For the first time as the Eagles’ starting quarterback, rookie Jalen Hurts spoke to reporters on Wednesday after practice. He talked about how this is a big opportunity, but was sure to include “this week” several times — similar to Doug Pederson when talking about the QB situation.
Hurts showed up decked in Houston Astros gear, and he admitted he’s got Philadelphia Phillies and 76ers and gear too, but has to represent where he came from. He noted that after his first NFL touchdown, he threw up what looked like the Texas horns-up, but it was H-town for Houston.
Here’s what the young quarterback had to say:
“It’s a great opportunity. Coach talked to me, talked to both of us, it’s a great opportunity moving forward, so we’re focused on things we have to do this week. I just want to take advantage of the opportunity and do what I can do to help this team.
Hurts was asked about how a limited offseason and no preseason has affected his preparation for this moment. He noted that he’s tried to stay diligent in his preparation — meetings, and studying, and doing what he has to do to be prepared to play.
“Obviously, my role has changed this week, but the preparation and the hard work throughout the week has not. So, carrying on that same mentality that I’ve always had this year, always being ready to answer the phone when it rings, and it’s ringing so I’m ready to answer.”
The quarterback wouldn’t get into whether he and Wentz were told the news at the same time, or how those conversations went down. And, when asked how this week has been different, Hurts again pointed out his new role.
“Well, this week I’m the starting quarterback. My role has changed, but my preparation hasn’t.”
Hurts said that he “wouldn’t have this opportunity this week,” without his parents, who raised him to be a hard-working man, a believer in God, and a loving person. They found out that Hurts was named the starter before he could call them with the news, but said it’s all good.
“Like I said, it’s a great opportunity. As a kid you grow up and you dream of opportunities like this. So, I’m just, like always, my heads down and I’m working and I’m attacking it.”
The QB was asked about the leadership component that comes with being the starter, and he brought it back to his childhood and being a coach’s kid and being around football for a really long time.
“My coach, my Dad, or even coaches around me, they always said you don’t have to — anybody can lead. That may be leading by example, but I just want to earn the respect of my teammates, and secondly, just do the things that I need to do to have the respect of my teammates, that’s where it all starts from. And just move around with urgency on the field, and having great energy, and ultimately having great execution. So, just doing those things. Those are the big things. Those are things that matter.”
Hurts was later asked what kind of spark he can bring to the offense, and he once-again mentioned a sense of urgency and executing. But, notably, the quarterback said that right now, the most important thing is how they practice and what they do during the week,
“How we practice is a direct reflection of how we’ll play on Sunday. Go out there, like today. We had a great practice, and moving forward doing the same thing, and being locked in, believe in every person on the field, and having that trust as a unit. And just going out there and playing, playing for each other. Trust in one another, go out there and play hard.”
The QB is getting his start against one of the toughest defense’s in the NFL, and he admitted that the Saints are a fast, physical football team and they play really hard. They have to do what they can to control what they can — effort, execution, and mindset.
Hurts emphasized again that his role has changed, but preparation hasn’t, and said that Wentz has been working with him.
“We’re working together, communicating on things. He has 5 times as much experience than I have, he’s always a helping hand when a question comes up”