The Atlanta Falcons open their season facing second-year quarterback Jalen Hurts and the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday.
Hurts started Philadelphia's final four games of the 2020 season and steered the team to a 1-3 record.
READ MORE: Is Kyle Pitts Ready for the Eagles?
Falcons head coach Arthur Smith is expecting to see a different Hurts than the rookie that played last year.
"He presents a lot of challenges. I see why they like him in Philly," said Smith. "He was well known coming out. He produced in big games. He played at two of the bigger programs in the country and had success at both of them."
Hurts' mobility presents a challenge for the Falcons defense. He rushed for 354 yards and three touchdowns on 63 carries last season.
"With Jalen, what he's been successful with and they’ll have a good plan," said Smith. "They've done a hell of a job, you can see the improvement, the progress, all the things that Nick's [Sirianni] been talking about. I know he didn't play a ton in the preseason, but you can feel it."
Smith didn't scout Hurts extensively when he was at Alabama and Oklahoma, but he certainly knew the strengths of the player.
"You peeped the quarterbacks in the draft, said Smith. "We weren't really anticipating taking one high that year. He's a winner."
READ MORE: Eagles vs. Falcons - How to Watch
The Eagles, like the Falcons, struggled in 2020, and they'll need the leadership and winning mentality from Hurts to improve on their 4-11-1 season from a year ago.
Smith is expecting to see the best of Hurts when the Falcons take on the Eagles in the season opener Sunday.
Falcons Playoff Hopes Bolstered By Week 12 Results
Five teams ahead of Atlanta in playoff race lost this past week
Falcons Must Re-Sign Cordarrelle Patterson; Can they Afford Him?
Cordarrelle Patterson will be a free agent after this season, and it's critical that the Atlanta Falcons re-sign him.
Falcons Make Late Stop Against Lawrence To Preserve Victory
Defense steps up to shut down Jacksonville on potential game-tying drive