Up To The Challenge: Jalen Hurts Is Ready For A New Era In Philly

Up To The Challenge: Jalen Hurts Is Ready For A New Era In Philly

Jalen Hurts has something to prove. After a rollercoaster rookie season in Philly, the quarterback is ready to step up to the plate as QB1 and lead his team to a successful season. As regular season kickoff approaches, he has one goal in mind: WIN.

We asked Jalen about Philly’s new leadership, what he’s most excited for this season, and what kind of mark he wants to leave on the game. Here’s what he had to say.

“Jalen Hurts is a rare breed.

I’m gonna prove that I am what I say I am. “

Q: You’ve got a new head coach and a new offensive system to adapt to this year. What has the transition to this new system been like, and what are you most excited about for this offense?

A: This year, I’m excited for an opportunity to do what I love – to go out there and play and compete. We truly have an opportunity to do something special, and taking advantage of that, working, holding each other accountable to do the things that we need to do so we can be successful, that’s what I’m most excited about.

We’re going into this new season with new everything – new coaches, new playbook, everything’s new – and we’re very excited about it. Excited about the energy Coach Sirianni is bringing in, the values and principles he’s instilling in the team. Piece by piece, we’re buying into it, coming together and being a true team, getting ready to go out there and have success.

Q: What are some personal goals you’ve set for yourself this upcoming season?

A: When it comes to individual goals and personal goals, I talk to God and we have our good conversations. But I keep it very simple: Win, Win, Win. That’s why we work. That’s where my joy comes from. It comes from winning.

There’s always the thrill of not being satisfied. Knowing that there’s always room for improvement, always more to work on. Enough is never enough.

 

Philadelphia Eagles Quarterback Jalen Hurts Eastbay Football By Color

“My football career will be defined by me. Did I use this game of football to open up doors elsewhere, create new roads and avenues to serve, uplift, change? Did I do that? That’s how I define it.”

 Q: Where do you think we will see the biggest leap in your game?

A: Ever since I came into college, my freshmen year, sophomore year, junior year, senior year, every year I just gradually got better. And it just clicked for me. You take natural steps as a player – with the work you put in and what you invest – you get that out in the end, when you put that work in and you do things the right way. I’m just ready for it. I’m excited for it.

Q: Most often with teams, the quarterback is the leader in the locker room. This will be your first season in Philly where there is a strong chance you’ll be the starting QB. How do you go about getting guys, some who have never been around you or played with you before, to buy into the team and buy into you as the leader of the team?

A: You have to compete at everything you do. We’re in this every single day and you get out what you put in. I pride myself on putting something in every day – mentally, emotionally, physically, whatever it is – it all matters. In a nutshell, that’s what my leadership is. Accountability is value #1 for me. Not being a hypocrite is value #2, because as a leader, people are going to look at you and say, “What are you doing? How is he handling this?” All eyes are on you, so how you respond to a situation is very crucial. I never get on a guy, I never hassle a guy for not doing something that I ain’t doing. As a leader, I try to be a man of character, I try to be a man that’s going to do my job. I hold myself to the highest standard possible. So anything anyone else says doesn’t mean much to me, because I have the highest standard.

Q: You’ve got one of your old Alabama teammates in DeVonta Smith lined up out wide again. How was it getting on the same page and getting back that chemistry that you two had in college?  

A: It’s really crazy, because you talk about having a family feel on a football team. I’ve been fortunate enough to build those relationships with people I haven’t been with as far back as college, from the offensive line to the defensive line to the secondary to other guys in the receiving core, and that’s exciting. But having DeVonta is crazy because we talked about it. We spoke it into existence. We said, we’ll play again. We’ll get a real shot at this. And here we have a great opportunity to do something special.

Jalen Hurts Philadelphia Eagles Quarterback Eastbay Football By Color

“Football is more than a game. I think about all the opportunities I’ve had due to this game. Picking up a ball when I was four years old, just having it in my hand, all the experiences coming up as a kid, the opportunities I’ve had to serve, to uplift, impact those around me, young and old. It’s more than a game. And in my eyes, that’s what it’s all about. If I left tomorrow, I could look back and say I’ve impacted people’s lives.”

 

Q: Philly crowds are notoriously tough to please. Would you say Alabama or Philly has a more raucous fanbase?

A: Alabama has a high pedigree of winning championships, and that standard has been instilled in me. Go to Oklahoma, and it’s the same thing. A tough fan base that expects greatness, that expects a standard of play at the highest level. They expect to be in the playoffs and compete for national titles. It’s the same thing here in Philadelphia, the grittiness and the “get muddy, get dirty” mentality to go get it done. I admire that.

Q: Including college and your time in the league, you’ve had quite an interesting career. Looking back, if you had the chance to give some advice to 14-year-old Jalen Hurts, what would it be?

A: Where I’m sitting now, I have this opportunity where I can be a light to so many children around the world. I think about what message I want to deliver to them. I truly believe if you believe in yourself, anything is attainable. Put your mind to it, and you can go get it. And that’s the message I send out to all kids, everywhere. Listen to the people around you, respect the people around you, your elders. Do what’s right because it’s right and go get it. You’ve gotta believe in yourself before you do anything.

Jalen Hurts Philadelphia Eagles QB Eastbay Football By Color

Want to know more about Jalen and how he made his dreams of going pro a reality? We’ve got you covered. Here are the Five Tools You Need To Make It In The League, straight from him and some other players you might recognize.

And make sure you stock up on all the gear you need for a successful season. Shop FTBL X CLR at eastbay.com and suit up in your team’s colors.

Improve Your 40-Yard Dash Time With Tips From Cleveland’s Anthony Schwartz

Improve Your 40-Yard Dash Time With Tips From Cleveland’s Anthony Schwartz

Anthony Schwartz is FAST. Not only did he run a 4.29 40 at the 2021 Combine, but the former track star also holds the world under-18 best in the 100 meters at 10.15 seconds. Even without a single pro game under his belt (yet), it’s safe to say Schwartz is one of the fastest players in the league.

While he’s currently prepping for his rookie season with Cleveland, the 2021 Draft Pick took a minute to chat with us about training for the Combine, the importance of the 40-yard dash, and the best ways to increase your explosiveness and cut down your times.

Q: Were there any differences when you were practicing getting off the line as quickly as possible in track vs. for the 40 yard dash? 

A: For the 40, you have to be a little more explosive because you don’t have those hundred meters to make up. The 40 is more about getting out and digging back and digging out.

Q: What is something vitally important to running a good 40 time that the casual observer might not think of? 

A: I would say it would have to be arms, because your legs can only move as fast as your arms are pumping. So you have to keep your arms going and keep them pumping in order to keep your legs moving fast. They also help you in the start, too. Explosive arms help you get off to an explosive start. 

Q: What is another test at the Combine that could boost a receiver’s stock? 

A: I would say the 5-10-5 shuttle drill because it shows your short-range agility. It also helps you follow directions, because you have to touch the line and if you don’t, it shows you aren’t good at following directions. It’s more mental than physical, but it’s still very physical and can help a receiver up their stock. 

Q: Do you think that the 40-yard dash is still a useful test to measure someone’s speed on the football field or do you think it’s a little outdated?

A: I think for skill positions it’s still helpful. Really the most important part is the ten-yard split, but it shows that you’re able to maintain that speed, and having them run it again shows that they’re able to do it consistently. But I think lineman should only run 10 or 15 yards because if they’re running more than 10 or 15 yards in a game-time situation, then their job is done. 

Q: How much focus is there on running a good 40 time versus prepping and focusing on the other Combine drills? 

A: There’s more focus on the 40 because that’s kind of the make or break for some people. Some people wanna run a fast 40 because they need to, others just have to maintain their 40, so the 40 is really the most important thing. The other drills just kinda fall in because they’re not really looking to that as much as they’re looking at the 40. 

Q: Do you ever think we will see someone run a sub 4-second 40? 

A: I think it could be possible, but I don’t think it would be by a football player. I think it would have to be a track runner or something. 

Q: What are some of the best workouts you do to increase your acceleration? 

A: I like doing sled pulls. You know, tying a sled around your waist and running with it. It helps make your starts more powerful and it also helps with endurance and being able to keep your speed up. 

Q: Were there any other workouts you were doing to prep for the 40? 

A: I was really focused on my start because I had the end of the race down. I wanted to get my start better and have it be more explosive. 

Q: What are some common exercises that athletes do to improve their speed that don’t actually help that much? 

A: I would say some stuff in the weight room that people do doesn’t work at all. The weight room will get you more powerful but it’s not going to get you faster. You have to be out on the field running. You have to be out on the track running. And it’s something that comes with time. People think it’s a short-term thing, but you’re never going to be out on the track one weekend and be that much faster. It’s a grind, something you have to buy into. 

Now that you have the tools to become the fasest player on the field, make sure you stock up on all the gear you need for a successful season. Shop FTBL X CLR at eastbay.com and suit up in your team’s colors.

Want more advice from the pros? We’ve got you covered. Here are the Five Tools You Need To Make It In The League, straight from some of the top players.

From The Pros: The Five Tools You Need To Make It To The League

From The Pros: The Five Tools You Need To Make It To The League

Do you have big dreams of making it to the league one day? To some, that might sound like a longshot, but every pro football player started out right where you are now – playing the game they love and dreaming of turning it into something more. So we asked some of the game’s best what it takes to turn those dreams into reality. From the pros themselves, here are the five tools you need to make it to the league.

1. Accountability

If you’re going to set big goals for yourself, you have to be ready to make sacrifices and put in the work. Coaches, trainers, teammates, and parents can give you the tools and support to play your best, but the fire you need to overcome obstacles and make it to the top can only come from within.

“My biggest goal for this season is to push myself against competition and get better every day,” said 2021 Minnesota draft pick Kellen Mond. “I will always have a super high standard for myself and I want to be able to set the bar high in everything that I do. The best advice that I would give to another kid with dreams of making it to the league would be to be your biggest self-critic. Do not allow others to have a higher standard for you than yourself.”
 
“Coaches, people who are working with me and helping me succeed and accomplish my goals, they matter,” said Philly QB Jalen Hurts. “Their voices matter. But as a leader, I try to be a man who’s going to do my job. I hold myself to the highest standard possible. So anything anyone else says, it doesn’t mean much to me.”

2. Work Ethic

Being accountable to yourself first means that every new workout, practice, and scrimmage is a chance to run tighter routes, make cleaner catches, or hold coverage better than the athlete you were yesterday. In a game of inches, most of the important growth happens when no one’s watching. It’s incremental improvement over time that’s going to make all the difference on game day, whether you’re lining up at a JV scrimmage or a Division I State Championship.

 

“Don’t let anyone outwork you,” said Los Angeles safety Derwin James. “You can’t control how much natural talent you were born with, but you can control how hard you work. Be early to practice. Stay late. Make sure you’re getting extra work in in the weight room or watching film. That’s the only way to make it.”
“You see my success on Sunday,” said Green Bay lineman David Bakhtiari, “but the work that goes in is Monday through Saturday. It’s in the offseason where I really sharpen my iron, put myself in the best situation so when I do come back and play, I can ask my body to do what’s necessary, to go through all the obstacles of a long, rigorous season.”
“You get out what you put in,” said Jalen. “I pride myself on putting something in every day – mentally, emotionally, physically – whatever it is, it all matters. You have to compete at everything you do.”
“It really comes down to just working hard, being a good teammate, and focusing on improving every day,” said Tampa Bay wide receiver Chris Godwin. “If you’re able to focus on that, then I think you’ll continue to improve and you’ll see your game take new strides and you’ll be a better player overall.”

3. Teamwork

It takes more than just a roster of talented players to build a championship team. You need chemistry, and that means building trust with your teammates and making sure you’re in sync on game day.

 

“You’re only as strong as your weakest link,” said David. “The offensive line is one of the few positions where all five of us need to be working together to have success. You can’t have individual success. I would say offensive line is the team position within the ‘ultimate team sport.’”
“The biggest lesson I learned from Tom Brady was just how simple you have to make the game,” explained Chris. “So many coaches are used to sticking to their formulas and philosophies, but really it just comes down to percentages. You’re trying to put yourself in the best position to be successful by adjusting plays at the line, being on the same page as your quarterback, and just making sure you’re putting your team in the best position to be successful.”

 

4. Resilience

In such a physical sport, setbacks are bound to happen. Suffering an injury can feel devastating, but the key to getting back in the game is to focus on healing and rebuilding your physical strength. After a season-ending meniscus tear in 2020, Derwin James had to face watching his team from the sidelines, but he refused to let adversity ger the best of him.

“It’s been tough for sure,” said Derwin. “Every time you watch a game and you’re not on the field, you keep thinking about all the plays you could make to help your team out. You have to be mentally tough to keep doing the rehab day in and day out, because it can get grueling for sure. Thankfully my teammates are always there supporting me, because a lot of them know what it’s like. I also lean on my family pretty heavily – they’ve always got my back encouraging me, telling me that I’ll come back stronger.”

 

If you make it to the top, it won’t just be physical injury that can derail you. The business of pro football can be overwhelming, and mistakes or losses on the national stage can be tough to recover from.

 

“As a team, you have to forget quickly in this business,” said David. “It can be very ‘what have you done for me lately,’ and that can leave a sour taste in your mouth. You should use it as motivation, but you shouldn’t dwell on it, because dwelling on something isn’t going to get the job done. Hard work, dedication, preparation, facing adversity, and making the necessary adjustments to get over that adversity is what you need to do in this league.”

 

5. Belief

Playing college ball or making it to the pros takes more than talent. It takes dedication, drive, and – maybe most importantly – belief.

“If you believe in yourself, anything is attainable,” said Jalen. “Put your mind to it, and you can go get it. That’s the message I send out to all kids, everywhere. Do what’s right because it’s right and go get it. You’ve gotta believe in yourself before you do anything.”

 

And when that belief pays off? Well, there’s nothing like it.

 

“Hearing my name called on draft night was an unbelievable feeling,” said Kellen. “One of the best feelings ever. You only have one opportunity to get your name called and it was something that I have worked for my entire life. Knowing all the work that it took to get to that point makes that moment extremely special.”
“Playing for my hometown team has been awesome,” said Chicago tight end Cole Kmet. “Growing up I loved watching some of those guys – Brian Urlacher and Charles Timmons – how they played, how they went about their business, it’s something I try to emulate. So, my advice to anyone trying to make it to this level is continue to work hard and enjoy playing the game you love.”

 

 

Now that you’ve got the tools, it’s time to stock up on the gear you need to make it to the top. Kick off your season with the best football apparel, cleats, accessories, and equipment – all in your team’s colors – when you shop Football By Color at eastbay.com.

Diamond In The Rough: Chris Godwin is Turning Into One of the Most Devastating Receivers in Football

Diamond In The Rough: Chris Godwin is Turning Into One of the Most Devastating Receivers in Football

By the time the third round of the NFL draft rolls around many teams are simply looking for players who can come in and be a solid starter or depth piece. It’s rare to find a superstar at any position past the first two rounds, but just because it’s rare doesn’t mean it’s impossible. When Tampa Bay took Chris Godwin with the 84th pick in 2017, it’s doubtful anyone in the front office realized the gem they had just unearthed. As he enters his fourth season, Godwin has developed into a bona fide star in this league.

The one trait that separates Godwin from the rest of the upper echelon receivers in the league isn’t his size, speed, or quickness. It’s his toughness.  Godwin said, “Whatever I have to do to get the job done. I’ll get real dirty in there. I’ll block linebackers, safeties, and defensive ends sometimes. After I catch the ball I’m not trying to go out of bounds, I’m trying to get as many yards as possible.” Obviously, there is more to Godwin’s game than just his toughness. The precision with which Godwin runs his routes, combined with how efficiently he gets in and out of his breaks, makes him one of the most unguardable receivers in the game.

Despite putting up monster numbers in his first couple of years, Godwin was still underrated as a receiver. Part of that can be attributed to playing in Tampa Bay, which isn’t a huge media market, and the fact that the team just missed out on the playoffs his first two seasons. The narrative surrounding the team changed last season when Tom Brady signed to be the new starting quarterback. Suddenly there was a ton of hype, Super Bowl expectations, and more eyes on Godwin than ever before. Meanwhile, he was focused on developing chemistry with his new quarterback, made all the tougher by the pandemic.

Godwin said, “I think over the course of the season we really got closer and closer and really spent that extra time. By the time we got to the playoffs we were clicking on all cylinders.”

Godwin also learned some big lessons from Brady, who has been in the league since Godwin was in daycare. “I think the biggest lesson I learned from him was just how simple you have to make the game. A lot of people try to make the game too complicated. Some coaches are so used to sticking to their formulas and philosophies, but really it just comes down to percentages. You’re trying to put yourself in the best position to be successful by adjusting plays at the line, being on the same page as your quarterback.”

Chris Godwin Tampa Bay

Despite the challenges the pandemic brought to every team throughout the season, Tampa Bay was able to finish with an 11-5 record and head to the playoffs for the first time since 2007. The team would then march through the playoffs defeating Washington, New Orleans, and Green Bay in a thriller before facing off against Kansas City and Patrick Mahomes. Though the game wasn’t very close or exciting, you won’t catch any Tampa Bay players or fans complaining about winning in a blowout.

As the next season approaches, Godwin is looking forward to having fans back in the stands. “We played New Orleans Week 1 last year, and it felt like a glorified scrimmage. It was so weird. We really noticed then just how much energy we get from the fans.” He’s continuing to develop his skills this offseason, particularly getting more separation at the top of his routes and getting in and out of his breaks even more efficiently.

If Godwin continues to grow his game and skillset there is no reason he can’t become a consistent All-Pro, and be one of the most devastating receivers in the league for years to come.

The Jordan Zion 1 Has Arrived

The Jordan Zion 1 Has Arrived

Zion Williamson has been a presence in basketball fans’ lives since his high school highlights were being reposted and shared by ESPN, Overtime, and Bleacher Report, among others. The jaw-dropping dunks and sheer athleticism on display were unlike anything anyone had seen since LeBron.

Zion would go on to spend one year at Duke, where he exceeded expectations. The most memorable moment of his college career might have been when, in a game against UNC, his shoe exploded after he tried to plant and cut. That high-profile incident, plus his status as the most hyped prospect in a decade, made his decision about what sneaker company he would sign with one of the most highly anticipated choices in a decade. 

While every major brand made a huge push to land Zion’s signature, he eventually committed to Jordan. Now, in his second season with New Orleans, Zion has the team challenging for a playoff spot. Meanwhile, Jordan announced the launch of his first signature shoe, the Jordan Zion 1.

Zion is built like almost no other player in the league. The brute strength and raw power he plays with make him nearly unguardable in one-on-one situations. Designing a shoe that will hold up to and accentuate his style of play was going to be a challenge, but the team at Jordan seems to have risen to it.

Cushioning and support were always going to be the two most important aspects of the shoe. Zion is a big man, and he needs a shoe that will prevent as much wear and tear on his knees and feet as possible. A full-length Air Strobel unit stitched directly into the upper helps give the impression that of walking on a cloud. Pair that with a Zoom Air unit sitting under the forefoot, and that’s how the design team came up with the perfect amount of cushioning for any player no matter how big or small.

The support in the shoe is also broken down into two components. The first is the higher sidewalls to protect players moving side to side. The shoe is a 5/8 cut, splitting the difference between low and high. The other component is a two-loop band that locks players in every time they lace up.

Other key components of the shoe include a multidirectional traction pattern to provide elite grip for all the planting and cutting players do throughout the game. There is also a padded tongue to relieve some of the pressure the laces put on the top of your foot.

The Jordan Zion 1 will be available starting 4/23. Make sure to head to Eastbay to snag a pair as well as all other Zion apparel from Jordan.

Davante Adams Teams Up With Eastbay To Give Back To Palo Alto High School Football Team

Davante Adams Teams Up With Eastbay To Give Back To Palo Alto High School Football Team

In March, Green Bay wide receiver Davante Adams went back to his alma mater, Palo Alto High School, to surprise the football team with some advice, inspiration, and – with Eastbay’s help – fresh gear.

Adams knows that giving back is about more than just the physical items you’re giving. It’s about supporting the next generation of athletes who are looking to build a name and a future for themselves both on and off the field. And it’s about the lasting impact sport can have on young people and their communities.

 

“My time here at Pally shaped who I am. All my experiences, from state championships to the occasional losses that we had, we got to learn from that. How to win, how to come together as a team. A lot of what took place here, I feel like it shaped me for who I am in the league. The things I’m able to achieve, I can attribute to this.

Sports is a huge thing. It holds communities together. It was the #1 outlet for people in my neighborhood growing up in East Palo Alto to kind of have an escape and a way to stay out of trouble.

To be in a position now where I’m blessed to be able to do what I love and receive opportunities like this to team up with Eastbay and make this happen for the kids – it’s life changing for them, and I know that. It brings me instant gratification to be able to do that for them.”

– Davante Adams

Check out our images from the event:

 

Davante Adams Palo Alto Giveback Team Picture
Davante Adams Palo Alto Giveback Shoe Table
Davante Adams Palo Alto Shoe Giveaway
Davante Adams Palo Alto
Davante Adams Jordan Retro 10 TD Football Cleats
Davante Adams Nike Football Cleats
Davante Adams Palo Alto Football Players
Davante Adams Shoe Autograph
Davante Adams Palo Alto High School Shoe Giveaway

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