The Philadelphia Eagles kept saying Jalen Hurts was their quarterback, then they showed it on draft night. The team traded for A.J. Brown — a Pro Bowl receiver who doubles as Hurts’ best friend — and steered clear of drafting a young quarterback in the early rounds.
Hurts won’t be looking over his shoulder in 2022. And rightfully so after the 23-year-old guided the Eagles to the playoffs in his first year as the starter. Sure, Hurts has some things to clean up but the coaching staff has put their faith in him. Ditto for the front office and ownership. Hurts is ready to reward their trust after setting the standard last season.
“I think this is an exciting time to be an Eagle,” Hurts told reporters on Wednesday. “One thing I’ve been telling the guys is the foundation has been set, the standard has been set, and the only direction is to climb. And the only way we can do that is doing it together, connecting, doing all these things we should be doing this spring to come together.
“Learn the system and build on the things that we’ve done. So I think the message has been simply the only direction is to rise, and we have a lot that we want to achieve here in this organization, on this team, from the top down — and it doesn’t happen overnight.”
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Hurts on Starting Job: ‘It’s My Team’
Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie went out of his way to say the franchise is “committed” to Hurts. Their actions during the draft and throughout free agency backed that commitment up. So it was no surprise to hear Hurts confirm his titles of QB1 on Wednesday, confidently adding that the Eagles are “my team.”
“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.
“We’re still building. We’re not going out there and playing a game tomorrow so there’s always work to be put in. Every day that there isn’t work put in, that’s a day missed, that’s an opportunity missed.”
Hurts underwent minor surgery in early February to repair his right ankle, an injury that hobbled the quarterback down the stretch in 2021. He was spotted wearing a walking boot after the team’s wild-card playoff loss. How did the ankle surgery go? “I’m good now, that’s all that matters,” Hurts said.
New Routine But No Tweaks to Throwing Style
Hurts spent some of the offseason out in sunny California working on different parts of his game. Tom House and Adam Dedeaux were the rumored names to be grooming the Eagles’ starter, with one unfounded report of Hurts visiting Tom Brady.
But Hurts wouldn’t give up the goods on which trainers he saw in the offseason, allowing only that he turned to holistic medicine and tried to “challenge myself to do things I’ve never done.” That included everything from reading more books (for example, David Goggins) to changing up his diet.
“When you play the quarterback position it’s not all about physical ability,” Hurts said. “It’s about mental ability, being able to manage different things, different situations, manage the team, you’re leading the team so there’s so much that goes into it and I just tried to challenge myself to do it in the offseason.”
When asked if he tweaked his throwing motion, Hurts defiantly said “no.” The main word for him this offseason has been consistency.
“That’s been my entire approach coming into Year 3 for me. Being consistent,” Hurts said. “I look back on last year knowing that there were games where I played at a very high level then there were games where it wasn’t the same, and I think consistency in this league is everything. Ultimately the work is being put in now but that’s what we’re chasing, that’s what I’m chasing — and I think consistency can make it become elite.”