They haven’t seen him throw a pass yet. So it’s a little early to start raving about how far along Jalen Hurts is.
But Doug Pederson did sound encouraged Tuesday when talking about the rookie quarterback’s progress when it comes to the mental side of things.
Hurts, the Heisman Trophy runner-up for Oklahoma last fall, has been working at a high level in virtual meetings, Pederson said, and while that might not be quite the same as chucking the ball up and down the field to DeSean Jackson and Jalen Reagor at OTAs, it’s all the Eagles can go on right now.
“His growth from a mental standpoint from the beginning of the offseason to now has been very good,” Pederson said. “His ability to recall plays and recite plays. One thing (QBs coach) Press Taylor has done is put him into a huddle situation where he's calling plays and being able to just spit that back to him. He's done that at a really good, high level, and now it’s just a matter of once we get him on the grass, he has to do it for real and go from there. But I've been really impressed with his progress this spring.”
Recall, OTAs and minicamps are all about the mental side of the game, anyway. The coaches call them meetings on the field. This spring has been exactly the same.
Only minus the field part.
Pederson said they're taking their time with Hurts, because they have plenty of time. There's no reason to rush the process and overload anybody in June.
“With Jalen [or any] young quarterbacks, you always have an idea or an understanding of where they are, not only at the beginning of your offseason, but at the end,” Pederson said. “You take things slower with young players. You take things a little bit slower so that they can understand the terminology. They can call a play in a [virtual] huddle and teach them everything else that goes along with it. The one thing is just not having them [practicing] on the grass.”
Pederson has said Hurts will begin the coming season as the No. 3 quarterback, behind Carson Wentz and Nate Sudfeld. And the plan is to use him as often as possible in a variety of gadget plays.
He has a long way to go, but for a 21-year-old kid making the transition from college to the NFL, it sounds like he’s at least off to a good start.
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