As the 2020 season continues on, us Eagles fans can’t help but notice some of our former players lighting it up for other teams around the league.
The team cut both Sidney Jones and Rasul Douglas at the beginning of the season, only to see them go else where and be big time contributors. Douglas more so than Jones, but in Jones’ first start for the Jacksonville Jaguars, he snagged an interception and tacked on three pass breakups.
Aside from those two, there’s one other name that’s been making the rounds on Eagles Twitter lately: Nelson Agholor. In six games with the Las Vegas Raiders, Agholor has racked up 15 receptions for 292 yards (19.5 YPC) and 4 touchdowns. He has more touchdowns than any wideout on the Eagles roster, and it puts him on pace to have a career high in TD catches by season’s end.
Love him or hate him, Agholor had some really great moments during his five-year career in Philly as well. The 2017 season capped off with a 9 catch 84 yard performance in the Super Bowl, his two homages to DeSean Jackson on long touchdown receptions. The list goes on. But the drops and bone headed plays far outweigh the good from Agholor’s Eagles career.
He always had the talent, it was evident every time he had the ball in his hands. But truthfully, I just don’t think he was mentally tough enough to deal with the constant pressure from the Eagles fan base. I mean, what other fan base would call out one of their players during a news interview that was completely separate from football?
That’s about as Philly as it gets. And most former players will tell you, not everyone is built to play in this city. It’s a gift and a curse. Sometimes, we run players out of this city who truly didn’t deserve the level of criticism they got. And other times, when said player is run out of town, we never hear from them again.
About halfway through the 2020 season, and it seems the former may be more true in Agholor’s case. But like I said earlier, the pressure from this fan base may have just been too much for Agholor. Who’s to say we would be seeing the same kind of production this year had he stayed in Philly. It’s not all because of the fans, though. Some of Agholor’s bolstered productivity could be attributed to the new system he’s in and the variety of ways Jon Gruden is using him in Las Vegas. “We practice hard, and coach makes good calls to put me in position,” Agholor said following his season-high 107 yard performance on Sunday. “My role is wherever they want to use me.”
His role in Philly was clearly in the slot, where he was the most productive. The drops and the mental issues always seemed to pop up whenever he was asked to do anything outside of that. Considering how the Eagles coaching staff envisioned Agholor as purely a slot guy, coupled with the emergence of Greg Ward at the end of last season in the slot, it’s not hard to see why the team let Agholor walk.
Maybe new wide receivers coach Aaron Moorehead could’ve unlocked something in Agholor and got him to produce on the outside. Moorehead has done a marvelous job with the young receivers at his disposal this season, so that could’ve been a possibility. But let’s be honest with ourselves, if Agholor was still on this team, would we have ever heard the name Travis Fulgham? If Agholor would’ve stayed healthy, like he has this entire year for the Raiders, probably not.
What Fulgham has done in four games as an Eagle is unprecedented. He’s racked up 357 receiving yards, the only other Eagles wideout to record that many yards in his first four games as an Eagles is T.O.. Fulgham has solid speed, his body control is elite, and he’s really good at high pointing the ball. He’s the real deal, and his emergence should ease the pain of seeing one of our own produce for another franchise.
It’s a feel good story and you should feel happy for the guy. But why sit here and play revisionist history with yourself? It wouldn’t have been the same if Agholor stayed in Philly, he was never destined to become the No. 1 wideout here like we all hoped he would.
His departure has really benefitted both sides. Agholor is finding success on the West Coast, while the Eagles have the most exciting young receiving corps they’ve had in years.
We all know the saying, “when one door closes, another one opens.” But the full saying is, “when one door closes, another one opens, but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us.” Don’t let Agholor’s new found success take your eyes away from what’s in front of you. The Eagles are just fine at receiver moving forward, and the outlook for this receiving corps probably wouldn’t have been as bright if Agholor stuck around.