Reich Believes Karma is in Agholor’s Corner
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - The Eagles are grasping at straws when it comes to struggling receiver Nelson Agholor and Friday it was Frank Reich’s turn to offer up an explanation of why the former first-round pick has been so ineffective throughout his young career.
“He's going through a rough time right now, and it's real,” the offensive coordinator said. “You don't want to de-emphasize it – it's real. He feels it, we all feel it. But at the same time, you have to keep the perspective that the good players and the strong players are going to bounce out of it, just like we believe he will.”
Reich is a believer in football karma and the former quarterback believes if you do things right on the practice field, you will eventually be rewarded on game day.
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.
The second-year receiver 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,” Agholor said. “I’ve got to get out of my own head. Pressing so much and worried about so many things.”
Head coach Doug 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.
Reich could not offer any clarity to whether Agholor will play against the Packers on Monday but did express a strong belief in his work ethic, something he eventually believes will pay off.
“He’s smart, tough, plays hard,” Reich said. “...It’s just experiential, just over the years. Sometimes it takes longer to see the fruit of that. Sometimes the reward of that effort doesn’t always come back to you in the way you think it’s going to come back. But that’s just what I’ve seen and experienced and I still maintain that with Nelson.
“Obviously, we hope to see it sooner rather than later and you hope to see it on the field. But even if it doesn’t, as a person, you grow. You go through hard times and you grow and sometimes it makes you a better person in other ways as well.”
Earlier in the week Pederson said he wanted to see how Agholor responded during practice this week before committing to him against the Pack.
As for Reich, there is no magic potion for a player he claimed had “great skills” and the ability to beat press coverage and get separation at the top of his routes, two attributes that really define the top-tier receivers in this league.
“You can try several things,” Reich said. “But what I find gets guys out of it: just make a play. Build confidence one play at a time. That’s the key to me. You just have to build confidence one play at a time.”
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen