Jalen Hurts hears the noise but he doesn’t listen to the static.
Yes, the Eagles quarterback knows he is the key to the team’s success. He knows Eagles fans, the media, everyone talks about him.
If you listen to hissing of summer sports-talk radio, the Eagles are the topic and Hurts often is the focus. It’s part of the package that comes with being the Eagles quarterback.
For now, heading into what fans believe will be a glorious, Cowboys-beating season, it’s wait and see with Hurts. The fanbase is oddly split on Hurts — half think he might be the answer and the other half isn’t sure.
- “I don’t hear it. I know there are a ton of different things that are said,” Hurts said. “I don’t hear ’em. I don’t listen, I don’t look for it.
- “I just come here, I come to work, I do my job. I strive to grow in doing my job every day. So, that’s nothing but an external factor. I do me.”
In a media-heavy town like Philly, with a fanbase obsessed over the professional football team, Hurts keeping a safe distance from the uproar is probably smart.
QUARTERBACKS ARE THE FOCUS
Hurts has enough on his plate as the possible engine who will drive the Eagles to the playoffs and potentially to a division championship. If his play regresses from last year, it is unlikely the Eagles will succeed at any high level.
Hurts was inconsistent last season while leading the team to a 9-8 record. Through the preseason, teammates and coaches were quick to mention how hard-working Hurts is, how that work-ethic is paying off and what a strong leader he is.
When you look at any NFL team, the quarterback is essential. But especially on the Eagles, who have built a solid roster and are dependent on the 24-year-old to carry them.
Today, we’ll look at some of Hurts’ impressive intangibles — his leadership and personality — that could help carry the team should they fall on lean times.
The NFL is a long season, 17 games in 18 weeks, after a long training camp. Tough times are inevitable over such a long stretch.
Tough times are when leadership and character take over. All teams have issues, hit dry spots. Good and great teams overcome adversity, put it behind them, and carry on with the mission.
Hurts was named one of the Eagles’ seven captains by his teammates Thursday, his second year with that title.
- “It means everything,” Hurts said. “I think just obviously trying to do things the right way for the team.
- “Putting the team first and doing everything I can with all of my ability just to play at a high level for the team, lead in the right direction and set the right example for everybody.
- “I take it in high regards and a lot of value to being a captain and I just want those guys [teammates] to know that.
- “I’m going to give them everything I got, every game, every play, every ounce of studying, every ounce of preparation is for the benefit of the group. Every ounce of accountability, whatever. It’s all for the team. I appreciate the opportunity.”
Hurts appears to be a serious young man. He appears all-business on the practice field and at news conferences.
He was asked why. What makes him tick?
- “This is who I am. I am who I am,” Hurts said. “I don’t try to be anything other than that.
- “For me, I never ride waves. I never want to get too high, or get too low. I just want to set the right example for the people around me, do my job, know that I can be trusted because that’s all earned within the course of a football team.
- “That’s every individual going out there every day — my mindset at least — is every individual going out there to earn the respect of their teammates so we can click on high cylinders.”
Hurts was asked if he had role models.
“I don’t model it after anybody specifically,” Hurts said. “You have to be a sponge of all things.
“Being a leader you have to be able to see how different people operate. Say I can apply that to my style of leadership. I can apply that to this individual on my team, I can apply that to this coach … in terms of communicating with them.”
HURTS’ ROLE MODELS
“[Role models include] my dad, a great leader, great football coach. Coach [Nick] Saban, coach [Lincoln] Riley, Michael Locksley at Maryland.
“Being around coach [Nick] Sirianni, coach Doug [Pederson] … coach Brian Johnson [quarterbacks coach], the type of leader he is. Coach [Shane] Steichen [offensive coordinator].
“But I think as a leader you have to be able to assess your team, assess your group and then be open to trying new things with different individuals because ultimately we all have the same goals. That’s what makes it unique.”