The Eagles need Nelson Agholor just as much as he needs them

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Doug Pederson held his cards close to his chest in today’s press conference, refusing to state definitively whether or not Nelson Agholor will play against the Bengals. But the longer Agholor’s status remains up in the air, the more it hurts the receiver..and the more it hurts the Eagles.

The entire situation has been handled extremely well for the most part..but every action has a reaction. Nelson Agholor’s status last week was uncertain up until the final moments before the game. Carson Wentz claimed that the team found out on Sunday that they would be without their number two wide receiver, although the signs were there much earlier.

A week away may have done Agholor some good mentally, especially seeing the game from a new perspective..but only to a certain point. During that week, Agholor had sought out help from a sports psychiatrist as well as working outside of designated practice times to prove that he’s ready should his name be called. But to practice all week, not knowing if the coaches are going to call your name on Sunday must sting once the decision is confirmed.

A week later, the same exact scenario has unfolded. Only now, the need for Agholor in the Eagles Offense is at a new high. With Jordan Matthews listed as questionable with an ankle injury, the Eagles could be forced to roll with three receivers come gameday if they decide to keep Agholor sidelined. This in itself is extremely concerning after the wide receivers struggled to find any kind of separation against the Packers on Monday night.

The problem is that even though it’s crystal clear that the Eagles need all the help they can get on the outside, Doug Pederson is yet to confirm whether they will ride the former first round pick. Constantly probed by reporters in today’s conference, Pederson stated that there’s a good chance he will be active. At this point, a good chance isn’t good enough..for a number of reasons.

Once Jordan Matthews had left the game with injury, Wentz was left with just three outside weapons at his disposal. Two of whom were undrafted rookies while the third is a receiver who has had his fair share of consistency issues this year.

Aside from Green-Beckham’s 82 yards, no other Eagles wide receiver caught a pass with the exception of Jordan Matthews. Wentz was forced to rely on his running backs and tight ends for production as opposed to forcing the ball into incredibly narrow windows, but that could well be the case again on Sunday if the Eagles continue to bench Agholor.

Then there’s the more individual approach. Nelson Agholor was sidelined in order to help deal with the mental issues he’s faced. Over the past week, he’s worked closely with Brian Dawkins and spent extra time after practice using the JUGS machine, in order to prove to the coaching staff that he’s ready. So why won’t Pederson pull the trigger?

It’s a question that will more than likely be going around Agholor’s head as I write this. IF Agholor misses a second week without a justifiable reason, it’s certainly going to raise questions. The Eagles receiver has worked tirelessly over the last seven days in order to prepare for this weekend’s game and Pederson’s lack of faith or commitment to starting Agholor could shatter what little confidence is left.

If you’re putting absolutely everything into your job after being given paid leave, only to be given another week’s paid absence in place of a brand new employee on his first day, you’re naturally going to question a lot of things..including your desire to stay with the employer.

I noted this very point in today’s podcast, but for a player battling mental issues, it would be far less dramatic to confirm whether Agholor is starting or sitting earlier in the week, so he can prepare for the given scenario. Instead, Pederson looks to be basing the decision purely off of whether Jordan Matthews will be ready to go or not..which begs the question, if your number two wide receiver’s starting status is based solely on a potential injury to a starter..is there a deeper problem?

If there is a deeper problem, the Eagles have to extinguish the flame before it erupts..by confirming, one way or the other, just where Nelson Agholor stands. The receiving corps are also going to feel the effects of this. Potentially being without both Matthews and Agholor, the two undrafted rookies would be left on an island with DGB as their leader..which isn’t exactly the most inspiring situation to be in. Without leadership, it could be a tough day at the office for Carson Wentz.

The Eagles need Nelson Agholor this weekend. He may have had his issues with drops and inconsistencies, but as of right now (with Matthews questionable) he remains the best route runner on the roster..and if it comes down to taking a shot dropping it into a bucket downfield when Agholor’s in separation, or forcing a throw into a narrow window..you’re going to take the easier option.

But Nelson Agholor also needs the Eagles. He needs confirmation that he will be resuming his former role on the outside on Sunday and that the coaching staff still have every faith in his ability. The problem is that the longer this draws out and the decision remains unmade, the more it seems as if the Eagles lack confidence in Agholor..and the more Agholor is going to be affected by it.

A player who already lacked confidence to begin with is now standing on the edge of a Knife. If he steps forward, the second year wideout with 264 yards and 1 TD this season  could be starting on Sunday and have a shot as the most dangerous wideout threat on the team. If he strays back and ends up sidelined again, it could well shatter what confidence is left in a receiver in desperate need of a resurgence. To save his career..and the Eagles Offense.

 

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