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Eagles OT Lane Johnson most impressed by Jalen Hurts' intangibles: 'When he speaks, a lot of substance is in it'

Jalen Hurts' dual-threat dynamism has wreaked chaos on opponents and been a boon for teammates.

It's the maturity and leadership of the burgeoning 24-year-old Philadelphia Eagles superstar quarterback that's truly left an impression All-Pro right tackle Lane Johnson, however.

"I just think his maturity for his age is exceptional," Johnson told Jim Rome recently. "Man, he does a good job with getting our guys fired up. Really, when he speaks, a lot of substance is in it. Yeah, man, I just continue to see him climbing and climbing."

Hurts has ascended quick as a hiccup from a question mark as Eagles QB to an answer as one of the elite playmakers in the NFL.

During a 2022 campaign in which Hurts garnered his first Pro Bowl selection, he posted career bests with 3,701 passing yards and 22 passing touchdowns, complemented by 760 yards rushing and 13 rushing touchdowns -- the latter ranking second in the NFL last year among all positions and second all time for QBs.

Just three seasons into his career, Hurts has already left a statistical footprint. In 2022, he became the first player in the Super Bowl era to rank in the top five in passer rating (fourth; 101.5) and rushing TDs, according to NFL Research. He's likewise the first QB with double-digit rushing scores and a plus-100 rating. He joined Cam Newton and Josh Allen as the only quarterbacks with 3,000 passing yards and 700-plus rushing yards in consecutive seasons, setting up Hurts and Allen with the opportunity to become the first to do it in three straight years come this fall.

"He's a unique player," Johnson said. "I've had the ability to play with some mobile quarterbacks, from (Michael) Vick, you know Carson (Wentz) was able to do some things with his legs, and Jalen. Just having that guy that really gets into the minds of the defense. Gets into the linebacker's head, it affects coverages. It really changes a lot of the things for the game. And so, I feel like for offensive linemen, it does make it easier. It makes it really tough for defenders to be right."

No Philadelphia Eagle has ever won Associated Press NFL Most Valuable Player. Hurts came close in 2022, finishing as runner-up behind the Chiefs' Patrick Mahomes. If Hurts continues to play as he did a season ago, he'll doubtlessly be atop the MVP conversation again.

Still, it's Hurts' intangibles that have resonated with Johnson and his teammates.

Though they weren't college teammates, Johnson said Hurts' character can be seen all the way back in college when he was memorably benched at halftime in the 2017 National Championship Game against Georgia. Tua Tagovailoa came on in relief, rallying the Crimson Tide to victory and relegating Hurts to a backup. Hurts clearly picked himself up, transferring to Oklahoma and then eventually emerging from a backup role with the Eagles to become their bona fide franchise QB.

"I just feel like, how he's developed, I feel like how he handled his situation in college really spoke volumes," Johnson said. "He didn't talk a whole lot, but he spoke a lot with how he worked. With the team at practice, in the weight room."

Now, Johnson and Co. are hoping Hurts can lift them to a repeat as NFC champs and beyond.

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