It’s easy to see why the Philadelphia Eagles have so much trust in Jalen Hurts. Just listen to him talk in media interviews, or simply ask his teammates about the starting quarterback. He’s a proven winner.
That one quality stood out to the Eagles’ front office during the draft process in 2020. They weren’t afraid to use a second-round pick (53rd overall) on Hurts despite having a player who they thought was their franchise guy (Carson Wentz) already on the roster. Two years later, the confidence level in Hurts has grown exponentially.
“We’re just looking to win. I think that at the end of the day, that’s something that always attracted us to Jalen as a player when we drafted him,” Eagles GM Howie Roseman told Pro Football Talk. “Obviously, that’s what he’s done really his whole life as a football player. He’s figured out ways to win and put his team in positions, in college, to win championships.
“I think with Jalen the one overriding theme with him is he will do whatever it takes to be great. He will work as hard as he possibly can. He will connect with as many teammates as he possibly can. If you tell him this will make you better, he will go to the ends of the Earth to do that. And he’s a talented guy.”
Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio and Chris Simms were asking Roseman about his offseason moves, including the blockbuster trade for A.J. Brown. Everything the Eagles did over the past several months has centered on Hurts taking a giant leap as a pocket passer in Year 2.
“So, I think we have to help whoever our quarterback is,” Roseman said. “You always want to feel that way, but I think when you have a young quarterback – and he’s still 23 years old, which sometimes I even forget about – but when you have a young quarterback like that, you have to put them in a position to be successful. You can’t ask them to do everything.”
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Questions Linger About Hurts’ Pocket Presence
The major concern when it comes to Hurts’ development is his pocket presence. Can he make the right reads and checks when plays break down, instead of relying on his legs all the time to escape trouble?
No one wants to ground Hurts. His legs remain his greatest asset. But, knowing when to hang in there and throw a dart in crunch time is something that quarterbacks have to know how to do to win Super Bowls.
“At some point your kryptonite is going to come to town. You’re going to have to win the game in the pocket and I think that’s the last piece of the puzzle,” Chris Simms said. “The great teams, the teams that go deep in the playoffs, the Super Bowl teams, it’s always the same thing – it’s [Matthew] Stafford in the pocket throwing lasers to win the game with everybody on his offense injured.”
Meanwhile, Mike Florio discussed the broader picture on Hurts’ future in Philadelphia. They want him to be the franchise guy and now he has the pieces around him to take that next step. Remember, Hurts still has two years left on his rookie deal at roughly $2.4 million.
“He’s kind of gradually becoming the guy,” Florio said. “They wanted the obvious franchise guy ever since Donovan McNabb was traded 12 years ago. Hurts is a kind of a guy who is going to ease himself into that role and were going to wake up one day and say, ‘Holy crap, they got a top-10 quarterback in Jalen Hurts.'”
Hurts: ‘It’s My Team, My Opportunity’
Hurts might not want to admit it but he’s heard the outside the noise that he’s not the long-term answer at quarterback. That the Eagles tried to trade for his replacement. He’s also heard resounding votes of confidence from his bosses, including team owner Jeffrey Lurie. This is his opportunity and he’s taking the bull by the horns.
“It’s my opportunity, it’s my team, it’s pretty much what it is,” Hurts said. “It’s my team so I’m ready to go. And the work has been put in to go out and achieve what we want to achieve, and I think this being a time for us to come together and spend time together and do all those things.”