Everything is positive for Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts. He's coming off an MVP-worthy regular season, accounting for 35 total touchdowns. He won 14 of the 15 games he started. And after the Eagles held a full-pads, shake-off-the-rust kind of practice on Thursday at the NovaCare Complex, Hurts was the picture of confidence as he met the media at his locker. Yes, he's continuing to make great progress rehabbing the right shoulder injury he suffered on December 18 in Chicago.
And yes, he will be out there – "the man will be there" – when the Eagles open their NFC playoffs next weekend in the Divisional Round at Lincoln Financial Field, which he knows is going to be "electric."
"I'm feeling better," he said. "It's a day-by-day thing. Just taking it day by day. I think the whole world knows that I'm dealing with something, that I've been dealing with something. I think the whole point of that game (on Sunday against the Giants) was coming back and getting done what we needed to get done and obviously getting some time to rest, so here it is."
The timing works for Hurts and for the Eagles. The team had a full-pads practice on Thursday – no hitting, in case you wondered – but it was a chance to jolt the players' bodies just a little bit. It's the "team" time for practice as the Eagles work on some of their fundamentals, rather than planning for a game. They have another round of practice on Friday and then have the weekend off.
Every bit of that time is essential for Hurts, who has a second career playoff game to start next weekend.
"I think it's a lot of time for us to grow as a team. I think when challenges and different things are thrown in front of you, ultimately, you have to find a way to overcome them," Hurts said. "We have a lot we want to accomplish as a team, so this is good for us."
Hurts is keeping his focus on what's directly in front of him, so there is no talk yet about a next opponent or anything beyond then. The mood was light and upbeat on Thursday as the Eagles had another day of work, internal corrections, great football conversations, and more "connecting."
Bearing down and preparing for a game comes next week. That's the beauty of this bye week.
"We have to be unwavering and diligent in this whole entire process," Hurts said. "We have to be the same, approach it the same. We've been a team that has focused on getting better every day this whole entire time, so nothing changes now."
This is what Hurts loves to do – put in the time, grind, and go out and play winning football. Even though Head Coach Nick Sirianni gave the players the day off after beating the Giants, Hurts reported to the NovaCare Complex and watched film – "I want to give it everything I have," he said. "Keep the main thing the main thing."
No question, this is cherished time and Hurts and the Eagles are making the most of it with practices, meetings, conditioning work. They'll know their opponent in a matter of days. The Eagles are 14-3 for a reason. They're a talented, focused team that has developed great chemistry throughout the season and that has enabled them to overcome some challenges along the way. They have a winning formula.
Hurts says there is no reason to change that formula now.
"You just kind of want to be consistent," Hurts said, "do what you've done this whole entire time. I want to go out there and be the quarterback that's prepared the way I've been from Week Zero to Week 18, play the same way, have that same intensity, have the same type of leadership, create that same type of energy for the team.
"I think, in the end, I have that mindset where my pain gives me strength. Failure motivates me. That's the mentality that's passed towards this team."
Consistency is the key, has been all season for Hurts and the Eagles. Nothing is changing now. It's the playoffs and the Eagles have time on their side this week. Hurts, still working his way through the injury, is making the right kind of progress and he's definitely in the right mind space.
It's a great place to be as the Eagles continue their work through Friday and then sit back and watch Super Wild Card Weekend, knowing they will be on center stage soon enough, led by a quarterback who has done all the right things every step of the way this season.