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Jalen Hurts’ success was no surprise to the Eagles: “We knew it was coming”

Jalen Hurts has been involved in several big-time moments during his life, from his days at Channelview High School in Texas to his collegiate career at the Universities of Alabama and Oklahoma, to his first three seasons in the NFL, and although many media personalities around the United States didn’t expect Hurts to be where he is now, his Philadelphia Eagle teammates believed the opposite.

Hurts’ monumental growth in 2022 has been the major talking point surrounding Nick Sirianni’s squad this season, as he earned NFL MVP and Offensive Player of the Year honors. The 2020 second-round draft pick has shined brightest for the Eagles, who rolled through the regular season and brushed aside both the New York Giants and San Francisco 49ers in the playoffs.

Now as Hurts sits only three days away from leading the Eagles into a Super Bowl showdown with the Kansas City Chiefs, his teammates have continued to praise his continued development to improve as a quarterback, teammate, and person.

“We saw that way before camp, OTAs [this year],” Eagles cornerback Darius Slay said about Hurts. “You saw him keep growing and being a leader. We’ve been ready for it. We knew it was coming. He played at a high level, practiced at a high level. He’s a guy that asks a lot of questions. He’s been doing this for a long time. He overcame all adversity. You could see all of the leadership going on. He’s a good dude, a solid dude, an even better dude off the field. I’m happy for him. I’m thankful.”

Hurts set new career-highs this season in several categories including passing yards, completion percentage, touchdowns, and QB rating, while also cutting his interceptions from nine in 2021 to six in 2022. The 24-year-old has excelled with his talented group of skill position players, as A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith both registered 1,000+ yard seasons, Miles Sanders eclipsed 1,000+ rushing yards for the first time in his career, and several others delivered key moments when needed.

Hurts’ ball protection paired with his smart decisions to run the ball have made him one of the league’s most dynamic quarterbacks heading into the future. The Chiefs defense will certainly have their work cut out for them this weekend as Steve Spagnuolo tries his best to limit the ever-dangerous Hurts from taking over Sunday’s game in Phoenix.

“A defense is going to try to minimize what he can because Jalen is such a dynamic talent,” Eagles right tackle Lane Johnson said. “That’s the chess match that goes back and forth in every game. Every team tries to take him out of the equation, but we’ve seen this year that it’s hard to do that.”

Hurts knows he has the ability to deliver a great performance for the Eagles on Sunday, but also knows the importance of doing what’s best for the team. With the Chiefs likely to have a spy on Hurts for most of the game, the third-year pro will need to do his best to keep Kansas City off balanced and keep the Eagles moving at a confident rate.

The showdown between Patrick Mahomes and Jalen Hurts will be a great one to watch and similar to Mahomes, Hurts is confident in his teammates to carry the load with him offensively.

“I feel very confident in those around me who work so hard and who play so well and who allow me to operate at a high level,” Hurts said. “It’s not about me. It’s about the team. Football is the ultimate team game, and you can’t have one player with the belief that he can succeed without the others around him. We all know that is the most important thing about this game. It is about the team.”

You can follow Larry Henry on Twitter (@lhenry019) and e-mail him at [email protected].

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