Don't be so quick to write off Nelson Agholor

Don't be so quick to write off Nelson Agholor

Nelson Agholor isn’t worried about making mistakes anymore.

He knows he’s going to make them. It’s part of the game. And he’s confident he knows how to fix them this year.

“The best thing in Year 2 compared to Year 1 is after Year 1, you’ve made the mistakes,” Agholor said Wednesday. “Now you’re not worried about if you’re going to make them, you’re worried about just lining up again and trying to make the next play.”

Agholor received criticism for his less-than-stellar stats in his rookie year, when he compiled just 283 receiving yards and one touchdown. However, plenty of standout receivers had quiet rookie seasons.

Antonio Brown had just 167 yards and zero touchdowns his rookie year. Brandon Marshall had 309 yards and two touchdowns his first year. As a rookie, Demaryius Thomas had 283 yards and two touchdowns, very similar stats to Agholor. And all three were in the top 10 in the NFL last year in receiving yards.

Additionally, the Eagles’ all-time leader in receiving yards, Harold Carmichael, had just 288 yards and no touchdowns as a rookie. Mike Quick, second among wide receivers in yards in franchise history, had 156 yards and one touchdown his first year.

Essentially, sometimes it takes a year or two for a receiver to begin making a big impact; it doesn’t always happen immediately. The pressure for the 2015 class may have been greater after all five wide receivers taken in the first round the year before (Sammy Watkins, Mike Evans, Odell Beckham Jr., Brandin Cooks and Kelvin Benjamin) had good rookie years, but that isn’t a common occurrence.

And Agholor actually fared pretty well among the six receivers taken in the first round in 2015. He ranked third in receptions and receiving yards and was tied for third in touchdowns. Considering guys like Kevin White and Breshad Perriman missed the whole season with injuries, comparatively, Agholor’s season wasn’t really all that disappointing.

However, Agholor said he doesn’t really care if rookie receivers get too much criticism.

“It’s none of my business, man,” he said. “I have a job to go out there and help this team win football games. That’s what I have to strive to do every day I’m out on this practice field and every opportunity I get.”

According to SportingCharts, Agholor had four drops last year on 44 targets, tied for the eighth-highest drop rate among receivers with at least 40 targets.

Drops aren’t necessarily a sign of a lack of skill or ability. Instead, they often can be because of a lack in concentration or focus caused by uncertainty — something common in rookies in a new offense.

“I’m sure you can ask anyone,” Sam Bradford said, “I can imagine any time you’re a young player, it doesn’t matter what position they’re playing, you’re still in that process where you’re thinking a lot.”

Which Agholor was.

“I played with a little more hesitation because I was thinking,” he said. “I was thinking, I was trying a little bit too much. I just need to go out and fly around and have faith in my preparation.”

But now he’s no longer a rookie, so ideally the pro game will come more naturally. On the other hand, he’s once again learning a new offense.

“When you’re out there thinking a lot it slows you down,” said veteran wideout Rueben Randle, a second-round pick in 2012. “You can’t just go out there and play fast because you make mistakes, and more importantly, you drop balls. There’s a lot that’s going on out there, you just have to use your natural ability, for the most part, once you understand your assignment.”

Randle’s production doubled from Year 1 to Year 2, from 19 receptions for 298 yards and three touchdowns to 41 for 611 and six.

“I definitely have to progress in Year 2 from Year 1, definitely,” Agholor said. “That’s one thing that’s on my mind, it’s a constant goal from the way I approach the game with my confidence and my practice habits. So I’m definitely going to do that.”

Stephen Jackson says the Eagles 'threatened to fire' DeSean Jackson after Instagram posts

Stephen Jackson says the Eagles 'threatened to fire' DeSean Jackson after Instagram posts

After DeSean Jackson made anti-Semitic Instagram posts quoting Adolf Hitler and Louis Farrakhan, the Eagles released a statement calling the wide receiver's posts 'absolutely appalling' and promising 'approporiate action'.

Whether the posts will ultimately cost Jackson his job with the Eagles is unclear, but according to former NBA player Stephen Jackson, it may have been presented as a possibility.

In one of many statements Wednesday defending the 33-year-old wide receiver, Stephen Jackson claimed that DeSean Jackson called him and said the Eagles threatened to cut him:

I didn't support the post, as far as Hitler and him supporting Hitler. I don't know support Hitler, I don't know nothing about Hitler, and I could give a f**k about Hitler. All I know is he was a cruel guy. I don't stand for that, and I don't support it. My whole reason for supporting D-Jack was, before I got on Instagram, he called me on the phone and told me that they was threatening to fire him, but they didn't do that to [Riley] Cooper. And I was like, 'You're right, you shouldn't have to apologize if they didn't make him apologize.

The Eagles did in fact punish wide receiver Riley Cooper in 2013 after he was filmed shouting the n-word at a country music concert, fining him an undisclosed amount of money. The team also condemned Cooper's comments in a public statement, as they did with DeSean Jackson's comments.

Cooper was not released for his comments, however, and was signed to a five-year extension in 2014. Cooper was released in 2016.

You can watch the full Stephen Jackson video below:

Stephen Jackson also said in a different post, which has since been deleted, that DeSean Jackson was "speaking the truth" in the posts.

In one of the original Instagram posts, DeSean Jackson highlighted a quote, which was incorrectly attributed to Hitler:

The white Jews knows that the Negroes are the real Children of Israel and to keep Americas secret the Jews will blackmail America. They will extort America, their plan for world domination won’t work if the Negroes know who they were. The white citizens of America will be terrified to know that all this time they’ve been mistreating and discriminating and lynching the Children of Israel.

DeSean Jackson also posted a clip from a speech Farrakhan made in Chicago on July 4 where he alleged that White House coronavirus adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci and Microsoft founder Bill Gates were plotting to use a virus vaccine to "depopulate the Earth." 

Farrakhan is a noted anti-Semite and homophobe who was among several prominent people whose posts were banned 

DeSean Jackson apologized publicly multiple times on Tuesday for his posts and comments, and also reportedly spoke with and apologized to Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie and Eagles general manager Howie Roseman, both of whom are Jewish.

The Eagles signed DeSean Jackson to a three-year, $27 million deal in March 2019.

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The Eagles all-time team: Harold Carmichael, Mike Quick, Tommy McDonald make the cut

The Eagles all-time team: Harold Carmichael, Mike Quick, Tommy McDonald make the cut

Over the next few weeks, we'll be unveiling our all-time Eagles team. 

We enlisted the help of Eagles reporters Reuben Frank and Dave Zangaro, Quick Slants hosts Derrick Gunn and Barrett Brooks and Quick Slants producer Mike Mulhern for voting. 

We asked each person to rank their top five players at 16 different positions. A 1st-place vote was worth five points, a 2nd-place vote was worth four, and so on. 

Up next: Wide Receiver

Complete voting

1. Harold Carmichael = 23
2. Mike Quick = 16
3. Tommy McDonald = 15
4. DeSean Jackson = 13
5. Terrell Owens = 8 

The breakdown
New Hall of Famer Harold Carmichael got three 1st-place votes and Mike Quick and Tommy McDonald each got one. Harold was 2nd on the two ballots where he wasn’t first, and Quick got a 2nd-place vote, a 3rd-place vote and two 4th-place votes in addition to the one 1st-place vote. McDonald got the other 1st-place vote along with two 3rd-place votes and two 4th-place. DeSean Jackson got a 2nd, two 3rds and two 4ths. T.O. was as high as 2nd on one ballot and 4th on all four others. Interesting that the same five WRs were listed on all five ballots.

Did we get it right?
It’s tough comparing eras, but McDonald was the best in the business in the late 1950s and early 1960s, Carmichael was the best in the league from the early 1970s through the early 1980s and Quick was as good as anybody in the NFL from 1983 through 1987. So it really comes down to who did it the longest and most consistently, and that's Carmichael. From 1973 through 1983 — a span of 11 years — nobody had as many receiving yards or touchdowns. There’s a good reason he’s going into the Hall of Fame next summer. On our team, we’re coming out in a three-receiver set, and Carmichael, Quick and McDonald are clearly the top three in franchise history.
Complete team so far:
QB: Donovan McNabb 
RB: LeSean McCoy
WR: Harold Carmichael
WR: Mike Quick
WR: Tommy McDonald

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More on the Eagles