Agholor Embraces a ‘Golden’ Complement
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - If iron really does sharpen iron in the NFL, Nelson Agholor should become a much-improved player over the second half of the 2018 season.
Philadelphia's best slot receiver and top yards-after-catch option no longer possesses those titles with the arrival of the ultra-productive Golden Tate to the Novacare Complex.
Acquired at the trade deadline last week from Detroit for a third-round pick, Tate figures to knock Agholor out of top three options for Carson Wentz in the passing game, a list which also includes the lengthy Alshon Jeffery and top tight end Zach Ertz.
Agholor, who is currently second on the team with 41 receptions, isn't concerned, however.
“We’re playing football now,” Agholor said at his locker after Monday's walkthrough practice following the team's bye week.
When pressed about potentially seeing the football less with Tate's arrival, the Southern Cal product brushed that off.
“I’m going to continue to be the player I can be so that [the coaches] utilize me to make plays," Agholor said. "If anything, I know that having a guy like [Golden] on my team is going to continue to increase my game, because I’m a student of the game. If there are things that he can do that I don’t have in my game right now, then I’m going to learn from it, I’m going to add that to my game."
Tate, meanwhile, has immersed himself in Doug Pederson's playbook in an attempt to learn as much of the offense as possible before Sunday night's game against Dallas, a team he already gashed for eight receptions and 132 yards earlier this season while with the Lions.
"I don’t have anything to do," Tate joked. "I’m just going to spend a lot of time in this place and prepare to fit right in.”
Offensive coordinator Mike Groh noted that Tate has experience learning a new offense having gone from Seattle to Detroit and noted how smart a player the former Notre Dame star is.
“He’s got background in learning some new systems, so he’s a smart guy,” Groh said. “He can relate it to things that he was doing in Detroit most recently, and we just try to build from there. It’s not necessarily as hard during the season because you’re focused on a game plan as opposed to in training camp when you’re learning the entire playbook, like everything is going in, so that you can draw from that as a resource throughout the season.
“So right now, he knows he has a select number of plays that are in the game plan, and we’ll just try to go from there.”
The offense as a whole could also be getting more pieces back for what figures to be a second-half run at the NFC East crown. Running back Darren Sproles should be getting closer to a return from a hamstring injury while tight end Richard Rodgers and perhaps Mack Hollins or Mike Wallace at receiver could return from injured reserve.
"All those guys, obviously we’re hopeful that they’ll return at some point,” Groh said. “But when that time comes, we’ll cross that bridge. Right now we’re just worried about the guys that we know can play on Sunday and trying to get those guys ready to go.”
When Pederson's offense is at its best Wentz is getting everyone involved and the more the merrier, according to Agholor
“We kind of invite getting all our other weapons back," Agholor said. "We let the coaches handle the personnel, the schematic part. But for us, we’re like juiced up to see our brothers back out there."
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen