Philadelphia Eagles News

Jalen-isms: Appreciating and understanding the Jalen Hurts Way

Eagles Insider Dave Spadaro

Along with touchdown passes and big runs and great decisions and a lot of victories on the football field, six more seasons with quarterback Jalen Hurts includes six more seasons of Jalen-isms. They seemingly come out of nowhere – deep thought? Impromptu remarks? – and they just work ... so ... perfectly.

Hurts has that kind of magic to say just the right thing at the right time. Here are some of the best he's had in the three seasons Hurts has been an Eagle, with an interpretation of what Hurts likely means with each Jalen-ism.

1. "I had a purpose before everybody had an opinion. It's not about anybody else."

An interpretation: Long before the crowd offered any opinion of Hurts and his play on the football field, he was a young man with goals and, with that, a self-critical component that would far outweigh anyone's opinion of his performance or the way he goes about his business. Hurts is not impacted at all by outside noise. He's been his own most intense critic long before the critics had opinions, and the critical analysis he offers, and the ones from those closest to him (coaches, teammates, etc.) are the ones that matter.

2. "Keep the main thing, the main thing."

An interpretation: A lot of what Hurts says goes back to the premise that the clearest path to success is to focus on the task at hand. In this case, the main thing. And the main thing is mastering the immediate job, whatever that may be. Generally, the main thing is the goal of winning the football game at the end of the week and keep your focus on that and eliminate the distractions and you will be prepared to play your best football when the game begins.

3. "10 percent of life is what happens to you, 90 percent is how you respond."

An interpretation: How does a person respond to success? How about adversity? Hurts has had a lot of both in his football career and what do you see from him? He keeps his demeanor exactly the same. Oh, he'll celebrate after a victory – you see it when it comes off the field, for instance – but for the most part he is even-keeled and cooled-off by the time he meets the media. For Hurts, the response after an action is exactly the same: Attack the next step with vigor, confidence, and humility. Which leads us to ...

4. "Be humble in everything that you do."

An interpretation: This is easy, because this is how Hurts carries himself on a daily basis. He's as confident a guy as you will find anywhere, of course, and his leadership skills are above reproach. With all of that is a genuine humility that endears Hurts to everyone he meets. He wants to make a difference for the people who get to know him and to be able to do that, he understands how fortunate and blessed he is.

5. "Rent is due every day."

An interpretation: Nothing is given. Everything is earned. Hurts has that daily mindset when he comes to work, whether he is outworking everyone in the film room, putting in the extra hours in the weight room, or taking it out to the practice field. You gotta earn success. Every day.

6. "We have a standard for ourselves, and it only rises."

An interpretation: The standard for Hurts, and for the Philadelphia Eagles, is to be great every day. And every part of the day. This is a team led by a quarterback with championship goals and nothing will stand in the way. So, set the standard, have a day where you improve (1 percent, yes), and then raise the standard the next day. And on it goes.

7. "You either win or you learn."

An interpretation: The only goal is to win, but every week isn't going to produce a victory. When there are defeats, the correct approach is to learn from the setback and then flush that failure and turn it into success the following week. Losing should be a starting point to figure out what went wrong, make the corrections, and find victory the next time out.

8. "I didn't walk through all that fire just to smell the smoke."

An interpretation: Hurts said that as he accepted his Maxwell Football Club Award recently shortly after the loss to Kansas City in Super Bowl LVII and the message is clear – Hurts didn't have all the success he had in 2022 to reach the Super Bowl only to lose in the championship game. He intends to be back, to walk through all the fire of a long and very difficult NFL season, and he won't be satisfied until the Eagles win the Super Bowl. That is the only goal that matters for Hurts.

9. "Just trying to be a coffee bean."

An interpretation: After saying this in 2021, Hurts offered his explanation. "Whenever I say coffee bean, you've got the carrot and the egg. You put an egg in boiling water, it hardens up. It doesn't affect anything. The carrot softens up. The coffee bean spreads and gets stronger and impacts the people around you. I'm trying to be that coffee bean."

He is, then, the coffee bean that impacts everyone and everything around him for the better. Through good times and not-so-good times, Hurts is the glue who keeps everyone together and the leader who makes everyone around him a better player and teammate.

10. "Growing every day, attacking every day, trying to get better every day."

An interpretation: His focus is very narrow and in the moment. Ask Hurts, for example, on Wednesday how he's going to feel just before kickoff the following Sunday and understand that it is something that he hasn't yet considered fully because he is so tuned in to that particular Wednesday. He arrives at the NovaCare Complex early in the morning and gets right to work to have a great day of work and to be a better player than he was the day before. Then he wants to stack those days and see where he is at the end of the week.

Hurts spoke prior to the 2022 season, saying he felt "consistency" was the key for him being one of the game's best quarterbacks. He was consistent in 2022 and he was an elite quarterback. Consistency happens by being consistent every day and his "every day" approach is what helped him become a Pro Bowl player, an All-Pro selection, and a finalist for NFL MVP last season.

Hurts will have higher goals for 2023 and, with that, a new collection of Jalen-isms that will have a very similar overall tone: Work hard, stay in the moment, put the team first, and strive to get better each and every day with a singular goal in mind. That's the Jalen Hurts way.

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