Jalen Hurts wanted to open his 2022 season with a message, and so that's what he did when he met the media for the first time this offseason on Wednesday at the NovaCare Complex. Hurts, in his third season with the Eagles and his second as the team's starting quarterback, minced no words.
"I think this is an exciting time to be an Eagle coming off the things we were able to accomplish and overcome last year," he said. "I think there's a lot to look forward to. One thing I've been telling the guys is the foundation has been set, the standard has been set, and the only direction is to climb. And the only way we can do that is doing it together.
"The message has been, simply, the only direction is to rise."
Hurts says he is fully recovered from offseason ankle surgery and is working on his game to rise with the rest of his teammates. New wide receiver A.J. Brown, a longtime friend of Hurts' since their college days, is very much welcomed.
Hurts has already thrown passes on the side to Brown as they work to establish early on-field chemistry.
"I think he's always been an excellent player since I've known him in college," Hurts said. "Always had the ability to make plays with the ball in his hands, use his body, box out defenders, break tackles, so he's a great addition to a great receivers room that we have now and I'm excited."
After challenging himself to utilize "a holistic approach of taking the next step as a quarterback," Hurts spent much of his offseason in California working with a series of coaches working on functioning in the offense, taking full command of the scheme, fine-tuning his workouts and his diet, and how much he is watching film. It was, Hurts said, "beneficial for me this offseason." He said he had a unique approach to his daily routine and that including "challenging myself to do things I had never done."
One thing never in question was Hurts' standing with the team, no matter how many times reporters asked the question. Hurts didn't flinch when asked what it meant that the Eagles "double-downed" on Hurts these last few months when asked about the quarterback position. For the first time since his high school days when his father was the head coach, Hurts has the same playcaller for a second consecutive season. That's huge.
The focus is on 2022 and Hurts clearly understands how the Eagles feel about him.
"It's understood. It's my opportunity. It's my team. That's pretty much what it is. It's my team, so I'm ready to go," he said.
The goal for this passing offense as Head Coach Nick Sirianni has said is to improve on last season's ranking of 25th in the NFL, and Hurts thinks that having everyone together for a second straight campaign is going to help. He is striving to be more consistent, week in and week out.
"Everything improves when you do it more and you're more efficient," he said. "I think that will settle itself and definitely be more efficient. And I think a word for me has been 'consistency,' and that has been my whole approach coming into Year 3 for me. Being consistent. And I look back on last year knowing that there were games where I played at a very high level and then there were games where it wasn't the same. I think consistency in this league is everything. Ultimately, the work is being put in now, but that's what we're chasing and that's what I'm chasing.
"I think consistency can make it become elite."