To say that Jalen Reagor has been underwhelming this season would be an understatement. With a measly 201 yards to his name through 12 weeks, the second-year wideout has been a non-factor for the most part. But two horrific drops against the Giants might have opened a very different conversation.
There are absolutely similarities between Jalen Reagor and former Eagles wideout Nelson Agholor. Both were drafted and struggled with drops right away before a change in scheme and coaching during their second year. Both were first round-picks who struggled with drops and have battled mental health setbacks. Both also were pushed into the slot during their sophomore campaign (although Reagor has frequented the Z spot). While Agholor’s two-year production outweighs Reagor by some margin, that doesn’t mean that the situations are that different.
Doug Pederson eventually benched Nelson Agholor him for a few weeks, keeping him away from the growing pressure and intense spotlight that his flaws had drawn. Agholor wanted to get out of his own way and after opening up to his teammates about his mental struggles, it became much easier for the team to help him.
As we know, Agholor then rebounded and helped the Eagles win their first ever Super Bowl, becoming an integral cog in the offense and going on to find a second wind in New England following a brief stint with the Raiders.
Jalen Reagor isn’t exactly the same type of character as Jalen Hurts or DeVonta Smith. As opposed to staying away from the rat poison, Reagor has often been seen slurping it up and getting lost in the noise. Social media spats with fans have resulted in plenty of criticisms and a Father who would get on great with DeSean Jackson’s mother doesn’t seem to help matters.
While he did endure a really tough offseason which involved the loss of a friend, the facts can’t be ignored that Reagor has been a liability on the field. His routes have been sloppy, he had two gut-wrenching drops on Sunday that could’ve turned the tide, and he’s shown nothing in the return game. It would be extremely fair of Sirianni to question if Reagor would benefit from some time away in order to gather himself. They showed the same leniency with Lane Johnson when he battled anxiety and if there’s even a slight hunch that Reagor is going through something similar, it would behoove them to act on it and continue to cultivate a culture that encourages players to speak up about their struggles.
As far as replacements go, the team have options. Quez Watkins has been surprisingly effective in jump-ball situations and John Hightower has flashed his elite speed in the past and is currently stashed on the practice squad. It’s not like the team don’t have options and at this point, even J.J Arcega-Whiteside is proving to be a more valuable offensive asset…let that sink in.
The Eagles have nothing to lose and everything to gain in trying to help a receiver who for whatever reason is lost inside his own head right now. Whether his on-field production is a an effect of that, I don’t know. But Nick Sirianni garnered a reputation as a wide receiver whisperer prior to his appointment as the Head Coach of the Philadelphia Eagles. It’s time to become a wide receiver listener.
Not to try and help Reagor kick on and deliver for the offense, but to help Reagor get out of his own head and salvage an NFL career before it dwindles away.
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