Jalen Hurts said Tuesday he’s working hard this offseason “to take that next step” as an NFL quarterback and plans to “take off” in 2021.
How exactly that manifests itself remains to be seen, but Hurts sounded confident and enthusiastic for his second NFL season in an interview with Chris Hassel, Danny Kanell and Pete Prisco on CBS Sports HQ.
Hurts, who started the last four games for the Eagles after Carson Wentz was benched, was asked who the Eagle’ starting quarterback will be in 2021 and he handled the question diplomatically:
“That’s a great question, that’s a great question,” he said with a laugh. “I’ll tell you that I’m putting the work in on my end, trying to build those relationships with my guys. I’m excited for this offseason, just excited to take that next step, so regardless of what’s what, I’m challenging myself to be the best quarterback I can be. Learn from my mistakes as a team, learn from my mistakes from last year personally (in) those four games that I got my opportunity to get my feet wet in and take off next year.”
Of course what happens with Wentz remains a mystery, but Hurts said his only concern is to improve as a football player and not get caught up in anything else.
“One thing that I do - and I always have done - is just try to keep the right mentality,” he said. “I control what I can. I’ve always been that way and I always will be that way. So the main thing I can control is my work ethic, my effort, where my head’s at, the relationships I have with those around me and just building. Building as a man, building as a player, always being rooted in my faith.”
Hurts had some eye-opening moments in his four starts. He became the first rookie in NFL history with two games of 300 passing yards and 50 rushing yards, and he also became only the second player (along with Cam Newton) with two 325-yard passing games in his first four career starts.
He led the Eagles to an upset win over the Saints, knocking them out of the No. 1 seed in the NFC. He also threw three interceptions and fumbled six times, losing two, in his four starts.
Hurts, who doesn’t turn 23 until August, was asked what he hopes to improve on in Year 2 and his answer was more general than specific, but he again emphasized his relationships in the building.
“Every part of my game,” he said. “Building those relationships with the coaches that we have and seeing it how they see it. I think that’s always pivotal. Ultimately, I think creating an identity. Having an identity who we want to be and how they want to go about it. That’s a big point for me and I think that’ll help me as well as a player. The team thing can definitely help individual success.”
Hurts also spoke about new Eagles quarterbacks coach Brian Johnson, who was coached in high school by Hurts’ dad.
“Coach Brian’s like family,” Hurts said. “I’ve known him since I was 4 years old. My dad actually coached him at Baytown (Texas) Lee High School, so I grew up watching him play. Got a lot of love for him. Crazy how it works.
“He actually recruited me to go play at Mississippi State when Dak (Prescott) left. Ended up going to Alabama. Thought about going to Florida (where Johnson was coaching) my second recruiting process when I was transferring, but I was going to Oklahoma, so now it’s kind all fell into the right place, so I’m excited to be working with him.”
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