PHILADELPHIA – Shane Steichen was leaving the facility last week after a day of practice and meetings when he ran into Jalen Hurts.
“I don't even remember what time it was, maybe 8 o’clock at night,” said the Eagles’ offensive coordinator on Tuesday afternoon “He came up and he said, ‘What's up?’ I said, ‘Going to go home, get some rest?’ (He said) ‘I am going in the weight room and getting on the bike.’
“He doesn’t stop. He doesn’t stop. He’s relentless in everything he does. And it’s showing up. When you work like that, good things are going to happen.”
There’s a sense that Hurts has now made believers of everyone inside the team’s South Philly training complex and the team is reportedly willing to open contract negotiations for their quarterback with the belief that he can be the franchise signal-caller they want.
The CBA prevents a player from getting a new contract until after his third season, so any new deal would have to wait until the new year league begins in March.
It's almost a certainty now that Hurts will get that deal.
He has completed 67.3% of his throws in three games for 916 yards and four touchdowns with one interception. He has rushed 37 times for 167 yards and three touchdowns.
In the process, Hurts has become the first player in NFL history to have more than 900 yards passing and more than 150 yards rushing after the first three games of a season.
It’s not just that he has been that good to start the season, it’s the way he continues to progress from week to week, from the offseason through training camp until now.
“I don't think we've seen Jalen's ceiling,” said head coach Nick Sirianni on Monday. “I know we haven't seen Jalen’s ceiling; he just continues to get better. I think it's just the progression that Jalen Hurts makes as a player.
"Why is that? You guys know what I'm going to say, right? He's tough. He loves football. Those are major things that are going to help a guy reach their ceiling.
“I just think you've seen tremendous progression from him because he works at it and he loves it. He doesn't make the same mistake twice.”
Steichen’s example bears out the work Hurts puts in.
The OC had another anecdote to tell as well.
This one came after Friday’s meetings when most of the team had exited the facility.
Steichen said he walked past the weight room around 4 p.m., peaked in, and saw Hurts working.
“He doesn't leave the building,” said Steichen. “Like this guy is here all day every day. All he cares about is football. When all you care about is football, you're going to be successful. That's what he does. It's all he thinks about. He never takes days off. I mean, he's always working.”
Hurt has shown great trust in his receivers, and why not?
This is the second year with DeVonta Smith, who despite not having a catch in the season opener, has 15 catches for 249 yards. He had eight receptions for 169 yards – both career highs - in the win vs. Washington.
As for Brown, he and Hurts have been great friends for a long time. Their chemistry had been forged before he arrived in a draft night trade. He had 155 yards in the opener, tying a career-high.
For the season, Brown has 20 catches for 309 yards and is in the top 10 in the league in production on third down.
Hurts has gotten the other two receivers involved as well, hitting Quez Watkins for a 53-yard score against the Vikings and locating Zach Pascal for important receptions on third down. Then there are his tight ends – Dallas Goedert, Jack Stoll, and Grant Calcaterra. All have at least one catch.
“With the guys we have on the outside, with DeVonta, A.J., Quez and Dallas and Zach], giving those guys opportunities to go get it,” said Steichen. “You saw it against Washington, those balls he threw, he gave those guys a chance. A couple of those he put on the money.
“That big one on the third series down the sidelines to DeVonta was huge, great throw, unbelievable catch. Then he hit A.J. on a go-ball again. Right before halftime, the two-minute, the post he threw to DeVonta was huge.
“That's a lot of trust with those guys. That's the repetition and that’s the process we go through. Just getting that work in practice, having the trust in those guys are going to make plays, they're doing it right now.”
Ed Kracz is the publisher of SI.com’s Fan Nation Eagles Today and co-host of the Eagles Unfiltered Podcast. Check out the latest Eagles news at www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles or www.eaglesmaven.com and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.