Eagles

Nelson Agholor on nightmare vs. Seahawks: 'I got to get out of my own head'

Nelson Agholor on nightmare vs. Seahawks: 'I got to get out of my own head'

SEATTLE — It’s gotten this bad for Nelson Agholor.

He stood at his locker Sunday after the worst game of his career — which is really saying something — and basically psychoanalyzed himself for 10 minutes in front of a sea of TV cameras and microphones.

It was not easy to watch.

Agholor achieved the triple crown of wide receiver ineptitude in the Eagles’ 26-15 loss to the Seahawks at CenturyLink Field (see Instant Replay).

He committed a penalty that negated a touchdown. He dropped a pass that would have gone for at least 40 yards and maybe a touchdown. And he finished with zero catches for zero yards (see 10 observations).

Agholor was already struggling terribly.

And now this.

This was a nightmare.

“I got to get out of my own head,” Agholor said at his locker. “Pressing so much and worried about so many things. I got to go out there and (just) try to catch the ball ... because I’m thinking too much and got so worried.

“And it’s such a selfish thing that I need to stop. I need to give my energy to my teammates and this organization and not myself. I’m feeling so much pressure to make every single (play). Just have fun.”

Agholor, a first-round pick last year, has just 50 catches for 547 yards and two touchdowns to show for his first 23 NFL games.

No full-time starting wide receiver in the NFL has fewer yards than Agholor over the last two seasons.

But this was bad even for him.

With six minutes left in the second quarter on a 2nd-and-6, Carson Wentz and Zach Ertz appeared to hook up on a 57-yard touchdown play. The PAT would have given the Eagles a 14-13 lead.

But Agholor was called for lining up improperly — not covering the line of scrimmage.

Head coach Doug Pederson was yelling for Agholor to step up, but he never heard him and never moved.

“I should have checked with the ref,” Agholor said. “It’s usually the first thing I do when I line up. But I was just focused on what the coverage was, and I just didn’t do it. 

“That was disappointing because that was a big play and a mental error like that you can’t have. And I know better than that.”

On the first play of the next drive, after a Seahawks field goal made it 16-9, Wentz spotted Agholor crossing from right to left, as open as he’ll ever get.

Wentz put the ball right where he wanted, but it bounced off Agholor’s hands to the ground.

And that was pretty much it for Agholor and for the Eagles.

Agholor was asked how he got to this point.

“I did it to myself,” he said. “I started getting in my own head and trying so hard to think about being perfect, and when miscues were there, I let it just eat at me.

“I need to continue to work better at letting things go and just playing hard and practicing hard and letting the way I practice translate into Sundays.”

Agholor caught a 35-yard touchdown pass against the Browns on opening day but doesn’t have a touchdown since.

Which means Russell Wilson has more TD catches than Agholor over the past nine weeks (see standout plays)

Agholor has three career receptions over 21 yards. He has never had more than 65 yards in a game. 

The last five games, he’s averaged just 16.6 yards per game. The last two games, he has seven receiving yards.

Agholor was asked if he realizes how upset Eagles fans are with him.

“I apologize for that,” he said. “It’s just something that’s tough. They love this team and I love this team and they want this team to win games and because I’m a part of this team, I have a responsibility to them.

“Right now, I need to find a way to let go of my mental block and focus just on the moments that I have.”

Agholor was asked if he needs a change of scenery and he didn’t hesitate to say no.

“Football is a tough game for tough people,” he said. “No matter who I play for or where I’m at, I need to focus on understanding that it’s tough.

“I’m meant for this. My parents raised me for this. My other coaches I had before this, Coach (Doug) Pederson, Coach (Greg) Lewis prepared me for this moment. And I need to embrace that and take advantage of that.”

Agholor said he’s confident he’ll get through this.

“When you get through the storms, things clear up, and I really believe it’s going to clear up,” he said. “I just have to continue to fight. One thing I can’t do is give up.”

Carson Wentz returns to 11-on-11s, and there's even better news too

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AP Images

Carson Wentz returns to 11-on-11s, and there's even better news too

The good news is that Carson Wentz is participating in full-team 11-on-11 drills Sunday.

The better news is that Doug Pederson says it’s permanent.

“Every day, he’ll get a little something,” Pederson said.

Pederson said a week ago that he anticipated Wentz resuming full-team drills on his surgically repaired knee this week, and he said before practice that the plan was still in place, even though the Eagles practiced outdoors on rain-soaked fields Sunday.

It was their first practice since their preseason game Thursday night in Foxboro, Massachusetts, and it was closed to the media.

Pederson said it was a big step for Wentz to return to full-team drills. He said Wentz and Nick Foles would split reps Sunday with the first offense.

Does this mean he’s going to play against the Falcons in the opener?

It’s certainly a big step.

“It’s big,” Pederson said. “It’s big to begin to evaluate him and see where he’s at and get him back in there with the guys. 

“It’s still a slow process, but at the same time, it’s still exciting for us to get him back out there.”
 
Wentz, who tore his left ACL in Los Angeles on Dec. 10, participated in 11-on-11 drills July 26-28, but after the third day, Pederson shut him down, limiting him to only individual and 7-on-7 drills the last three weeks.

Pederson said it wasn’t a setback but that he had seen enough from Wentz.

But now, with opening day just 2 1/2 weeks away, Wentz is back doing full-team drills, and Pederson said everything he sees from Wentz is encouraging.

“His arm is live, he’s moving around well,” Pederson said.

He said Wentz will still be limited to how much full-team work he gets but will get some in every practice.

“He’s not going to get the full complement of reps,” Pederson said. “We’ll sprinkle him in in each drill.”

Pederson was asked what he learned by watching Wentz these last few weeks. 

“Quite a bit, actually,” he said. “His overall health, the strength of his knee, where he’s at physically. His arm is live, he hasn’t had all the reps … like Nick has had, like Nate (Sudfeld) has had, so he’s fresh. All the things where he wanted him to be at this stage.”

Wentz won’t play against the Browns on Thursday night, and Pederson said he doesn’t plan on playing him in the preseason finale, even if he’s fully cleared.

“Probably not,” he said. “We’re not there yet. We’re just going to take it day-by-day right now. … I haven’t thought beyond getting him out there today. We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.”

Wentz wasn’t made available to the media before or after practice Sunday. He’s scheduled to talk Monday.

Pederson said he knows Wentz was frustrated not being involved in team drills these past few weeks, but Pederson made it clear to the 25-year-old third-year pro that he wasn’t going to deviate from the plan.

“The biggest thing is communicating with him,” Pederson said. “Just saying, ‘Hey, here’s the plan, and this is the way it is and this is what we’re sticking to.’  

“If I were in his shoes, I’d probably want to be out there, too. But this is obviously for his health and benefit and his progress and the longevity of his career, so the biggest thing for me was just being honest and communicating with him up front.”

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Eagles Injury Update: Nick Foles was right about his right shoulder injury

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NBC Sports Philadelphia

Eagles Injury Update: Nick Foles was right about his right shoulder injury

Just a few days after Nick Foles was wincing in pain on the field at Gillette Stadium, he’s all good. 

It was just a minor shoulder strain. Foles will practice today. 

“He’s fine,” Pederson said. “Yeah, he’s good.”

Foles suffered the injury early in the second quarter. He was taken out of the game but was very optimistic late Thursday night. He was right about his injury. Tests showed it was minor, indeed. 

That’s obviously great news for the Eagles, who kept Foles as an expensive insurance policy for Carson Wentz. The Eagles still hope Wentz will be ready for Week 1, but if he’s not, they have a Super Bowl MVP to fall back on. 

As Wentz returns to 11-on-11 action today, he and Foles will split first-team reps “50-50,” according to Pederson.  

This afternoon, Pederson also updated a few other injuries: 

• Don’t expect to see Darren Sproles or Jason Peters at all this preseason. Pederson said he doesn’t need to see them in a game. Sproles and Peters are both over 30 and coming off ACL tears. 

“Overall, they’re great,” Pederson said. “Right on track. Both of them are healthy and doing a nice job. I don’t necessarily need to see these guys. These two guys have played a ton of games.”

Pederson said they see enough from those two players during practices, which can be tougher on them than an actual game. Pederson thinks they’re ready to play. 

• Tight end Richard Rodgers, who suffered a knee injury against the Patriots, is considered to be “week to week.” That means we might not see him for a while. If Rodgers isn’t healthy by the start of the regular season, the Eagles will have a decision to make. Maybe they keep a fourth TE for a little bit. 

• Corey Clement and Nelson Agholor are considered “day to day,” Pederson said. Both have lower-body injuries and didn’t play in Thursday’s game. If they don’t practice this week, expect them to miss this coming Thursday’s game in Cleveland. 

• Jalen Mills, who didn’t play Thursday after leaving Tuesday’s practice early, will practice today. He’ll be limited to individual periods and won’t get in for 11-on-11s. 

• While Pederson said Donnel Pumphrey is “doing good,” he probably won’t practice this week. That means he probably won’t play in another preseason game. Hard to make the team on the sideline.

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