In what has become a bit of a narrative for the Philadelphia Eagles early in the offseason, NFL Network’s Mike Garofolo was the latest to state that the organization would like its usually stoic quarterback, Jalen Hurts, to become a little more vocal, especially in times of turmoil.
“There’s a non-X and O element at play here,” Garofolo said when discussing the Eagles’ starting quarterback on Super Bowl Sunday. “And that is that Hurts, he’s usually of few words and stoic. [The Eagles] want him to be more front-facing and more of a vocal leader.”
Some of that sentiment is tied to the Eagles potentially losing franchise cornerstones and leaders like Jason Kelce and Fletcher Cox, who are considering retirement.
“Jason Kelce might be retiring, Fletcher Cox as well,” Garofolo noted.
The positive is that Hurts has been open to constructive criticism and has not shut down in the wake of adversity.
When the QB participated in the Pro Bowl games down in Orlando earlier this month, Hurts dropped his well-guarded facade in a more laid-back environment as the Eagles look to him to fill part of the leadership vacuum that has been the domain of the so-called “core four” of Kelce, Cox, Lane Johnson, and Brandon Graham.
“... He’s open to these conversations, he’s already been having these conversations,” Garofolo said of Hurts. “[The Eagles] wanted him and the people around him did as well, to show his personality when he was down at the Pro Bowl.
“They feel like that was a step forward.”
If that’s the case, it is a step forward from where Hurts was at the Eagles’ cleanout day after a playoff loss at Tampa finished an ugly 1-6 slide to end the season for Philadelphia.
“There are things that were once said that made me great, to make me special, a special leader, an impacting and uplifting guy that maybe one may find as an issue now,” Hurts said when asked if he needed to be more assertive in a public fashion.
Hurts also hit on the real reason behind all of this – when the Eagles are winning, his understated personality wasn’t an issue. When they started losing many started grasping at straws while trying to stop the bleeding.
“I’ve said it the whole time it’s all based off of results,” Hurts said. “You all know the results that I want, but it’s about that process and navigating that process to get those things. Winning takes a team, it takes everyone. … No man is an island, you must draw strength from others, and that’s so true.”
Hurts might play ball with the ancillary white noise, a tacit admission that some teammates did believe he had become more insulated, and the realization that his $255 million contract demands some willingness to play the public relations game.
Clapping and showing more energy when the red light is on isn’t going to halt any of the detractors, however, unless the late-season losses and poor play were anomalies and not the new status quo.
Succeed on the field and everything else falls into a place where stoic, aloof, and even-keeled will be magically spun as positives once again.
“As the leader and quarterback of this team and franchise, this is just an opportunity to grow,” Hurts said of his late-season struggles. “This is the opportunity to take that next step toward what we desire and what we want to be. It’s going to take everybody and that’s something I believe in. I believe in everyone here. I believe in everyone here.
“It’s time to get back to work. A little soon, but it’s time to get back to work. I ain’t running from anything.”