Ready or Not, Jalen Hurts Gets his Shot
Eagles second-round rookie quarterback Jalen Hurts continues to take the first-team reps in preparation for his first NFL start this Sunday against the Saints.
The Saints own the leagues top defense and an NFC best 10-2 record, but if one thing is for sure, no moment will be too big for Hurts. The rookie quarterback enters the league as a winner leading both Alabama and Oklahoma to the National Championship game during his time in college.
"He looks like he is having fun," said Eagles veteran defensive end Brandon Graham.
"Our guys are supporting him and going out with a lot of energy, I can see his confidence growing."
Confidence has never been an issue for Hurts, its one of the things that drew the Eagles to him and its has already been evident this week on the practice field.
"They have embraced this change, this opportunity for him, and that's what good teammates will do," Pederson explained. "They'll support the guy that's in there and they're supporting him and doing a great job there.
"Jalen is a natural leader. We saw that obviously talking to his college coaches, whether it was Alabama or Oklahoma. Just a natural leader, and now that he's in this position, you can see he's coming out and really talking to his guys and talking to Kelce and wanting to understand. He’s asking really good questions in the meeting, not only to Press Taylor, but also to me and to Jeff Stoutland, and really wants to gather all the information he can."
He could give the Eagles offense the spark it has been looking for.
Hurts led college football, including running backs, in red zone rushing touchdowns (17) last season, he also led the nation in yards per attempt (11.5) on non-play action passes, meaning he is willing to push the ball downfield.
"His confidence level is through the roof," explained Eagles running back Miles Sanders.
"That's what I really like about him, especially being a rookie QB in the NFL. Being a quarterback in the NFL isn't easy regardless, but I love his confidence and command in the huddle. I'm excited to see him play."
So is Hurts ready to play now?
Most draft experts had Hurts as a Day 2 pick and stated that watching from the sidelines for a year would be best. He had comparisons to Russell Wilson and Dak Prescott on draft day, but ready or not, now is his time.
Hurts' confidence and leadership qualities are evident, he can extend plays with his legs and make throws on the run. However, one area where he struggled in college was with accuracy and ball-placement, something Carson Wentz has struggled with in 2020.
"Obviously, we want to take care of the football," Pederson explained. "Ball security is something we talk about each week. We want to see him execute the offense, how he executes it. Again, I'm not going to ask him it be Carson Wentz. I want him to be Jalen Hurts, how he views the offense."
"And so just execution. We got to get in and out of the huddle. My job is to get him the play in a timely manner. He's got to be able to communicate, get it out of the huddle, get the snap, all of that, and then we need to score points."
It's not an ideal situation, but if anyone can step into a situation like this and succeed, it's Jalen Hurts.
Eagles QBs Drafted Outisde Of The First Round Since 2000