Doug Pederson never got the opportunity to mold Jalen Hurts into the next franchise quarterback of the Philadelphia Eagles. However, the Super Bowl-winning coach was deeply involved with drafting Hurts and grooming him in 2020.
Pederson was the one who made the controversial decision to bench Carson Wentz in favor of Hurts. Naturally, the two shared a special bond and mutual respect during their lone year together. On Wednesday, Hurts talked about his relationship with Pederson and what he learned.
“I’m very grateful for Coach Pederson and the time I spent with him,” Hurts told reporters. “Obviously, him taking a chance on me, making me an Eagle, so that’s something that’s very important to me. I’m glad he’s got another opportunity and he’s doing great so far coaching a really good Jaguars team so I have a lot of respect for him.”
Hurts was asked to share Pederson’s final message to him before he left the NovaCare Complex for good. The 24-year-old starter couldn’t remember the exact words, fumbling for his phone at one point, then proceeded to tell the gist of it.
“Nothing but love and respect,” Hurts said. “He saw something in me and he wanted to encourage me to keep being the person that I am and the player that I am … something along those lines.”
Always Money on the Table, Never Up to the Standard
Hurts walks off the field week in and week out and spews the same cliches. The Eagles left money on the table. They didn’t play up to the standard. In other words, the performance wasn’t good enough. It never is. According to Hurts, it never will be.
“If you think one day you arrived you won’t because there is no arrival,” Hurts said. “It’s only the journey. I try to take things day by day and just focus on the little things and try to be better. I’m obsessed with playing to the standard, to my standard. And that’s just the mentality we’re trying to have around here.”
It’s not about chasing perfection, though. He wants to see progress and keep climbing the ladder toward greatness.
“That’s kind of our mentality, that we have as a football team, is just to climb,” Hurts said. “One-percent better every day. Rent is due every day, however, you want to phrase it. It’s just a climb, it’s a steady climb.”
Pederson Thinks Hurts Will ‘Defy the Odds’
The respect between Pederson and Hurts is a two-sided sword. Sharp in all the right places. The former Eagles leader isn’t surprised to see his former rookie quarterback excelling this season. He expected it. Hurts is bound to “defy the odds,” according to Pederson.
“He’s overcome adversity everywhere he’s been, at Alabama and Oklahoma,” Pederson said, via Pro Football Talk. “Just not surprised. Not surprised that he’s playing this well and he’s playing and really utilizing the guys around him to help him get these wins that they’re piling up.”