Coach Saleh.”
Coach Saleh wasn’t happy with the play, either. Primarily because it gave the Eagles 15 yards and a fresh set of downs.
“I talked to him after the game,” Saleh told reporters. “Egregiously awful from Quincy, and he knows that. He knows better. And those are the plays that Quincy has to get out of his game if he wants to become the linebacker that I think he can be, that we all think he can be. It’s one thing to make a mistake in the game, it’s another thing 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 to a field goal after giving up an explosive — pretty good showing for the first drive. Then to have that happen extends the drive. Anytime you extend the drive like that it’s probably going to lead to bigger points. So Quincy knows, but at the same time those are the plays he’s got 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 that Saleh is coaching his players to treat running quarterbacks like running backs. That’s something more teams will be doing — and it’s something the officials supposedly will be calling appropriately this year. But a player still can’t be blown up when 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 happens,” he told reporters. “He hit me late. They called a flag. We moved on.”
He was happy, however, that so many came to his defense.
“I think that’s what we’re about,” Hurts said. “In the end, I think that’s us having each other’s backs. That’s Philly.”
The good news for Philly is that Hurts emerged from the game healthy. That’s always the top priority for any team playing in the preseason.