Eagles Insider

Is Jalen Hurts ready for what he's about to face?

Eagles Insider

Jalen Reagor expects to see the same sorts of things from Jalen Hurts on Sunday that we all saw from Hurts the last few years.

"You guys have seen him play," Reagor said. "Y'all seen him in college. Y'all seen him. He brings a lot of confidence. He won a national championship as a freshman, as a 19-year-old. He knows how to win."

Hurts, 22, will become the Eagles' youngest starting quarterback in 56 years on Sunday when he faces the Saints at the Linc.

It will be the first time since Carson Wentz was drafted in 2016 that he's healthy and won't be the Eagles' starting quarterback.

"Jalen, he brings swagger, he brings confidence, just like Carson brings swagger and confidence," Reagor said. "This is just his chance to grow and expand as a leader and this is his opportunity and I wish him the best, I wish Carson the best, and whoever we rock with that's who we rock with and just try to get this thing on the right track."

Hurts will be the Eagles' youngest starting quarterback since 21-year-old rookie Jack Concannon made a start against the Cowboys in 1964.

Doug Pederson said the biggest thing for Hurts to do Sunday is be himself.

"That's big for Jalen to just go out there this week and obviously take control of the huddle, like quarterbacks do, just lead the way he knows how," he said. "I can think about when I played, people said, 'Don't go be Brett Favre, be Doug Pederson.' So that's my message to him. Be Jalen Hurts. And do the things he can do. And really from an offensive perspective just run the show. Run it like he sees it, and we'll coach him up through the week and get him prepared."

 

It's hard to imagine anybody really needed to tell Doug Pederson not to be Brett Favre, but that's a story for another day.

The Saints have the NFL's No. 1 defense, but four quarterbacks have already posted a passer rating of at least 120 against them this year, including another rookie, Justin Herbert of the Chargers.

Pederson acknowledged that he needs to do things differently as a play-caller to help Hurts.

Including ... get this ... running the ball. 

"I think in order to get him success you've got to attempt and try to establish a little bit of the run game, that helps, and he can be a part of that I think," he said. "Just go out and maybe try to find some easy completions, the quick game or a screen here and there, something that can just kind of get him into the flow of the game. This is the No. 1 defense, it's no easy task, obviously, he's facing a really good opponent. It's our job as coaches, it's my job as a play-caller, to try to help him that way get him into the flow of the game and we'll see what happens from there."

Pederson still won't comment on who'll start against Arizona a week from Sunday, which puts a little extra pressure on Hurts.

If Hurts doesn't play well against the No. 1 seed in the NFC it's easy to imagine Pederson going back to Wentz.

Pederson benched Wentz in the third quarter in Green Bay Sunday, and Hurts accounted for the Eagles' only touchdown of the game with a 32-yard TD pass to Greg Ward.

"All I'm looking for here (is) a little spark, a little shot in the arm to pick the offense up," Pederson said. "Everybody around Jalen — or around Carson — has to elevate their game. They can't do this alone. It's impossible to attack an opponent with just one guy."

Hurts will become the first Heisman Trophy finalist to start a game for the Eagles since Sam Bradford, another former Oklahoma quarterback.

"He's a natural leader," Ward said. "He's going to come in and try to take control and try to make plays, and that's all you can ask for. I'm very excited for his opportunity. We're all excited and we're ready to roll."

Is Hurts ready for this? Is this a changing of the guard or just a one-week blip in Wentz's career? Will Wentz and Hurts both be back next year? Who'll be coaching them?

So many questions, and we'll start getting some answers on Sunday.

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