Rookie QB Wentz has Agholor look­ing up

With new quar­ter­back un­der cen­ter, the re­ceiver is feel­ing op­ti­mistic

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Bob Grotz bgrotz@21st-cen­tu­ry­ @BobGrotz on Twit­ter

PHILADEL­PHIA >> Nel­son Agholor has found a rea­son to play.

Unof­fi­cially it’s Ea­gles rookie Car­son Wentz.

Agholor caught four of five passes Wentz threw his way in the Ea­gles’ 29-10 drub­bing of the Cleve­land Browns Sun­day at Lin­coln Fi­nan­cial Field. Three of those re­cep­tions went for 22 yards. The fourth catch, a 35yard touch­down, not only broke the game open but made Agholor feel like he be­longed.

“It was an amaz­ing ball by Car­son and then even greater for him was to give me an op­por­tu­nity,” Agholor said. “And I’m very grate­ful. He had two re­ceivers to throw to and he gave me an op­por­tu­nity. For me, that play, and for those to be the re­sults, it’s grat­i­fy­ing be­cause now it re­minds you when you go back to prac­tice you have to con­tinue to pre­pare like the way I did to get those re­sults.”

Sam Brad­ford could not imme-

“He had two re­ceivers to throw to and he gave me an op­por­tu­nity. For me, that play, and for those to be the re­sults, it’s grat­i­fy­ing be­cause now it re­minds you when you go back to prac­tice you have to con­tinue to pre­pare like the way I did to get those re­sults.” – Ea­gles WR Nel­son Agholor

di­ately be reached for com­ment.

No Ea­gles re­ceiver from the Chip Kelly era had been less con­sis­tent than Agholor, who typ­i­cally would make a de­cent play, only to be fol­lowed with an en­core that left you shak­ing your head and ask­ing why?

There were passes Agholor could have caught but in­stead tipped and be­came in­ter­cep­tions. There was the daz­zling one-handed catch against Washington fol­lowed by a fum­ble on a trick play and a loss for the Ea­gles.

The Ea­gles are hop­ing Agholor’s touch­down grab

against the Browns, one in which he beat stand­out cor­ner Joe Haden to the py­lon, de­fines the rest of his ca­reer.

“I feel like Nel­son came out and played a great game,” said Jor­dan Matthews, who caught 7 passes for 114 yards, in­clud­ing a 19yard score. “He’s not wor­ried about the fact that that’s one of the best cor­ners in the league against him. Nel­son did his thing and then Car­son put it where it had to be. I feel like that play was re­ally big for us. I think it re­ally gave us a lot of en­ergy.”

Agholor played 67 of the 77 of­fen­sive snaps. Matthews, who played 71, was the only skills player to get more snaps.

Agholor didn’t have a great pre­sea­son. Some won­dered if Chip Kelly’s 2015

first-round pick would be traded. Agholor in his rookie year seemed any­thing but a deep threat ex­cept for his 53-yard TD grab last year against an in­jury-plagued Bills sec­ondary.

Ea­gles wide re­ceivers coach Greg Lewis, at least for one week, con­vinced Agholor to get over the past and keep pound­ing the rock in prac­tice. Only then do good things hap­pen such as the back-break­ing TD on the Browns.

“It was some­thing I’ve trained all week for,” Agholor said. “G-Lew works on me with it every day. We work on stance and start every day in prac­tice. And I’d been ex­plod­ing off the ball for the two quarters be­fore that. I felt like Joe had seen me ex­plode off the ball so he

had to be on his Ps and Qs and the op­por­tu­nity came where it was a footrace and I got to do a re­lease and it was a footrace.”

Tight end Zach Ertz made two se­ri­ously tough catches in the opener. His one­handed, over-the-shoul­der grab was the first com­ple­tion of Wentz’s pro ca­reer. It fol­lowed a drop by Matthews. Ertz’s se­cond big grab was a five-yarder on fourth-and-four at the 40yard line of Cleve­land. On the next play, Wentz went up top to Agholor to give the Ea­gles a 12-point lead.

Ertz’s re­ac­tion was to talk about Wentz and then Agholor.

“I was re­ally happy for Nel­son to get that touch­down,” Ertz said. “He’s worked so hard this off­sea­son

to just be bet­ter with his hands and men­tally be bet­ter, and I thought he did an un­be­liev­able job.”

It’s early but Agholor has a pur­pose to play for in Wentz, and that’s good news for the Ea­gles.

“Car­son’s the type of quar­ter­back that he’s go­ing to give you a shot and you bet­ter be ready,” Agholor said. “So that’s my mind­set every time I line up with Car­son. There are no plays off. When you know that we’re throw­ing the foot­ball, ev­ery­body is a vi­able op­tion.”

*** NOTES » Hard to be­lieve that Ertz played just 60 of 77 of­fen­sive snaps Sun­day. Tight end Brent Celek and run­ning back Dar­ren Spro­les played just 38 snaps each. Run­ning back Ryan Mathews played 37 snaps, 22 of them rushes. Mathews gained 77 yards and scored a TD … Ea­gles cen­ter Ja­son Kelce ap­pre­ci­ated the work of 335-pound de­fen­sive tackle Beau Allen, who helped clear the way for Mathews’ one-yard rush­ing touch­down in the fourth quar­ter. “Honey Beau-Beau,” Kelce said, “is the best full­back in the league.” … Safety Mal­colm Jenkins and the Ea­gles shut out Browns Pro Bowl tight end Gary Barnidge. Barnidge was tar­geted twice and dropped both passes … Speak­ing of snaps, the Philly de­fense was on the field for just 51 in the opener. Last year the D av­er­aged a shade un­der 76 snaps thanks to Chip Kelly’s up-tempo, three-and-out of­fense.


Ea­gles wide re­ceiver Nel­son Agholor, left, scored on this se­cond-half catch Sun­day. The touch­down helped the Birds win, 29-10, and made Agholor feel a con­nec­tion with rookie quar­ter­back Car­son Wentz.

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