Eagles

Eagles

Two years ago? If Nelson Agholor went an entire game without catching a pass?

Forget it.

He would have been upset, angry, frustrated and it would have carried over into the following week.

“A hundred percent,” he said. “A hundred percent.”

He’s a different guy now. Agholor’s development as a player and a person over the last few years has been remarkable to watch, and listening to him talk about Sunday’s disappointing loss to the Saints shows just how far he’s come.

Agholor didn’t catch a pass Sunday in New Orleans, but these days something like that doesn't break him.

It only motivates him to work harder:

I think that comes with age and just having a good perspective. When I was younger and something like that happened to me, I’d have been a little bit more beat up and kind of taken aback. But I think having consistency about your approach is the most important thing because the results always vary. You can have a game where you catch 10 balls, a game you catch eight balls, a game you catch two balls, a game you catch no balls. But what was your preparation going into that week? Where’s your mind at? How much tape did you watch? How did you practice that week? That’s the most important thing. Because those are the things that accumulate toward your résumé. People see statistics, but that’s only Sundays and Mondays. Those practices Monday through Friday? Those are the most important things.

 

Two years ago this week, Agholor had a zero-catch performance against the Seahawks, and he was in such bad shape mentally that Doug Pederson benched him a week later for a game against the Packers.

The personal growth he’s shown since then is remarkable, and we were reminded of it this week as he moved past his first game without a reception since late in 2016.

“Each week I come in the building I try to focus on getting better and focus on my opponent,” he said. “My head’s up high, chest out and ready to fight. I’m a fighter.”

While the Eagles try to figure out what to do with Golden Tate, Agholor’s playing time, targets and catches are going to be unpredictable.

But he still has 46 catches for 455 yards this year, which puts him on pace for a career-high 73 receptions for 728 yards.

Most importantly, he’s now got the mental strength to deal with the disappointment of being blanked in a 48-7 loss.

He knows he’s the same guy whether he has a bunch of catches or no catches. Unlike when he was younger, his confidence doesn’t sway based on one game.

“I don’t think my skill set went anywhere,” he said. “I think I’ve continued to get better. Continued to see the game the way it is. I’m ready to play the game of football.

“Statistics are one thing, but I’m the one out there running. I think my speed’s good. My understanding of concepts is where it needs to be, and I’m going to continue to get better.”

And when he’s held without a catch and is targeted just twice?

Sometimes it can be tough but you find out what you’re made of when things like that happen. What’s your bounce-back going to be like? And that’s what my focus is. What’s my bounce-back going to be like? I’m going to come in this building and work harder. Catch more balls, whatever it may be. Run harder, watch more tape, be open even more. No matter what it is. Because catching no balls that game, I can’t say I was wide open every play so maybe I need to work on being completely open. That’s the way to look at it because whenever you have something in front of you, how can you find the positive in it? How can you grow from that?

Agholor’s in his fourth year now, and he’s gone from a young kid searching for answers to a true inspiration to his teammates with his unselfish attitude, tireless work ethic and steady production.

He doesn’t talk much. He’s not big on all that rah-rah stuff.

With "Nelly," leadership comes from the way he works and the way he carries himself.

“One of the things that you can do as an individual is lead by example,” he said. “If you have an urgency about yourself. Monday is your off day but you’re still poking in here on Monday and preparing, and Tuesday you’re getting a little extra? If people see that? It rubs off on people.

 

“That’s my contribution toward having urgency, toward having focus, toward being resilient, having people rally behind that. I’m not here to say too much about anybody else besides to do it and try to produce.”

Whether he catches 10 passes or no passes, the Eagles are lucky to have him.

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