Jalen Hurts excited to work with Kellen Moore, seeks OC continuity

ByTim McManus ESPN logo
Wednesday, April 17, 2024

PHILADELPHIA -- Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts spoke for the first time since offensive coordinator Brian Johnson, a longtime family friend, was fired and replaced by Kellen Moore.

Hurts said he was excited about working with Moore and learning a new system but was clear in his desire for continuity -- something that has eluded him for much of his football career.

"I think as a player, I definitely yearn for the sustainability and the consistency there. ... As a quarterback, I yearn for those things in a playcaller and a quarterback coach because you kind of see how consistency in those areas can breed excellence," Hurts said.

"I find myself in a situation very similar to college in terms of having a constantly revolving door in terms of coordinators and coaches. But I've always managed to have success in it, so that's always been a good thing, because you've been able to learn from people and apply it."

Hurts, who spent three years at Alabama before transferring to Oklahoma, never had consecutive seasons with the same playcaller at the college level. That continued in the NFL until the 2021 and 2022 seasons, when he was paired with now-Indianapolis Colts head coach Shane Steichen. Hurts flourished, putting together an MVP-caliber campaign in 2022 and leading the Eagles to an appearance in Super Bowl LVII.

Johnson was promoted from quarterbacks coach to offensive coordinator when Steichen was hired in Indianapolis. Philadelphia finished seventh in points per game (25.5) last season, but there was a disconnect in the visions of coach Nick Sirianni, Hurts and Johnson, which affected the offense's ability to land on an identity, a source said.

The offense struggled down the stretch as the Eagles lost six of seven following a 10-1 start. Johnson was fired and replaced by Moore, the former Dallas Cowboys and Los Angeles Chargers offensive coordinator, in February.

"I think the best of him. He's been a huge part of my development in my time here as an Eagle," Hurts said of Johnson, who was hired as assistant head coach and offensive pass game coordinator following multiple head-coaching interviews this offseason. "I think he's still more than capable of being a big-time head coach in this league. I think he's on trajectory to do that still. I just didn't think it was the right time for him, and that's that."

Moore is expected to be "in charge" of the offense, per Sirianni's phrasing, with Sirianni taking on a more macro-level role after being the chief offensive designer for his first three seasons in Philadelphia.

While the new system is still coming together, Hurts expressed excitement about working with Moore.

"I'm just all ears. I'm a sponge. I think there's some beauty in that," he said. "I'm just in sponge mode. I'm letting them do what it is they're going to do, and then we kind of adjust from there. I think the thing that we all have to understand is the importance of a foundation in something.

"So I want the coaches to declare their foundation in terms of what they want something to be, how they want it to look, and then obviously you're going to adjust from there."

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