PHILADELPHIA. — Jalen Hurts keeps the playbook confidential. As for his go-to music playlist, the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback is an open book.
He likes slow jams. The smooth stylings of R&B. You know, cool music. Calm music.
Al Green and Anita Baker. Tony! Toni! Toné! and New Edition.
Old soul kind of tunes.
“I just keep a running list of songs that I can go to 24/7, no matter the scenario,” Hurts wrote this week as he shared his favorite songs with a music streaming service.
How’s this for a scenario: The Philadelphia Eagles would not mind if Hurts stuck in some AirPods, chilled out and listened to 4 hours, 14 minutes of all 50 songs in his set. Anything to stay off his feet.
For one week, at least, Hurts gets to take a knee on football.
The Eagles QB has played with a bruised left knee for at least three games — when exactly he was injured, Hurts won’t say — and that has left him hobbled, often diminishing his run game.
It almost doesn’t matter. Yes, the Eagles want Hurts as close to full strength as he can be when their season resumes Nov. 20 in a Super Bowl rematch against the Kansas City Chiefs. Generally loathe to reveal much about his health, Hurts did acknowledge the off week couldn’t have come at a better time. He’s banged up and could use a breather.
But the reality is, bad knee or not, Hurts has been wonderful in the pocket, while leading the Eagles to the best record in the NFL at 8-1. Over the last three games, all wins, Hurts has thrown eight touchdowns against just one interception. He has completed at least 74% of his passes in each of those starts.
“It’s just him getting more and more comfortable with the plays that he’s running and that he likes, and knowing where to go with the football,” Eagles coach Nick Sirianni said.
Thanks in large part to the “tush push,” Hurts has still rushed for seven touchdowns this season.
Hurts has played through pain and has yet to even make the injury report. Perhaps that could change next week. The potential culprit? A hand cramp after Hurts signed jerseys, photos, helmets and more this week at a private event.
Hey, at least he got to sit.
Hurts’ numbers over the last two seasons are staggering for any quarterback, much less the 53rd overall pick of the 2020 draft. Hurts has the Eagles at 8-1 for the second straight season. The Eagles are 25-2 in the last 27 regular-season games started by him.
Hurts has justified the Eagles’ faith in him and has them at 5-1 odds to win a Super Bowl. In April, the Eagles rewarded Hurts with a $255 million, five-year contract extension that briefly was the richest in NFL history.
Up next, the 25-year-old Hurts and the Eagles revisit an agonizing part of franchise history when they head to Kansas City, Missouri. Hurts became the only QB to lose the Super Bowl while leading his team to at least 35 points. He threw for 304 yards and one TD with 70 yards rushing and three scores. But he also lost a fumble that was returned for a TD in a 38-35 loss to Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs.
Hurts could only watch from the sideline as Mahomes drove the Chiefs to the go-ahead field goal with 8 seconds remaining.
Winning it all is all that matters for Hurts.
“I have this demeanor here. I have this hunger in my heart,” Hurts said. “So we’re sitting here 8-1. So that’s a very great feeling. Yet it’s about winning, but it’s about the standard, too. So we just want to continue to raise that standard and play to the standard. Play the type of ball we want to play.”
His standard includes staying mum on his injury. Hurts first wore a knee brace in the second half of an Oct. 22 win over Miami. He said he suffered the bruised knee ahead of the game. The Eagles — and fans — held their breath for a moment in Sunday’s win over Dallas when Hurts was sacked by Micah Parsons in the waning moments of the first half. He was shaken and stumbled to the sideline, but never missed a play after a timeout gave him a respite to pull himself together.
Hurts got a longer break this week.
“We’re going to give all the guys rest and he’ll be one of the guys that benefits from our rest,” Sirianni said. “It’s an important week for us to self-scout, and an important week for our players to take some time away from the game.”
There’s plenty of time to fire-up the hype machine. The Chiefs added a new fan since the Super Bowl. Might have heard of her: Taylor Swift. Donna Kelce will surely be at Arrowhead Stadium cheering on her sons — Swift’s buddy and Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce and his brother, Eagles center Jason Kelce. For the bandwagon fans who just know the Kelces from their extracurricular pursuits, that would be, of course, Jason Kelce, named this week one of People magazine’s sexiest men alive.
“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,» Jason Kelce wrote on social media.
These days, nothing is as alluring in Philly as an 8-1 record.