Stopping Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts proved to be a tall task for NFL teams in 2022 and the Patriots will be the first team to try to pull it off in 2023.
New England hosts the defending NFC champs in Week One and their preparation for facing Hurts came up during head coach Bill Belichick's press conference on Wednesday. Belichick was asked if the team would be using practice squad quarterback/wide receiver Malik Cunningham to simulate what Hurts can do and his answer made it clear that any attempt to mimic the Eagles star would leave something to be desired.
"Yeah, I mean Malik’s got some good skills," Belichick said. "I think it would be a stretch to compare Malik Cunningham to Jalen Hurts now. I mean, we’re talking about a guy who was second in MVP voting last year, or whatever he was. Athletically, there’s some similarities, but you’re talking about arguably the best player in the league, or one of the top two or three best players in the league. Nobody has anybody that can be him, and if they do, that guy’s probably not playing on the scout team for that team anyway. I mean, it is what it is. We go through that every week. Every team’s got a few good players, and some great players, and it’s hard to replicate those players. If you have one, your guy’s probably not on the scout team doing that for that guy anyway. You do the best you can. We’ll have somebody to try to simulate the best we can what Hurts does, but we don’t have anybody like Hurts, and probably, neither does anybody else."
Belichick has a history of praising upcoming opponents and those reviews don't always line up with what others have seen on the field. That's not the case when it comes to Hurts and the Eagles quarterback will provide the Patriots defense with a tough test in their first action of the regular season.