Agholor dis­ap­pointed

Ea­gles re­ceiver looks to im­prove re­sults in his 3rd sea­son

The Hazleton Standard-Speaker - - NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE - BY ZACH BER­MAN THE PHILADEL­PHIA INQUIRER Tri­bune News Ser­vice

PHILADEL­PHIA — Nel­son Agholor’s se­cond sea­son with the Philadel­phia Eas­gles did not go as planned. He en­tered 2016 hope­ful that he could re­bound af­ter a dis­ap­point­ing rookie cam­paign in­ter­rupted by a vex­ing an­kle in­jury. In­stead, Agholor’s best game came in Week 1 and his sea­son was mired by mis­cues and a mid­sea­son cri­sis of con­fi­dence that caused a one-game bench­ing.

With more time and per­spec­tive, Agholor has bet­ter in­sight on what he be­lieved to be the prob­lem.

“It’ s some­thing that I should have just al­lowed to flow,” Agholor said dur­ing the last week of the sea­son. “I think too many times in the sea­son, when I was in those mo­ments, I was try­ing to be the con­troller of things. And I’m not ... I’m just a player, and this isa re­ac­tion game. When I go on the field, my only ob­jec­tive is to re­act. I know I have tal­ent, but I just re­act. I can’t con­trol what comes my way. I can’t con­trol ev­ery­thing. Think­ing too much al­most takes away those nat­u­ral abil­i­ties of re­ac­tion and in­stinct. Now that I’m away from it, I’m like, ‘Man, you know what you can do. Train, and let what you train show it­self on a Sun­day.’”

Agholor played 78 per­cent of the of­fen­sive snaps — the most of any wide re­ceiver on the ros­ter — but fin­ished fifth on the team in re­ceiv­ing with 36 catches for 365 yards and two touch­downs. Coaches praised his block­ing abil­ity on the perime­ter, which is essen­tially the Ri­ley Cooper treat­ment — a way of jus­ti­fy­ing a lot of play­ing time for not enough pro­duc­tion.

It was a new of­fense for Agholor, and he ad­mit­ted it took him time to fully un­der­stand what was ex­pected of him. But he moved around to dif­fer­ent spots, which he didn’t do as much of in his rookie sea­son, and he be­lieves a full off­sea­son the sys­tem will help him for next year.

“This will be an off­sea­son where I feel I’ ll be com­ing back to the same of­fense, so I have ex­pe­ri­ence in this of­fense, knowl­edge of this of­fense,” Agholor said. “As I train my routes and watch film, I watch film of my­self and how I can bet­ter do what I was try­ing to do out there.”

He said it would be im­por­tant to add mus­cle to his frame. Agholor is listed at 6 feet and 198 pounds. He said more weight is im­por­tant for break­ing tack­les in the re­turn game, which Agholor hopes to be a part of next sea­son.

He added that he also must “come to peace with my­self, with my life,” so that he’s not bat­tling any men­tal hur­dles next sea­son. That’s a ma­jor a point of em­pha­sis com­pared to last off­sea­son.

“I would say, just re­lax,” Agholor said. “Let the game be the game. One of the cra­zi­est things about this game is plays will be made, and you don’t de­ter­mine it some­times. They just get made, and you re­act to them. Op­por­tu­ni­ties come, and you run hard, you play hard, and you al­ways have a clear mind. Op­por­tu­ni­ties come, and you ex­e­cute them. I would tell my­self, ‘Hey, re­lax. Play hard. And things will come your way.’ ’’

Agholor will count $2.56 mil­lion against the salary cap next sea­son, but the Ea­gles would in­cur a $4.94 mil­lion salary cap hit if they re­leased him. The salary cap hit would be less bur­den­some if the Ea­gles traded him, which would give Agholor a change of scenery that could po­ten­tially ben­e­fit both sides. But Agholor has tal­ent — he was a first-round pick for a rea­son — and the Ea­gles could also be pa­tient and con­tinue de­vel­op­ing him. Changes are ex­pected at wide re­ceiver in 2017, but a changed Agholor would also be a good thing for the Ea­gles.

“I’m con­fi­dent I’ ll do ev­ery­thing in my power to be where I need to be,” Agholor said. “I love this team, and I would love to be part of what I’ve al­ready been a part of it.”

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Philadel­phia Ea­gles wide re­ceiver Nel­son Agholor (17) runs with the ball against the Cincin­nati Ben­gals dur­ing a game in De­cem­ber in Cincin­nati. Agholor is al­ready look­ing to­ward im­prov­ing his pass catch­ing num­bers next sea­son.

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