Eagles

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.”

10 Josh McCown stats you won't believe

10 Josh McCown stats you won't believe

Josh McCown has been around so long he's completed passes to over 100 receivers, played with a running back who's been in the Hall of Fame for nine years and once stood on the visiting sideline at ... the Vet?

The newest Eagle is one of the oldest quarterbacks in NFL history. 

McCown, 40 years and 44 days old, has now been with 11 NFL teams in a career spanning 18 years.

Here's a look at McCown by the Numbers!

1. If McCown throws a pass, he’ll be the oldest player in Eagles history to ever throw a pass in a regular-season game. Currently the oldest is Sam Baker, who was a kicker but was 39 years old when he threw one pass in the 1968 season — a 58-yard touchdown to safety John Mallory against Dallas at the Cotton Bowl in 1968. The oldest Eagles QB to throw a pass was Roman Gabriel, who was 37 when he threw three passes in 1977 — his final NFL season.

2. McCown is now the only active player from the 2002 draft. Julius Peppers played last year but retired after the season. The last Eagle from the 2002 draft who was active was Raheem Brock, their seventh-round pick that year. The Philly native never signed with the Eagles and wound up playing 10 NFL seasons.

3. The last quarterback from the 2002 draft who was active was David Carr, who retired after the 2012 season.

4. Only 18 NFL stadiums have been around longer than McCown. His career is older than Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, and the Linc, among others.

5. McCown has had a 300-yard game for six different teams, tied with Ryan Fitzpatrick for most in NFL history. McCown has thrown for 300 yards for the Cards, Raiders, Bears, Buccaneers, Browns and Jets.

6. McCown is the 7th-oldest player in NFL history to throw for 450 or more yards in a game. On Oct. 11, 2015, at the age of 36 years and 99 days, he threw for 457 yards for the Browns in a 33-30 win over the Ravens in Baltimore. The only older QBs to throw for 450 yards in NFL history are Peyton Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, Drew Brees, Kurt Warner, Tom Brady  and Vinny Testaverde.

7. And this one from NBC Eagles producer Dave Zangaro: The youngest Eagles player, Nate Herbig, was 4 years old when McCown made his NFL debut for the Cards against the Chiefs on Dec. 1, 2002.

8.  McCown is the oldest active player in the NFL with a career rushing average of at least 4.5 yards per carry. Darren Sproles is second-oldest.

9. McCown has completed passes to 105 different receivers in his career, including Alshon Jeffery, Larry Fitzgerald, Emmit Smith, Will Tye, Johnnie Lee Higgins and Josh McCown.

10.
If McCown gets into a regular-season game with the Eagles, he’ll be the fourth 40-year-old in franchise history. The others are punter Sean Landeta, who was 43 when he finished his career with the Eagles in 2005; punter Lee Johnson, who was 41 in 2002; and Baker, who was 40 in 1969.

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Eagles are signing veteran Josh McCown out of retirement as insurance

Eagles are signing veteran Josh McCown out of retirement as insurance

Updated: 5:08 p.m.

The Eagles are basically taking out a new insurance policy. 

With injuries at the QB position, the Eagles have signed veteran Josh McCown out of retirement. 

According to a league source, McCown’s deal includes $2 million fully guaranteed and could be worth up to $5.4 million, as ESPN first reported. The Eagles paid him enough to lure him out of retirement. 

To make room for McCown, the Eagles released WR Braxton Miller.

McCown announced his retirement in June, but his stay away from the NFL was short-lived. 

With Nate Sudfeld set to miss the beginning of the season with a fractured wrist and after Cody Kessler suffered a concussion early in Thursday night’s preseason game, the Eagles needed to sign another quarterback to back up Carson Wentz. This signing is bad news for Kessler, who might have been able to secure a roster spot with a solid preseason. It might also change the outlook for rookie fifth-round pick Clayton Thorson, who might not be on the roster at the start of the season. 

Over the last few seasons, the Eagles have been committed to putting resources into the quarterback position. That hasn’t changed. Sudfeld will still return this season and the Eagles are still high on him, but they also added a quality veteran who will at the very least hold down the backup position until Sudfeld returns and then possibly after. 

As much as the Eagles like Sudfeld, he has 25 career passing attempts. McCown has 76 career starts. Sudfeld has upside, but McCown is a proven commodity in the NFL. 

McCown is expected to be at practice on Sunday at the NovaCare Complex as the Eagles begin preparations to face the Ravens for two practice days and in Thursday’s preseason game. 

After entering the NFL in 2002, McCown has started 76 career games. The Eagles will be his 11th NFL team and this will be his 17th NFL season. And at 40, McCown will be the Eagles’ oldest player, taking that title from Jason Peters. He’ll also be the fifth-oldest player in the league in the 2019 season. 

McCown last played for the Jets in 2017-18. In his long career, McCown has completed 60.2 percent of his passes with 98 touchdowns and 82 interceptions and a passer rating of 79.7. 

The Eagles are hoping to never see McCown play this season. If Wentz stays healthy, they’ll never have to use this new insurance policy. But since Nate Sudfeld will be out until possibly October with a fractured left wrist, the Eagles will at least go into the season with a competent backup. 

Miller, 26, joined the Eagles’ practice squad last September and remained there for the rest of the season, signing a futures deal after the season was over. Miller was a third-round pick back in 2016, but the Texans cut him after just two seasons. Still, it had to be a little disappointing for the Eagles to not get more out of him this spring and summer. Miller was clearly behind Mack Hollins, Greg Ward, Marken Michel and Charles Johnson on the depth chart, so while he’s a recognizable name, his release shouldn’t be much of a surprise.

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