Every step is a lesson for Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts. And what he learned in 2023 and how he applies it to the 2024 season, he says, is critical. It starts, Hurts said as the players cleaned out their lockers at the NovaCare Complex and headed into their respective offseasons, with a hard look at oneself.
"I think this year has taught me so much in terms of the many blessings and lessons that have come with it," Hurts said. "First thing that you do, you look yourself in the mirror and you look at what you could have been better at, how you could have led better, how you could have executed better, and those are all of the things that internally light a fire in me.
"You have challenges in front of you. You do everything in your power to self-reflect and control what you can and learn from it. That's my No. 1 desire, to learn from everything and be the best I can be moving forward for everyone in this locker room and in this building."
Hurts is the face of the franchise, the one who sets the example for those in the locker room, and he spent much of his time talking about how he can be better, what he can bring to the table to return this team to the standard it has set in his time here.
At the moment, the bitter reality of being out of the postseason is stinging.
"I think the toughest thing about all of this right now is that someone else is going to win the World Championship," Hurts said, "and there's a lot of motivation in that itself and there's going to be a lot of reflection in that internally so I can be the best that I can be to not only operate at a high level out on the field but also to lead the guys."
The general message was extremely uplifting and hopeful for the future: "Where we may see problems or issues, I see opportunity. There's a ton of opportunity in everything here."
There isn't much looking back on the 2023 season for Hurts other than to learn from a team that started 10-1 and then lost six of its last seven games, including the playoff loss at Tampa Bay. It's about moving forward, "having humility," and preparing to be better in 2024.
Everyone shares in the responsibility of what happened this season and everyone has a chance to come back better next year.
With Hurts leading the way.
"This is just an opportunity to grow. This is just an opportunity to take that next step into what we desire and what we want to be," he said. "It's going to take everyone, and that's something I believe in. I believe in everyone here. I believe in everyone here. It's just time to get back to work. A little soon, but it's time to get back to work."