Nobody used the word “Deshaun” and nobody used the word “Watson.”
Nobody had to.
Everybody knew who the subject was.
The specter of Watson has been hanging over the Eagles for a while now, and while speculation runs rampant that the Eagles make sense as a suitor for the 25-year-old three-time Pro Bowler the Texans are shopping, Jalen Hurts just goes about his business of playing quarterback for the Eagles.
Not to Hurts.
“I’m above it all, I’m above it all, I’m above it all,” he said Wednesday. “Control what I can. Go out there and be the quarterback for this team.”
Certainly, these types of distractions have toppled much more experienced and accomplished quarterbacks than Hurts. It’s a lot for anybody to deal with, much less a 22-year-old just starting his second NFL season.
How does he stay “above it all?”
“Come to work and practice,” he said. “Practice at a high level.”
There has to be more to it than that? “There’s not,” Hurts said with a smile. “There’s not.”
Howie Roseman can’t address the Watson rumors, of course. That would be tampering and subject the Eagles to a possible fine and loss of draft picks.
But Roseman did speak in general terms Wednesday about the position the Eagles are in, with at least two and most likely three 1st-round picks in the 2022 draft.
“One of the things I always find kind of funny is whenever there's a name bandied about, the Eagles are kind of associated with that,” he said. “I understand because we have more draft picks, high draft picks, going forward that that's probably going to be continual as players become available.”
But it’s more than that.
Hurts is an unknown quantity who’s played exactly three full games in his career, Watson is available and one of the best quarterbacks on the planet, and Roseman himself has called the Eagles a “quarterback factory,” So depending on what happens with Watson’s off-the-field issues, a trade wouldn’t surprise anybody.
Roseman insists the Eagles remain high on Hurts, who started the last four games of last season after the starter was benched.
“Jalen has done everything possible off the field and during the spring practices to take the reins,” Roseman said. “We want to see him do that. I think this is a big year for any player going from Year 1 to Year 2. We're excited to see that and see his growth. We draft these guys for a reason.”
Nick Sirianni came as close as he has to naming Hurts the starter without quite naming him the starter.
“Right now, Jalen is in with the 1’s,” he said. “He's working with the 1’s, and he's earned that because he's worked his butt off. We're hoping that he takes the reins and rolls with it and continues to just get good reps.”
Hurts is a fascinating kid. His mind seems remarkably uncluttered for a young kid who’s still new to the NFL.
The kind of things that could be distractions he just shrugs off or laughs at. He’s laser-focused. He works hard, tries to get better every day, loves football and nothing else seems to matter.
So ask him if he’s disappointed Sirianni hasn’t officially dubbed him the opening-day starter and he just smiles.
“For a guy like me, I hold myself accountable to play at a high level every time I touch the field and there’s not going to be anybody that holds Jalen to a higher standard than Jalen,” he said. “That’s my goal. Be the best quarterback I can be every day, be the best teammate I can be every day and everything else will take care of itself.”