PHILADELPHIA — Jalen Hurts unflappable personality can lull you to sleep and that's when the rookie quarterback strikes.
On the field, that may result in 106 rushing yards against the No. 1 ranked defense in the NFL or perhaps a perfect back-shoulder fade to Alshon Jeffery with the blitz bearing down.
Off the field, it may be a stealthy turn of phrase or two in the middle of a Crash Davis-like press conference designed to keep everyone on a resting pulse.
On Wednesday, Hurts' second week as the Eagles' starter resulted in a couple notable quotes, the first and obvious one and the second, not so much.
Hurts called senior offensive consultant Marty Mornhinweg "a wise old owl" for his offensive acumen and then he sent people searching when the former Alabama and Oklahoma star finished one answer with "Just trying to be a coffee bean.”
“The thing with me, I always try to never get too high, never get too low out there,” said Hurts. “Try to do my job to my best abilities. Doing that, impacting people, bringing people up around me. Always take somebody with you and create that camaraderie, that community. And all those things, all those characteristics, they’re contagious."
And then came the head-scratcher: "Just trying to be a coffee bean.”
In Zoom world you can't really follow up and ask Hurts to explain, but luckily the Houston-area native has used the phrase in the past when talking with OU Insider back in August of 2019 just as he was about to embark on his brilliant season with the Sooners, where he was the runner-up to Joe Burrow for the Heisman and ultimately ended up as the 53rd overall pick in the NFL draft by the Eagles back in April.
“You know, I think you’ve got to try to be the coffee bean,” Hurts said. “Whenever I say coffee bean, you’ve got the carrot and the egg. You put an egg in boiling water, it hardens up. It doesn’t affect anything. The carrot softens up. The coffee bean spreads and gets stronger and impacts the people around you, you know? I’m trying to be that coffee bean.”
At first glance, Hurts did exactly that, elevating the talent around him and giving Doug Pederson "the spark" he wanted for his offense in a 24-21 upset over the powerful Saints.
Already running back Miles Sanders gushed about Hurts' natural leadership ability."He’s so confident and he’s a natural leader," said Sanders. "We just needed that and he gave us that spark to start from last week.
"... I'm excited. I'm excited."
Earlier Wednesday, SI.com's EaglesMaven asked one of the Eagles' long-time team leaders, defensive end Brandon Graham, how a 22-year-old kid in the middle of global pandemic that has vastly curtailed human interaction has seized control of an NFL team.
“I think the work you put in you start to become a natural leader because of what you do every day,” Graham explained when talking about Hurts. “You’re not a pretender. You’re not faking it. People see the work you put in and now they see you produce on the field and then people start to respect you even more.
"You get that respect and then eventually you become a leader without even knowing it because people want to be where you are. Sometimes some people run from it and some people don’t. In his case, he’s at the No. 1 position on the team and you want your quarterback to be the leader of the team. And his confidence definitely will start to grow into it as he continues to keep working.”
The coffee bean is spreading.
John McMullen contributes Eagles coverage for SI.com's EagleMaven and is the NFL Insider for JAKIB Media. You can listen to John every Tuesday and Thursday on "The Middle" with Eytan Shander, Harry Mayes, and Barrett Brooks on SportsMap Radio and PhillyVoice.com. He’s also the host of Extending the Play on AM1490 in South Jersey. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen
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