LANDOVER, Maryland (AP) – Jalen Hurts has been in a whole different place as an NFL quarterback since early 2020 when he usurped Carson Wentz as a Philadelphia starter.

Wentz is geographically and professionally elsewhere after trading to Indianapolis and then to Washington.

Nor is he a fan of hanging out with the season together, Wentz’s departure, or how Hurts became the face of the Eagles that his old teammate used to be.

Still, when they first face Philadelphia, who wants to remain invincible on Sunday, and Commanders are still trying to get a foothold with their new QB, it will be a measure of how far they’ve come and another barometer for the Eagles Choosing Hurts over Wentz.

Hurts becomes the first player in league history to throw more than 300 yards, make more than 80% of passes and run two or more touchdowns in a game. The question was how high his ceiling could be as a professional.

“I knew he had it and again I’m not surprised at anything Jalen is doing on the pitch,” coach Nick Sirianni said Wednesday. “Maybe to the outside world, it’s like” Wow. ” I don’t think it will surprise any of us in the building because we live with it every day, we see it every day and we see it grow every day. “

Wentz continues to grow in his seventh season, especially considering he’s been in his third team for so many years and has had to deal with the transition from picking a second-place finish in 2016 to criticizing and pushing through the league. Saying he is not “putting too much attention” to his fight against Hurts and the Eagles with new faces and a new coaching staff, facing Philadelphia for the first time is a good time for the 29-year-old to take stock of how he got here.

“My career has been a storm,” Wentz said. “Lots of really good memories of my time there, I’m not going to lie: lots of great friends, lots of great relationships I have made. I’m going to have mixed emotions when it comes to these things, but nothing crazy pops up outside of my tornado time. “

Hurts knows all about whirlwinds after he moved from the SEC Alabama First Year title to the bench for Tua Tagovailoa and then moved to Oklahoma before being taken to the second draft round in 2020. Only Tagovailoa, now out of Miami, has more yards in two games among QB, but Hurts has learned not to soak up too much highs or lows – or not to doubt himself at all.

“I’ve never had a ceiling on myself, and it has always felt like that,” Hurts said. “Nothing changes. I just take it overnight. I try to climb every day, learn from my mistakes and just keep pushing forward. “

Hurting in 2022 is a double threat, quipped Washington coach Ron Rivera: “Every time he has the ball in his hands, it’s a run-pass option.” He emphasized discipline among the defenders as a way to stop him.

Luckily for the commanders, they have two players very well known from Hurts in former Alabama defenders Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne. Like Sirianni, they aren’t surprised by anything Hurts is doing.

“We had to practice against him,” said Payne. “We had to be shouted at by coach (Nick) Saban for holding him back all the time, so I knew he was capable of doing all these things.”

What exactly are the Eagles capable of with the Hurts leading the league’s highest att*ck? We will see.

FIRST EAST NFC GAME

Eagles-Commanders on Sunday marks the first NFC East game of the season with the Cowboys visiting the Giants on Monday night. More than winning it for Wentz, his Washington teammates understand the importance of not lagging behind in the division race.

“We aspire to win our division this year and I think it starts with this game,” said top receiver Terry McLaurin. “They’re a really good team and it will take four-quarters of the effort for us to try and have a chance.”

Aspirations or not, the Eagles are actually the big favorites to win NFC East on the FanDuel Sportsbook. Commanders have the best chance.

THE GREAT GAMEPLAY SHOW

Philadelphia leads the league with 28 “explosive strokes” – completing 16 yards or more and running 10 or more. Washington dropped six such games in a 36-27 defeat at the Detroit Lions and slipped to 1-1.

Eagles can pinpoint Hurts, Miles Sanders receding and AJ Brown and DeVont Smith receivers as reasons for this success. Commanders do not have one disadvantage that makes them lose yards in large chunks.

“It’s a combination,” Rivera said. “You want to make sure these things get corrected and addressed.”

SOUTH LINC?

If the latest story is any clue, there could be as many Philadelphia fans as Washington fans at FedEx Field. The Commanders season opener against Jacksonville had the lowest attendance of all games for the first two weeks, with Eagles fans flocking to them.

“We’ll find out,” Wentz said. “I’m sure the Eagles fans will travel well as always, but hopefully we still dominate the stands. Either way, it’s gonna be fun. “

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