Jalen Hurts' message to those who blasted him early in his career


Jalen Hurts rarely admits that all the criticism he heard early in his career bothered him. He talks all the time about blocking out the noise, not listening to the rat poison.

So it was interesting to hear him with a little bit of an edge talking about that stuff post-game Sunday.

After yet another masterpiece, the Eagles’ 24-year-old MVP candidate was asked about his ability to hit the deep ball, something he’s done as well as any quarterback in the NFL this year.

With TD passes of 41 yards to A.J. Brown and 33 yards to DeVonta Smith, Jalen Hurts has now thrown 11 TD passes of at least 25 yards  - tied with Derek Carr for most in the NFL and the most by any Eagles QB since Randall Cunningham threw 12 in 1987. 

“There was a point in time where people said I couldn’t throw the deep ball and I can only throw it five yards,” Hurts said. “I’ve always gone out there and played my game. We put a lot of work in. Smitty, A.J. , Quez, all of us. We put the work in in the offseason and we just want to come out here and play. Do what we prepared ourselves to do.”

You can’t blame Hurts for taking a little shot at his many critics. He’s improved dramatically in literally every area they said he wouldn’t improve in.

Not accurate enough? He’s second in the league at 68 percent.

He relies too much on his running? He’s now got 22 TD passes, 5th-most in the NFL.

He turns the ball over too much? His interception ratio is now one every 60.5 pass attempts. He passed Patrick Mahomes Sunday and now has the 4th-best interception ratio in NFL history among quarterbacks who’ve thrown at least 500 passes.

Can’t throw the deep ball? Don’t tell the Giants, Titans, Packers, Steelers or any of the other teams he’s bombed away against.

The critics – and there were a ton of them – have largely shut up as Hurts has piled up win after spectacular win. But the impression they made on Hurts remains. 

“I carry my scars with me everywhere I go,” he said. “I don’t forget.”

He did say he doesn’t waste his time obsessing over those who questioned him and doubted him. The way he gets back at them is by working his butt off and improving every day, every week, every year.

“Do I waste my energy worrying about the pain of someone else?” he said. “No. I truly invest my focus in me getting better as a player, getting better as a quarterback and doing the things that I need to do for my team.

“Everyone and their opinion doesn’t deposit at the bank. I just try to stay true to myself, stay true to my teammates and just chase that growth alongside them.”

Hurts once again was magnificent Sunday.

He completed 68 percent of his passes (21-for-31) for 217 yards, two more passing TDs and another rushing TD, and for the seventh time in his last eight games no interceptions. He added 77 rushing yards as the Eagles clobbered the Giants 48-21.

He's got 32 touchdowns this year – 22 passing, 10 rushing. With four games left, that’s tied for 4th-most in Eagles history and only three shy of Randall Cunningham’s record of 35 set in 1990.

In his last eight games, Hurts has completed 68 percent of his passes and thrown for 225 yards per game with 19 touchdowns, one interception and an NFL-best 116.3 passer rating. 

The only Eagles QB with a better eight-game stretch at any point in the season was Nick Foles, who had a 12.63 passer rating from Week 9 through Week 16 in his historic 2013 season. But he didn’t have 420 rushing yards, 5.9 yards per carry and four rushing TDs.

Simply put, Hurts has just put together the greatest eight-game quarterback stretch in Eagles history.

And that’s the single biggest reason the Eagles are 12-1 for the second time in franchise history and closing in on the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoff bracket.

Don’t ask Hurts about the Eagles’ record or chasing the No. 1 seed because that’s not how he’s wired.

He doesn’t even think about it.

“It doesn’t really matter to me, because I know the preparation that we put in,” he said. “I know the time that we invest into it. I know what we sacrifice to come out here and play on Sunday but not only that, the preparation throughout the week. Coming home late, getting up early, doing all those things. If you want something bad enough, you have to be able to sacrifice some things for it and work for it. 

“You go out there and you just want to execute at a high level, you want to collect the check, you want to let all the work show. I think that’s just what we’re doing as a football team. It all comes down to the process, nothing else. No outcome of anything else. It’s about the process. What are you doing throughout the week to prepare yourself for the game? We just need to stay true to that. Everything else will always handle itself.”

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