Eagles’ Jalen Hurts Talks ‘Weird Deal’ Offseason, Relationship with Carson Wentz

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Jalen Hurts doesn’t want to start any quarterback controversy in Philadelphia. He just wants to “get better” every day and “take the steps” necessary to improve as a team.

The Eagles invested a second-round pick on the dual-threat signal-caller from Oklahoma and conventional wisdom has him seeing snaps in a multitude of electrifying packages, from Wildcat formations and trick plays to possibly winning the backup job.

First, Hurts has to learn a new scheme and settle into his role — and get to know starting quarterback Carson Wentz a lot better. The two haven’t had much time to pick each other’s brains in a bizarre offseason overshadowed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s been a weird deal,” Hurts told reporters on Tuesday. “This whole offseason has been kind of unprecedented and not being in the building and not experiencing things that I would have experienced in a traditional offseason, OTAs and that type of deal. There hasn’t really been much of that communication.”

That’s not to say he hasn’t talked to Wentz at all. They “virtually” sat together in meeting rooms and Wentz’s voice has been a reassuring beacon of football knowledge.

“It was great to sit in the meetings and hear him talk,” Hurts said. “To see how he sees the game, to hear him talk … he’s very knowledgeable about what he’s doing on offense. I just want to continue to learn and soak it all in.”

However, the mentoring relationship between the two just hasn’t had enough time to grow.

“We’ve talked. We texted. We communicated,” Hurts said. “We’re feeling each other out and building that relationship. Once we both get in the building together, it’ll be even better. For me, to get reps with him and spend time with him, I’m excited for that.”

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Hurts Flew to Tampa to Train with DeSean Jackson

Hurts did spend a long weekend working out in Tampa with DeSean Jackson, though. The Eagles’ top speed threat — the unquestioned fastest receiver on the team with Marquise Goodwin opting out — learned a lot from Jackson both on and off the field.

Remember, the two players were hanging out right around the time Jackson’s infamous fake Adolf Hitler quotes rattled the nation. It was a trying time and Hurts saw it first-hand, thus making it easier for the rookie quarterback and veteran receiver to build a strong relationship.

“For me, going out there to Tampa — for him letting me come out there — it was great to be with him, learn from him, as a man and as a person,” Hurts said. “To talk to him and build somewhat of a relationship.”

Hurts threw passes and Jackson ran routes, then they posted their highlights on social media. And Hurts came away rather impressed with Jackson, especially the 33-year-old’s crazy speed.

“He has a lot of speed,” Hurts said. “He’s a veteran player. He’s as fast as it gets, if not the fastest. A smooth route runner, with soft hands.”


Quarterback? Gadget-Style Sidekick? Or Something Else?

The biggest question surrounding Hurts is what the Eagles plan to do with him. The 21-year-old has insisted time and time again that he is a quarterback, someone who aspires to start in the NFL someday. That’s not going to happen in Philadelphia, not with Wentz locked up through 2024.

One leading theory is Hurts will morph into a gadget-play specialist in Philly, much like the Saints’ Taysom Hill. Another one has him moving to a different position, perhaps receiver or running back. Hurts is explosive with the ball in his hands and the Eagles want him on the field in 2020. For now, the quarterback is focusing on, well … being a quarterback.

“I’ve played quarterback my whole entire life and I’m here just trying to grow at that position. Just takings to be the best quarterback I can be for this team,” Hurts said. “I don’t look into the expectations. I don’t worry about those things. I’m just worried about getting better as a quarterback every day, that’s what I’m worried about.”

Would he mind switching positions? Possibly turning into a trick pony of sorts? It doesn’t sound like that is Hurts’ long-term goal.

“I don’t want to get into the semantics of those things. I’m just worried about improving,” Hurts said. “I’ve said it three times [in this interview] and I don’t want to come off across any kind of way … I’m just improving and trying to be the best quarterback I can every day for this team.”

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