Jalen Hurts is gearing up for his first full season as the starting quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles. The new Eagles head coach, Nick Sirianni, watched him closely as he went through the NFL draft process and the Scouting Combine. The two are now working together to get the Eagles franchise back on track. Sirianni revealed his first impression of the young quarterback.
Jalen Hurts impressed Eagles head coach at the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine
Jalen Hurts was one of the biggest names in college football heading into the 2020 NFL Draft. After splitting times at Alabama and Oklahoma, he established himself as one of the most electrifying dual-threat quarterbacks in the nation. While he was met with some doubters, Hurts turned heads of certain scouts at the NFL Scouting Combine.
Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll introduced Hurts to Nick Sirianni at the combine. Daboll coached the signal-caller at Alabama when he served as the offensive coordinator in 2017.
“My first impression of him was just he’s a guy that really loves football,” Sirianni told NFL Network‘s Good Morning Football. Hurts was not advertised as a complete quarterback prospect, like Trevor Lawrence or Trey Lance. However, the Eagles head coach noticed that the Houston, Texas native was ready to put in the necessary work to get better.
Sirianni also preached about Hurts’ character. He said the second-year quarterback is a high-character player. “Those are the guys you can’t get on the bus without, and you can’t get on the plane without,” he said.
After speaking with Hurts, Sirianni and Daboll discussed the Oklahoma product’s ability. “That guy’s a stud,” said the Bills OC. The Eagles head coach believed him.
Jalen Hurts is projected to be the Week 1 starter for the Eagles
The Eagles drafted Jalen Hurts with the No. 53 overall pick in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft. The second-year quarterback drastically improved his draft stock after transferring to Oklahoma from Alabama.
Like other quarterbacks before him, Hurts thrived in Lincoln Riley‘s offense. He threw for 3,851 yards, 32 touchdowns, and just eight interceptions in his lone season with the Sooners. He also racked up 1,298 yards and 20 touchdowns on the ground.
Hurts doesn’t have prototypical quarterback size, but his ability to make things happen with his legs just couldn’t be ignored. The Eagles are hoping they’ve found their quarterback of the future.
The 23-year-old has a small sample size and starter in the NFL. Hurts started four games for the Eagles in 2020. He threw for 1,061 yards and six touchdowns in those games. He chipped in 354 yards and three touchdowns on the ground.
In his first season as the starter, Hurts will be taking the field with several unproven weapons on offense. Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith is the most likely candidate to lead the team in targets in 2021. He suffered an early injury in training camp but appears to be healed and ready for Week 1. He dominated at Alabama, but it will be interesting to see how it translates to the NFL.
Jalen Reagor didn’t live up to his 2020 first-round tag and will need to step up in year two. Quez Watkins has emerged as a playmaker in training camp and preseason. Still, he hasn’t proven it against high-level competition just yet. Hurts will likely rely heavily on tight ends Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert while the young receivers continue to develop.
Nick Sirianni is getting the Eagles ready for their Week 1 matchup
The Philadelphia Eagles will travel to Atlanta to face off with the Falcons in Week 1 of the 2021 NFL regular season. The team is looking to improve on its lackluster 4-11-1 record from 2020.
Nick Sirianni hopes he can begin to turn things around in his first season at the helm. The former Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator has been preaching a consistent message to his team throughout training camp and the preseason.
It’s connecting, it’s competing, it’s accountability, it’s football I.Q., and it’s fundamentals. We preach that every single day, and that’s been the message from OTAs, to training camp, to preseason games over and over again.Nick Sirianni
Sirianni strongly believes in those core values and wants the Eagles to buy in. The first-year head coach drew a comparison to boxing when looking ahead to the start of the regular season.
“Now we’re in this 17-round heavyweight championship fight, and the first round is in Atlanta,” he said of his message to the team.
The bout won’t be easy for the Eagles, however. They’re in a transition stage, with a new starting quarterback and new coaching staff. It’s unclear how the offense will look with all of its unproven pieces. The defense has some talented players and added Ryan Kerrigan and Anthony Harris in the offseason. Still, this unit will likely struggle to limit big plays.
The Jalen Hurts and Nick Sirianni era has begun in Philadelphia. Eagles fans will be expecting results sooner rather than later.
All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference