Eagles’ Doug Pederson says Jalen Hurts’ steadiness has helped him in leadership role
Two weeks after Pederson named Jalen Hurts his starting quarterback, benching Carson Wentz, he said he’s noticing both guys get more comfortable.
It seems like everyone is settling in with the new arrangement at quarterback.
Two weeks after Eagles coach Doug Pederson named Jalen Hurts his starting quarterback, benching Carson Wentz, he said he’s noticing both guys get more comfortable.
During his Friday news conference, Pederson said Hurts was growing into his new leadership role thanks to his consistent demeanor.
“Jalen, he doesn’t get real high and he doesn’t get real low,” Pederson said. “He kind of flatlines just a little bit. That’s a good thing. His blood pressure stays pretty low for the most part. You can definitely see a level of comfort, being in that position last week, obviously taking the lead as a starter again this week ... You just see him a little bit more communicating with his guys on the field and having a little more of a rapport, I guess, with them and a comfort level with them, especially the offensive line guys.”
Several Eagles players, including running back Miles Sanders, have called Hurts a natural leader since he took over as the starter last Sunday against the New Orleans Saints.
Sanders added that Hurts has been in command of the huddle to a remarkable degree earlier in the week.
“Honestly, it’s impressive how poised he is in the huddle,” Sanders said. “We all got his back. There’s funny moments in the huddle where he’s either stuttering the play or whatever it is. That’s being a rookie quarterback in the NFL. But he’s very poised.”
Left tackle Jordan Mailata, who has experience blocking for Hurts since the beginning of the season when they were both still on the scout team, said Hurts hasn’t changed much, except that he’s been more vocal with the line.
“He’s always brought that flair and the confidence, it just exudes from him,” Mailata said. “He brings it every time he has a rep. ... He’s just making it clear to us in protection what he’s going to do and being more communicative so we understand the protection better and where he’s going to set up.”
Hurts spent three seasons at Alabama and one year at Oklahoma, and Pederson said his experience at high-profile programs might contribute to his inclination to assume a leadership role on a team with so many veterans.
“You just look at the history of Jalen and the big games and the teams he’s been on in college and how he’s been in that leadership role,” Pederson said. “I think that was kind of instilled in him at an early age with his family and his father, and just having that work ethic. Nothing really bothers him, nothing really shakes him up. He just steps in and commands the huddle.”
Pederson said Wentz is doing well in his new situation, also. The soon-to-be 28-year-old is working extensively on the scout team for the first time in his career. Pederson said he’s excited to see Wentz loosen up a little, considering at least part of his struggles this year seemed to be tied to trying to do too much and pressing.
“It’s exciting, actually, to watch him,” Pederson said. “You see him doing the things -- when it’s seven-on-seven, or team drills, whatever it might be -- just how he’s out there kind of running it, I want to say a little carefree when you’re on the service team or the scout team. He’s been doing a real good job, he’s really taken that and really working with some of the younger guys.”