All Eyes on Agholor
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - Eagles head coach Doug Pederson confirmed that he’s still mulling over whether to scale back the playing time of struggling receiver Nelson Agholor.
“This will be a big week for him,” Pederson admitted. “How he handles it mentally, how he reacts with his teammates, how he reacts on the practice field, with different things that have sort of fallen in his lap.”
Agholor played perhaps his worst game as a pro in Seattle on Sunday in which he cost the Eagles a touchdown when failing to line up properly pre-snap and also dropped a perfect Carson Wentz pass that would have been a big gainer.
Agholor finished the afternoon with a goose egg on the stat sheet and admitted he was struggling mentally.
“Right now, I need to find a way to let go of my mental block,” he said. “I've got to get out of my own head. Pressing so much and worried about so many things.”
Pederson took notice of that and is seriously considering either sitting Agholor or cutting back his snap count dramatically. To date, Agholor has played 85 percent of the team’s offensive snaps yet has managed just 27 receptions for 264 yards through 10 games and ProFootballFocus.com had graded him as the worst receiver in the NFL, No. 119 of 119.
To back that sentiment up, of the 35 receivers who’ve started at least 20 games over the past two seasons, Agholor is dead last with 50 receptions for 547 yards.
“It’s just how well he responds,” Pederson continued when talking about what role Agholor will have against Green Bay. “Can he handle a little adversity in his career? I know exactly where he sits because I sat there a few years ago as a quarterback. So I know what he’s going through and I know what he’s thinking, so I can relate.”
Pederson also confirmed he spoke with Agholor privately and the second-year receiver has spent time over the last couple weeks with the Eagles’ staff psychologist as he tries to fight through the expectations as a former first-round pick who hasn’t produced.
“You know, my concern with Nelson too — and I mentioned this the other day — is him as a person and where is he mentally as a person, and I don’t want to expose him to anything that will hurt him there as an individual, as a human being,” Pederson said.
“I just know this is also about life, the coach continued. “And it’s about him as a person and it’s not so much about football and I want to make sure Nelson is right as a person, as a human being. So if it means lessening the load, then I’ll lessen the load and try to take a little bit off his plate.”
If the load is lessened that means increased playing time for Dorial Green-Beckham, Bryce Treggs and perhaps undrafted rookie Paul Turner, who was promoted from the practice squad to the 53-man roster on Monday.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen