Why Eagles WR Greg Ward believes Jalen Hurts is being disrespected

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Why Ward believes Hurts is being disrespected originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

Greg Ward has seen enough of Jalen Hurts to know what he’s all about. And it bothers him that people outside the NovaCare Complex don't see what he sees.

“I already know what he’s going to do,” Ward said. “We all know in the locker room, the staff, we all know what he’s going to do. I don’t think everybody else is giving him the respect that he needs.”

Ward, the Eagles’ oldest wide receiver at 25 and most experienced with 119 career catches, said he tries not to pay too much attention to social media but has gotten the sense over the past year that fans in general haven’t given Hurts the proper amount of respect.

Hurts goes into the 2021 season as the de facto starter, but it’s fair to say there are a lot of non-believers out there.

They point to his 52 percent completion percentage, 1-3 record in four starts, nine fumbles in 334 snaps and four interceptions.

But Ward, who had eight first-down catches from Hurts down the stretch last year, chooses to look at Hurts differently.

He sees the leadership. He sees the determination. He sees the work ethic.

And he sees a quarterback that over the last five weeks of last season had the second-most 30-yard completions in the league (despite the 22nd-most pass attempts). He sees a quarterback who piled up the sixth-most passing yards ever by a rookie QB in his first three starts and the second-most combined passing and rushing yards. He sees a 22-year-old who added energy and life to a moribund team.

“He’s very explosive in every part of the game,” Ward said. “Throwing or running, it really doesn’t matter, he’s definitely going to make a play. He’s just a big play waiting to happen.”

Hurts’ 13.8 yards per completion was highest by an NFL rookie in 20 years and highest in the NFL last year among all QBs. Over the last five weeks of last season he ranked 16th in the NFL in rushing, and he played only half of two of those games. He also joined Michael Vick and Josh Allen as only the third player in NFL history with 1,000 passing yards and 300 rushing yards over the last five weeks of a season.

With a full offseason of learning, some anticipated improved play-calling, a balanced attack, an upgraded receiving corps and a healthy offensive line, what sort of Jalen Hurts will we see in 2021?

“Jalen is going to open everybody’s eyes,” Ward said. “He’s just ready to prove himself and that’s all you need.”

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