Jalen Hurts was asked Tuesday about the advice fellow quarterback Carson Wentz has bestowed upon him about being rookie in the National Football League.
Under normal circumstances, Wentz would be a great person to seek for advice on the subject. He was once the No. 2 overall pick, which instantly made him the face of a franchise starved for a championship – a position he has carried quite well ever since. If anyone knows what it is like to deal with the emotional roller coaster that is a player's rookie season in the NFL, it would be him.
Unfortunately, this offseason has been anything but normal as COVID-19 has forced the NFL – and the entire world – to adapt to a mostly virtual life. Wentz has no experience with this type offseason, and if all things go well, no one outside of this rookie class ever will.
"It's been kind of a weird deal," Hurts told reporters Tuesday.
It's weird because by now, Hurts and the rest of the rookie class would be fully acclimated to being in Philadelphia and being around their teammates and coaches in person. Instead, that process began last week when the rookies reported for their first Training Camp.
Before then, almost everything was done virtually. That means meetings, practice, bonding time done virtually. To make up for the lack of in-person instruction, Jalen Reagor, the Eagles' first-round pick, told reporters Tuesday that he and fellow rookie wideouts John Hightower and Quez Watkins were in constant communication through text and FaceTime in an attempt to learn as much as possible from afar.
"I feel like I've known those guys for a minute," Reagor said about Hightower and Watkins. "We're here to help each other, and I want to see those guys succeed."
Reagor recognizes that making up for the lost time will be difficult but said Tuesday that he looks forward to the challenge.
"I look at it as a challenge or something that's going to challenge my teammates, the coaching staff, and this team as a whole," he said.
Before arriving in Philadelphia, the rookies had to find ways to get the field time they were missing out on because of the pandemic. Reagor worked with his uncle and wide receiver guru David "D-Rob" Robinson, who has worked with the likes of Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders, Sterling Shepard, and Reagor's draft classmates, Jerry Jeudy and Denzel Mims.
Reagor believes the on-field training along with the advice from his father and former Eagles defensive lineman, Montae Reagor, helped him be as ready as possible for camp.
"He prepared me since I was young, so I feel like he's been a great mentor, a great father," he said.
Hurts got in his share of on-field work as well, including some quality time with wide receiver DeSean Jackson.
But now the real work begins. It is the daily grind that Reagor, Hurts, and the rest of the rookies will experience for the first time. It is the NFL season. The lack of a normal offseason has made the rookies' schedule pretty regimented. They wake up and head to the NovaCare Complex in the morning, work out, eat lunch, sit through meetings, get on the field for a walkthrough, feast on dinner, and go home for the night. Because of the lost time, there isn't room for much else.
That's just fine for Hurts, who, like all of the Eagles, is ready to get after it.
"That's our main focus right is to improve every day and take steps and be ready to help your team in any way we can," he said.
Other notes from Tuesday's media availability:
• Reagor said that he's learning both the X-receiver (think Alshon Jeffery, who was placed on the Active/PUP list Tuesday, who lines up at the line of scrimmage) and the Z-receiver (DeSean Jackson/off the line) positions. Reagor has studied every receiver's responsibility on each play to be prepared for any type of role.
"I pride myself on being adaptable to every situation, and I feel like if I know the whole playbook rather than just X, Y, Z, then it'll make it easy to move me around, so they're emphasizing just to learn and take in everything," Reagor said.
• Reagor did receive advice from Jackson, who told the first-round pick not to back down from the opportunity that's been presented to him.
"He just told me to you know go in with a mission ... with a chip on my shoulder and just know I can make a big contribution," Reagor said. "That's the reason why this organization drafted me. They believed in me, and he was like just, 'Don't wait in the back, just go ahead and step in now. You know, why wait? Just go ahead and take it a full head of steam.'"
• Reagor got the chance to work out with Wentz prior to Training Camp.
"It was great to finally meet Carson in person, rather than just texting or talking to him. And then we were just going over the playbook, going over the routes, the signals, and just trying to jell, you know, get closer," Reagor said.
• With Jeffery sidelined, Reagor isn't approaching the chance to contribute as a rookie any differently. "I'm just going to take advantage of every opportunity I get," he said.
• Hurts was asked several times Tuesday whether he'd have any type of role in the offense, including that as a non-quarterback. He never took the bait. "I'm just trying to improve every day. I'm trying to be the best quarterback I can be every day for this team," he said.
• When asked about his time working out prior to Training Camp with DeSean Jackson, Hurts was a little thrown off. Hurts trained with Deshaun Watson of the Houston Texans this offseason as well. As for Jackson, Hurts got to see the receiver's game-breaking speed up close and in person.
"He has a lot of speed," Hurts said. "I mean he's a veteran player. He's as fast as it gets, if not the fastest. Smooth route runner with soft hands. For me, going out there to Tampa, you know, him letting me come out there, it was great to be with him, learn (about) him as a man, as a person, talk to him, and build somewhat of a relationship."