After Thursday’s practice, the big rave was about a huge catch that Jalen Reagor made in the end zone while being tightly covered by Darius Slay. The catch itself was amazing, but to come from a player who only two days ago was getting his ear bitten off by his Nick Sirianni definitely made it that much more important.
It was a moment to soak in for Eagles fans and media members alike as the second-year product out of TCU extended one hand out and allowed the ball to just sit comfortably until he secured the catch. The last time we saw a play that spectacular was from Paul Turner in the middle of a preseason game. Turner was cut from the active roster after that preseason.
This year’s wide receiver room seems to have more fire in their belly than last season. It seems as if they understand and believe in the system being taught by Nick Sirianni. While first-round draft pick DeVonta Smith is out nursing a knee sprain for the next 2-3 weeks, the rest of the group has shown flashes of great potential.
Does it all lead back to accountability? A couple of months ago, Lane Johnson praised Nick Sirianni’s ability to hold all of the players accountable. Back in 2019, the Eagles star right tackle mentioned that players were showing up late and not being held accountable after a blowout loss to the Dallas Cowboys. He said, “Really it’s gonna be probably a call-out session.“ He went on to mention that, “Everybody will be held accountable. Little stuff that slides during the week — late to practice, late to meetings, this and that. Stuff will start to be held accountable for, and I think that will maybe creep into the games.”
When asked about Head Coach Nick Sirianni, Lane Johnson mentioned that “he’s taking a great command… he holds everybody accountable.. if he can do that with veterans, then the younger guys will come along as well”
This comes as a great contrast to last season where the team was drenched in complacency throughout. Over the past few years in-fact, the WR position in particular has really struggled. Players have struggled to line up right, there have been concerns about effort, and confidence has often been shattered in younger players.
With such a young receiving group holding down the fort for the Eagles, Sirianni’s method of holding his players accountable will determine their success going forward. According to multiple reports, Jalen Reagor has had a tough training camp so far. This started with a failed conditioning test and extended to struggles with drops. Sirianni hasn’t babied him at all but instead was seen barking at him to get it right after a poor second-team rep. All of that barking turned into praise as Reagor made the highlight catch of camp, it all paid off.
Sirianni and his staff have been very hands-on with what is a very young team, unafraid to pull players aside and coach them up individually, laying into them when some tough-love is needed.
Now the top players of the wide receiver room are starting to showcase their abilities. Quez Watkins has been showing off his speed and route techniques after receiving little to no playing time last season. JJAW is showing his catch ability and John Hightower has been consistently making plays. While Travis Fulgham is healthy and ready to pick up where he left off last season.
The unknowns of this group heading into the season will be their biggest strength when facing their opponents. They all seem to have matured under the watch of Nick Sirianni and company while finding their places in the NFL. It’s going to be something special to see as long as they’re consistently held accountable.
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