Sometimes the best coaching has nothing to do with teaching technique, going over plays or helping out with scheme.
Sometimes it’s all about helping young kids grow up.
And when it comes to Jalen Reagor, that’s been a big part of Aaron Moorehead’s job.
Moorehead, beginning his second year as Eagles wide receivers coach, has spent much of the last year helping Reagor learn to focus on what’s really important.
And that means not letting what people say or write bother him.
It hasn’t been easy.
Reagor has been known to mix it up with critical fans on social media since he arrived here, and Moorehead's message is instead of telling people you can play, just do all you can to prove it.
“I don’t think it affected his play (last year), but when you read that that stuff, it just creeps into your head. whether you want it to or not,” Moorehead said. “And he’s young. He was 21 years old during the season. The guy’s a young guy, he wants to please the fans, he wants to please the coaches, he wants to please the team and all of these things, and at some point you’ve got to be playing for yourself and your team and that’s the most important thing and that was more the message.
“You start listening to everything — whether it’s good or bad — it can affect you. And that’s not just Jalen, that’s every young player. They want to see their name on social media and they kind of get off on that. We all have egos ... (but) you do your job the best of your ability and it all takes care of yourself.”
Reagor had a forgettable rookie season on an awful team during a miserable season. He fought through injuries, played in only 11 games and finished with 31 catches for 396 yards and one touchdown.
And everywhere he went he had to hear how Justin Jefferson – drafted by the Vikings one pick after him – was tearing up the league.
Not an easy position to be in for a young kid.
“At some point, the more stuff you read the worse off it is for you because there’s a lot of people that don’t know anything on social media,” Moorehead said. “It’s like the old quote: ‘Don’t listen to someone you never would take advice from.’ You kind of had to reiterate that. Who cares what people are saying? At the end of the day, people in this building, people in your circle, those are the people that have your best interest at heart.”
Anybody who would call a 21-year-old kid a bust based on 11 games with a struggling quarterback, a shaky offensive line and a slumping play caller is uninformed.
But he heard it. All the time.
With a new coach, a new offense, a new quarterback, DeVonta Smith drawing the opposing team’s best corner and better focus on his part, Reagor will have the opportunity to prove he was worthy of that 1st-round pick.
“I think he’s calmer,” Moorehead said. “He’s just letting his play speak for himself. He’s always been a good worker. He’s got a lot of talent, we know that, he’s just doing the things that he needs to do to take care of himself, and I think that’s really important. And (he’s) understanding you have enough talent to be a really, really, really good player in this league, and you don’t have to listen to anyone else but the people in this building and your family … and let’s go play ball. And he’s been very diligent about that and I think it’s shown in just his preparation.”
Reagor’s 31 catches are actually the fifth-most by an Eagles wide receiver in his first 11 career games, behind only Jordan Matthews (50), DeSean Jackson (47), Jeremy Maclin (42) and current teammate Travis Fulgham (33).
It remains to be seen what kind of career Reagor will have, but Moorehead is encouraged by everything he’s seen since last year ended.
“Just understanding the offense, understanding the receiver play, has been so much better,” he said. “Just this offseason the questions he’s been asking are different, and that’s good.So I’ve been very pleased with him and just excited to see this next six weeks and how he trains and getting back here for camp and getting ready to roll.”
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