After the first extended playing time of his short NFL career, Jalen Hurts shed some light on the challenges he’s faced this year.
Hurts referred to being drafted by the Eagles – a team with an established No. 1 quarterback – as adversity that he had to get through, an interesting take for the rookie second-round pick.
“God has done so many things throughout my life,” Hurts said after the Eagles' 30-16 loss to the Packers, their fourth straight loss.
“He’s brought me so many places and he’s put me in so many situations. I always told myself it’s not something that you’re stuck in, it’s something you’re going through and whether it be the different adversities I experienced in college or coming to Philadelphia, it’s a test of faith and patience.”
That provides some interesting context on what this year has been like for Hurts.
Doesn't sound like he was thrilled to come here.
He knows the Eagles were roasted by fans and draft analysts as soon as they selected Hurts with the 53rd pick, and all he heard when he got here was, “What other positions can you play?”
Couldn't have been easy showing up in Philly after getting drafted and finding fans who don't want you and a team that doesn't seem to need you.
All of which brings us to Sunday at Lambeau.
Hurts, who we had only seen so far in brief cameos, finally replaced a struggling Carson Wentz and although his final numbers weren’t anything special, considering it was the first extended playing time of his career, there was a lot to be encouraged by.
Hurts entered the game with 7 ½ minutes left in the third quarter and the Eagles trailing 20-7.
He completed a 34-yard to Jalen Reagor on his first pass of the game – the longest pass to an Eagles wide receiver in five weeks – and he threw a 32-yard TD to Greg Ward – the Eagles’ longest TD pass to a wide receiver in seven weeks.
In all, he completed four passes of 17 yards or more in less than a half.
He also ran five times for 29 yards, including two scrambles for first downs.
Hurts finished 5-for-12 for 109 yards and also threw a late interception.
The Eagles averaged 21 yards per drive with Wentz on the field and 32 yards per drive with Hurts.
But forget the numbers. It was undeniable there was an energy out there when Hurts was on the field that has been absent when Wentz has played.
“You create your own energy and as great as it was, as great as a spark that was, the energy we had, it’s about what we do moving forward,” Hurts said. “I have this saying I go by: ‘So what, now what?’ Regardless of whatever it is or how it looks, it’s about how you respond. We’re going to be working our tail off. We’re going to find a way. Everybody has it on their mind to get this thing done and it’s going to come down to how bad you want it.”
Doug Pederson wouldn’t name a starter for the Saints on Sunday at the Linc, and Hurts said he’ll be ready either way.
“I’m trying to do what I can do for this team,” he said. “It’s as simple as that. Working hard every day, putting my best foot forward and taking somebody with me. I’m trying to lead and just get this thing headed in the right direction. So anything that can help this team.”
Hurts wasn’t about to get ahead of himself and talk about next week or next year or anything beyond going to practice Wednesday and working hard, whether it’s with the 1’s or the 2’s.
But he clearly relished the opportunity to actually play quarterback for the first time since Oklahoma’s 2019 season ended in December.
“Any experience and any opportunity to touch the field, it only raises the value of that player,” he said. “It’s been that way all year and today coach gave me that opportunity and all my heart I had every intention of coming in and getting it done and winning the game.
“We came up short and that only lights a fire in everybody moving forward. However it looks the objective in this game is to win. Just got to keep pushing, pushing, pushing and believe.”
We'll find out soon whether he'll get that chance.
Subscribe to the Eagle Eye podcast: