Eagles Coach Sounds Off on Jalen Hurts, MVP Candidates

Jalen Hurts

Getty Jalen Hurts commands the Eagles' huddle during Philly's 31-15 loss in the wild-card round of the playoffs.

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts had been a leading candidate for MVP honors until that hiccup against Washington. While his numbers weren’t stellar versus Indianapolis, he put on the Superman cape when it counted and scored the game-winning touchdown. His poise and leadership in the fourth quarter ensured a 9-1 record for Philly.

Hurts remains in the mix for the NFL’s top award, along with Tua Tagovailoa, Patrick Mahomes, and Josh Allen. He ranks fourth in QB Rating (106.5) and fifth in QBR (65.0) while throwing for 2,407 yards and 15 touchdowns. Eagles offensive coordinator Shane Steichen recently discussed Hurts’ candidacy for MVP.

“Yeah, the way he’s playing right now, absolutely,” Steichen told reporters. “Obviously even with that game, right, not all games are going to be perfect, but when we needed to come up with big plays, he did it for us, and that’s what great players do. He’s continuing to grow and getting better every single day, but we’ve got to keep grinding away. It’s week by week, and we’ve got to continue to grow.”

Credit QB Coach Brian Johnson for Hurts’ Development

Eagles quarterbacks coach Brian Johnson has known Hurts since the MVP candidate was a carefree 4-year-old running around the playground. Johnson unsuccessfully tried to recruit Hurts to Mississippi State when he was coaching there, plus Johnson played for Hurts’s dad, Averion, in high school at Baytown Lee. Yes, there is a ton of familiarity between those two men.

Head coach Nick Sirianni made the pivotal decision to put Johnson on the sideline last season to better assess Hurts and coach him up during games. Their collaborative relationship has been a big reason for Hurts’ development as a passer.

“Brian played the quarterback position, and he’s done a tremendous job,” Steichen said. “He sees the game really well, and so when he’s going through the stuff with him in the meetings, out on the practice field, just the way he communicates, he’s a great communicator with Jalen. He does a heck of a job getting his mind right to go execute on Sundays.”

Aaron Rodgers, Jalen Hurts Share Mutual Respect

Hurts made his NFL debut as a starting quarterback at Lambeau Field versus the Green Bay Packers in 2020 after Carson Wentz was benched in the third quarter. He went 5-of-12 for 109 passing yards and a touchdown while rushing 18 times for 106 yards. From there, a star was born — although Hurts downplayed the significance of that moment.

“I know it was my first time ever really playing in the NFL was against Green Bay,” Hurts told reporters. “That’s the reality of it.”

Hurts didn’t get nostalgic about playing the Packers, but he did share how much he appreciates and respects Aaron Rodgers. And Tom Brady, of course.

“Aaron Rodgers has been one of the most consistent quarterbacks throughout his time and I have a lot of respect for him,” Hurts said. “When you talk about a guy like Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers, guys I watched when I was growing up as a kid, those are guys that have set a precedent for the position in many ways. They’re great for a reason.”

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