Following the Eagles disappointing loss to the New York Giants on Sunday, a lot fans were quick to point fingers. And most of them were pointed at the guy who dropped back-to-back game winning touchdowns, Jalen Reagor.
Reagor hasn’t had many opportunities like this in his career. He’s just not the guy you want to go to with the game on the line. But he finally got a chance on Sunday, and he completely faltered under the pressure.
Maybe he’s just not that good, which is certainly possible. He’s currently ranked 116 out of 127 qualifying wideouts on Pro Football Focus. But Reagor’s issues seem to run deeper than just physical ability.
He just doesn’t seem to be mentally engaged at this point. His wishy washy post game press conference speaks to that.
We know he had a tough time dealing with the social media scrutiny during his rookie season. He often fired back at fans voicing their displeasures with his play. His head coach at TCU, Garry Patterson, even warned us about Reagor’s tendency to read too much social media. During an interview on 94.1 WIP following the 2020 NFL Draft, Patterson spoke highly of Reagor, but also had some pretty interesting nuggets that still reign true.
“He’s pretty quiet,” Patterson said of Reagor’s personality. “I would tell him to stay off Twitter. My advice to all of our guys to go and keep your mouth shut and play. We all know the historical background of Philly fans and they like a toughness to their teams, and he needs to be that guy.”
Patterson also spoke candidly about Reagor’s involvement in TCU’s offense during his final season, and what attributed to his drops and lack of production. “As he did in the combine, he dropped some balls this year,” Patterson said. “His production, we should have used him a lot more. We probably hurt him in his senior year. When he’s into it, he has good hands. This year we played with a true freshman and so it was hard to evaluate, because I think we hurt his potential because of the rest of the offense. We underachieved there. We’ve gotta play better and I think that hurt Jalen.”
The sentence that really stands out, “When he’s into it, he has good hands,” says it all.
If Reagor isn’t heavily involved in an offense and his confidence is low, he won’t be as engaged and he’ll fail to make plays. He hasn’t been a focal point of the Eagles offense at all this year and his confidence has likely been shot because of it.
At this point, continuing to play Reagor every week doesn’t seem like the right course of action. Perhaps it’s time to treat Reagor like Doug Pederson treated Nelson Agholor during his first season as the Eagles head coach. Sit him down for a week or two and allow him to take the game in from a different vantage point. Give him some space to calm down and get mentally rejuvenated.
There are a lot of parallels between Reagor and Agholor. Both were first round picks and both were considered busts not even two full years into their careers. Agholor turned it around after Pederson sat him down, maybe Reagor can do the same. The Eagles should be willing to try anything to salvage this situation.