Jalen Hurts has prepared ever since he was selected in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft for the proverbial call that he would get to start.
Well, the call came on Monday evening when Head Coach Doug Pederson notified Hurts that the rookie would make his first career start this Sunday when the 10-2 New Orleans Saints come to Lincoln Financial Field.
"Always been ready to answer the phone when it rings," Hurts said on Wednesday when he addressed the media for the first time since the announcement. "It's ringing, so I'm ready to answer."
While his role is different this week, Hurts insists that everything else remains the same.
"My role has changed this week, but the preparation, the hard work throughout the week has not," he said. "I have the same intent, the same focus. Everything's the same moving forward as far as me trying to be the best player I can be and help this team."
Hurts came off the bench in the third quarter of Sunday's game against the Packers and completed 5 of 12 pass attempts for 109 yards with a touchdown and an interception. The touchdown, a 32-yard pass to wide receiver Greg Ward on a fourth-and-18, was the first scoring throw of his career. He also gained 29 yards on the ground.
Prior to Sunday, Hurts completed all three of his pass attempts, but did most of his damage on the ground with 56 rushing yards. This Sunday, Hurts' starting debut will come against a Saints team that is No. 1 in yards allowed (288.8 per game) and No. 4 in points allowed (20.1 per game).
"They have a lot of great players. Fast, physical football team. And they play really hard. We're playing against a great defense this week and we got to do what we can on this side to control the controllables – control our effort, control our execution, control our mindset, and go into it the right way and go out there and play a hard-fought game," Hurts said.
The first quarterback to guide two different programs to the College Football Playoffs, Hurts is no stranger to the spotlight.
"I just want to go in there and execute. Just move around with good urgency. I think the most important thing right now is how we practice and what we do throughout the week. How we practice is a direct reflection of how we'll play on Sunday. We had a great practice today," he said.
"I just want to take advantage of the opportunity and do what I can do to help this team."
First Starts by Eagles Rookie Quarterbacks Since 1999
Below is a list of how rookie quarterbacks have fared in their first start for the Eagles since Donovan McNabb's rookie campaign of 1999.
• Donovan McNabb (1999) – 8/21 for 60 yards, 49 rushing yards in 35-28 win over Washington
• Nick Foles (2012) – 21/46 for 204 yards, 2 INT in a 31-6 loss to Washington
• Carson Wentz (2016) – 22/37 for 278 yards, 2 TDs in a 29-10 win over Cleveland