If there is one thing Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts and New England Patriots rookie quarterback Mac Jones knows, it is the importance of waiting your turn.
Both quarterbacks had to patiently wait their turn to shine in the spotlight at Alabama. When they did, both were successful. Now that both quarterbacks have joined the pros, Hurts think Jones’ experience as a backup will help him in the NFL.
Jalen Hurts began as a starter at Alabama
When Hurts arrived in Tuscaloosa, few knew who he was until the Alabama spring game. He outshined 5-star quarterback Blake Barnett and the other quarterbacks ahead of him on the depth chart.
At the time, Barnett served as the starter. When he couldn’t move the football against USC in the 2016 season opener, Hurts replaced him.
Hurts would start that whole season until the 2018 National Championship game against Georgia. When he struggled against the Bulldogs, Tua Tagovailoa replaced him — and the rest is history.
Jones sat behind both Tagovailoa and Hurts, which Hurts believes will help him in the NFL
Hurts said this to Rick Karle of WVTM 13 Birmingham about Jones: “Mac Jones, he had the opportunity — I think the best way you can learn is to watch.”
“Watch, take note of those around you, kind of learn the lay of the land, if you will, and learn that way. Mac had a very unique college career where he had to stay patient, and it worked out for him. And I’m happy it did. He was able to watch me, (and) Tua go through that, get him some burn here and there, and ultimately when it was his time, he took off with it. And now he has a great opportunity for his future.”
Jalen Hurts’ comeback
When Tagovailoa was hurt in the 2018 SEC Championship Game, Hurts came to the rescue and led the Crimson Tide to a come-from-behind victory.
Jones, the third-string quarterback at the time, watched and learned from Tagovailoa and Hurts, which served him well as the starter for Alabama last year. He was able to learn and take notes from the two. Although Jones wasn’t officially named the starter until last season, he, like Hurts, came in for Tagovailoa when he was injured and out for the season against Mississippi State.
That game ended Tua’s college career and it was the beginning of Jones’ career. Although Jones and Alabama had lost the last game of the regular season to Auburn, you could already see a glimpse of what was to come the next year.
Mac Jones’ turn with Alabama
Many college football experts believed the starting quarterback for Alabama was not going to be the Jones but 5-star QB Bryce Young out of California. But Bama head coach Nick Saban went with Jones as his starter.
Some fans questioned Saban’s choice, but once Jones started lighting up the SEC, they saw why he was named the starter.
Jones would end the season with 4,500 yards passing, 41 touchdowns, an SEC Championship, and a national championship. He also was an All-American, finished third in the Heisman, and was a first-team All-SEC quarterback.
Not bad for a player many believed would never start for the Crimson Tide, much less be a first-round draft choice for the New England Patriots.
If Jones has to wait behind Cam Newton, Patriots fans should recognize it will probably pay off in the end.