PHILADELPHIA – There’s Jalen Hurts and the other two guys.
It’s easy to overlook the other guys, known as the backup quarterbacks, but not in this situation, not with a developmental quarterback in Hurts.
Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni is on record as saying that “a lot of teams in this league would be ecstatic to have the three players that we have.”
Think about it.
The backups, both of whom spoke on Tuesday for the first time since training camp began, have the kind of experience that Hurts doesn’t have.
Here’s the breakdown:
Joe Flacco – 175 starts, 98 wins, and a Super Bowl ring in a career that began in 2008.
Nick Mullens – 15 starts and five wins in a career that started in 2018.
Hurts – Four starts and one win in a career that began in the midst of a global pandemic.
Make no mistake, though, Hurts is the starter, but those backups could get called into duty at any point. It only that, but the experience they offer can only serve to benefit Hurts, especially a seasoned veteran like Flacco.
“He has a ton of knowledge, the way he looks at the game he helps me so much this whole time we’ve been together,” said Hurts. “Kind of helps it slow down for me, slows it down for me in a way. He’s very valuable.”
Here’s what the backups think of Hurts.
First, Flacco: “I think he’s doing an awesome job of retaining everything that we’ve gone over in the meetings, then coming out here and making it happen on the field.”
Mullens: “I’m a huge football guy, so I enjoy watching football. I’ve obviously watched his career at Alabama and Oklahoma. I’m getting to see his approach day-to-day. It’s been awesome, really cool. He’s been a great guy, great teammate. You can tell that he’s a leader the way that people gravitate to him.”
Right now, Flacco is running with the twos, Mullens the threes.
It feels like the Eagles could keep all three on the 53-man roster or try to get Mullens to the practice squad. It’s a risk. If another team were to claim him, the Eagles would be down to just a starter and one backup.
Mullens had elbow surgery on New Year’s Eve and wasn’t signed until June 14, after OTAs were over.
“I always believed I would be signed eventually,” said Mullens, 26. “It was just a matter of when. The Eagles showed interest throughout the whole process, and I was very thankful for that. I took a visit in June and just had a great connection with the coaches and management, got a deal, and just excited for another opportunity.”
Mullens said his elbow his 100 percent.
“I feel really good out there,” he said. “It’s just fun playing ball out there. Especially in January, you get the surgery on New Year’s Eve. That sucks. And then you go through January, the long winter months of therapy, you don’t know what the future holds. You just stay true to the process. And then you’re here in camp, just trying to take care of your opportunities.”
Flacco, of course, is the one who has played like, 1,000 times as many snaps as the other two.
“A pretty common term when we’re talking about Joe is, ‘Man, he’s played a lot of football.’ And it shows,” said Sirianni.
Someone like the 36-year-old Flacco could be just what Hurts needs to continue his evolution into an NFL quarterback
“I think the biggest thing is in the meeting rooms,” said Flacco. “Sometimes, some of the questions that you ask are kind of pointless in the sense that you know the answer, but you want to start a discussion about what the expectations are for a certain play. ‘Hey, I know we can go here versus this, but are you really looking for that? Or is the play really right here?’
“It’s really simple little discussions that kind of help the room, in general, get on the same page with the coaches. It doesn’t leave any room for one of us to be surprised once we come on the field.”
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Ed Kracz is the publisher of SI.com’s Eagle Maven and co-host of the Eagles Unfiltered Podcast. Check out the latest Eagles news at www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.