Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts was one of the first players to appear on the practice field Tuesday afternoon.
Upon stepping onto the grass, Hurts — accompanied by no one — held a notebook and slowly walked down the field, in between the hashes. He carefully studied what presumably was the play sheet for the team’s final walk-through ahead of Thursday night’s home game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
With the reigning Super Bowl champs soon arriving to Philadelphia, Hurts seems determined to put the Eagles in position to pull off another upset. The Eagles halted their three-game losing streak Sunday with a come-from-behind victory against Carolina.
“They’re a very aggressive defense,” Hurts said of the Bucs. “They play fast and fly to the ball. Great front seven, great defensive backs. This is another challenge for the offense that we’re trying to attack.
“We have to execute our assignments, do our jobs, and prepare to attack a really good football team and defense in the Buccaneers.”
The Buccaneers will be missing injured linebacker Lavonte David and safety Antoine Winfield, while linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul is questionable.
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This week is the first time in his career as a starter that Hurts has navigated a quick turnaround between games.
“In college we always played on Saturdays, and last year we played the Giants [on a Thursday night],” said Hurts, referring to a Week 7 game when he was still a backup to Carson Wentz. “Having a little experience with it, also having Joe Flacco and Gardner Minshew and all the coaches we have here, they’ve been helpful in regards to preparing for Thursday.
“I’ll be ready to go.”
During Sunday’s game against Carolina, Hurts completed 22 of 37 passes for 198 yards with one interception. He also rushed nine times for 30 yards and two touchdowns. The passing game struggled for three quarters, but Hurts utilized his legs in the second half to propel the team to victory. His game-winning rushing touchdown marked his first career game-winning drive and fourth-quarter comeback.
The Eagles’ defense also had a strong outing — backed by three sacks, eight quarterback hits, and three interceptions (two by Darius Slay and one by Steven Nelson — which was a refreshing sight after the Eagles allowed 83 combined points in the previous two weeks.
Which version of the defense might show up against Tampa Bay and quarterback Tom Brady?
“It’s going to be a big-time challenge because they got the best ever throwing it,” defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon said Tuesday. “I’ve got a very high opinion of what they do down there. We’re going to have to use everything that we have in our tool bucket to defend them.”
Said Hurts: “Regardless of the opposition and what they do, it comes down to doing our job. I believe that, and I’ll continue to say that. It’s about us executing to the highest level and playing ball the way we know we can play ball.”
The second-year Hurts is 0-1 in prime-time contests, but the Eagles have won six straight Thursday-night games.
Asked about the chance to avenge the Eagles’ forgettable Monday-night showing in Week 3 at Dallas, Hurts said: “This is the next opportunity, and I’m grateful for it. We just want to go out there and win regardless if it’s a million people watching or one person watching or nobody watching. We just want to win the game.”