In all of my years covering college football and the NFL, I may not have come across a quarterback who is beloved universally as is Jalen Hurts. The two college powers he played for in Alabama and Oklahoma rave about him. Upon arriving in Philadelphia, he rendered Carson Wentz useless and quickly became the starting quarterback of the Eagles. Of course, we have entered a rough patch...
According to Mike Garafolo of The NFL Network, the Philadelphia Eagles have asked for the usually stoic Hurts to be more of a vocal leader this year. His new offensive coordinator Kellen Moore thinks this is a great idea, as vocal team leaders like center Jason Kelce and defensive lineman Fletcher Cox aren't going to be playing for The Birds forever. Hurts is paid like a star, so he must now lead like one.
There were many things that went wrong inside the Eagles' locker room a season ago. It could have been the wrong mix of players. It could have been coaching staff attrition getting the best of them in the end. It could have been a lot of things. However, I fully understand why Moore wants to see Hurts grow as a leader. He saw how it served Dak Prescott, and how it undermined Justin Herbert just a bit.
The NFC East is wide open, but that all could change if Washington drafts the right quarterback.
It may not be something Hurts does naturally, but it is what the job he is being paid for requires of him.
NFL rumors: New Eagles OC wants Jalen Hurts to become a vocal leader
This is the difficult part most people don't even realize. Only a few guys on the planet can do what Hurts does as well as he can do it. He is both mature and physically talented enough to lead a legion of full-grown men out of the tunnel 17 Sundays a year. Are the better quarterbacks than Hurts to be had in the NFL? Sure, but even the best ones on the planet still have some flaws to be nit-picked a bit.
Hurts is the son of a coach and a team player all the way. However, his subdued personality may have played a part in him never winning back his starting job at Alabama once Tua Tagovailoa took over for him at halftime in the 2017 National Championship Game vs. Georgia. Hurts stuck around the program for another season, only to transfer to Oklahoma ahead of his final college season in 2019.
It is not an exact science, but a more vocal leader at the quarterback position goes a long way in the locker room. This is about having a consistent message coming out from the most important position on the team. If Hurts is quite and handles his business accordingly, that is fine during winning time. However, when it hits the fan, players turn to their quarterback for answers, guidance and leadership.
This is a gradual process, one that comes with maturity. But now is the time for Hurts to level up a bit.