Nick Sirianni’s introductory address might not have sold the local media on his potential in Philadelphia, but the work he’s done since then has his quarterback invested.
Jalen Hurts has seen plenty in his short time in the NFL, going from a second-round pick in a surprise destination to the successor of a former franchise quarterback. He’s also on head coach No. 2 in just his second season.
Hurts said Wednesday he likes what he’s seen from Sirianni, whose emphasis on core values reminds him of his former college coach, Nick Saban.
“I value everything that coach has brought here,” Hurts said of Sirianni. “I remember back in my days at Alabama, Coach Saban hearing him talk about discipline, commitment, effort, toughness and pride. Having these core values that he’s trying to instill in the team and, in the end, it all worked out for the team. And you see coach Nick Sirianni coming in preaching connection, preaching accountability and competition, fundamentals and football IQ, preaching all these things.
“I know in all of those different avenues, all of those different values and principles that we’re trying to instill here in Philly, no one is above that and everybody got to go to work. So, for me, rent is due every day, it’s always been that way for me, always been a ‘get better’ mentality every day, grow every day, be a better leader every day, be a better quarterback every day and when that rent’s due, I don’t plan on missing no payments. It’s work.”
Hurts’ background makes him the ideal candidate to deal with such attention and adversity. After all, Hurts was the quarterback who was benched in the national title game at Alabama, then forced to sit behind Tua Tagovailoa for the majority of his remaining years with the Crimson Tide before moving to a new university, team and coaching staff at Oklahoma for his final year of eligibility.
Through it all, Hurts has remained steady, proven by Philadelphia’s belief in him when it selected him in the second round of the 2020 draft. Now, he has the keys to the franchise — at least for now.
Hurts doesn’t exactly have the strongest competitor behind him on Philadelphia’s depth chart, but Joe Flacco at least proved in 2020 he can produce quality snaps at the position when needed. More than anything, Flacco is likely most valuable as a sage veteran who can help guide Hurts through the treachery that could be the Eagles’ 2021 season, even if Flacco didn’t outright say that when he joined the Eagles.
If it does end up being a competition — ceremonially or otherwise — Hurts won’t take offense or let such a battle hurt his pride. He understands the value in both Flacco’s experience and competition for a team.
“I say Joe has been great, Joe has been great,” Hurts said. “The knowledge he brings to the quarterback room, it’s very beneficial for me. He has a great mind with those things and, obviously, he has a lot of great experience so I look forward to working with him and having him there. As far as everything else, I know I’m not above anything with a competition or football IQ, all the values we have I’m not above none of that. So, that’s kind of where that is.”
The Eagles have proven they’re ready to take the first steps into the post-Carson Wentz era, and Hurts appears to be their man. Judging by what he said Wednesday, he’s ready to accept the challenge.
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