Many are calling for Eagles receiver Jalen Reagor to be benched coming off of two crucial drops in the team’s loss to the New York Giants this past Sunday.
The drops, which could have won the Eagles the game, seem to be the tipping point in frustration from the fanbase. Reagor has not had a good year, totaling just 25 catches for 201 yards and two touchdowns.
Reagor’s struggles have drawn comparison to the issues Nelson Agholor had early on in his career, which ultimately lead to him being benched for one game late in the 2016 season.
Speaking to John Clark on the Take Off Podcast, former Eagles head coach Doug Pederson — who made the decision to bench Agholor in 2016 — said he wasn’t sure if a game off would help Reagor, but he does know it helped Agholor.
“It is hard to say because I am not there so I don’t know exactly what is going on, but I can kind of relate it to Nelson Agholor," Pederson said. "He was getting beat up in the media, he was getting booed out of the stadium every time he walked out. It was unfair to the player. It felt like at that time with Nelson I thought the best thing for him was to take a week or two. Let’s take one week, you aren’t going to play, you are going to work on the service (scout) team, take every rep there,” Pederson said. “Feel comfortable and be relaxed. Free your mind, free your body and sole and lets see what happens. Obviously it really impacted his life. Even at the end of the seasons he was very appreciative…it was a little bit later in the season, it was probably around this time when we did that, and it made a big impact in his life. You can see the career he’s had and still having. Jalen he might be in the same situation right now. Maybe take a step back and see it from a clearer picture. That 30,000 foot perspective so to speak. You have to continue to work with the kid, work hard in practice and meetings, and whatever he can do to help with this setback right now in his career.”
Agholor did end up saving his career with a strong 2017 season, helping the Eagles capture the No. 1 seed in the NFC East and then catching nine passes in the Super Bowl.
The Eagles, of course, would love to see that same kind of development from Reagor.
Pederson believes Reagor has it in him to make the same kind of jump — but the coaching staff has to figure out how his skillset can help the team.
“Jalen has a lot of talent. There is a lot of talent and a lot speed in his body. That is one of the things we look for. How he can come in and impact our roster, being a young player, being explosive, take the top off," Pederson said. "Really a versatile guy that we really liked and felt comfortable with. Some guys develop a little bit faster in this league, and Jalen is a guy that you have to continue to work with and get him on the right track. You have to find what he is good at, exploit that and get him those touches when you can.”
Pederson wasn’t able to figure it out in his one year with Reagor, and so far, new head coach Nick Sirianni hasn’t been able to figure it out either.
Chances are Reagor will get one more year, like Agholor did in 2017, to show he can be a helpful player on the offense — and he will definitely get that chance this week vs. the New York Jets.
You can reach Eliot Shorr-Parks on Twitter at @EliotShorrParks or email him at email@example.com!