PHILADELPHIA – Nick Sirianni put Jalen Reagor on notice early in training camp when, five times in one answer, the Eagles coach threw out the word, “battling.”
Perhaps the much-maligned Reagor caught it. The word that is, because on Tuesday, the first time the Eagles practiced in full pads, he went out and caught everything thrown his way.
Reagor was the standout of Day 5, along with quarterback Jalen Hurts.
Sirianni painted a picture on Saturday of a receiver in jeopardy of making the team.
“We have great depth at the wide receiver position.,” said the coach. “He's battling. He's battling for a spot, and he is working with the twos right now. He's gotten a lot of balls over the last two days out here, so he's done a nice job and he is battling for a spot, he’s battling for his return spot.
"He's worked hard in the offseason to come back in great shape. That's something that we all noticed in the conditioning test, how good of shape Jalen was in. Yeah, he's just battling for a spot.”
Before getting too excited, remember that Reagor battled last summer, too.
Remember the one-handed grabs in the end zone?
How about the confidence that seemed to ooze from him alongside the gallons of sweat that the ever-present August humidity in South Philadelphia produces?
So far, this summer Reagor has repped with the second team and has acquitted himself nicely.
He got some reps with the first team on Tuesday after Quez Watkins left early with an illness and Zach Pascal was unavailable yet again as he recovers from food poisoning. Greg Ward was also out with a toe injury.
“He’s done a great job,” said offensive coordinator Shane Steichen about Reagor before practice. “He comes out, he’s a hard worker, he battles every single day. You can still see everything he's got, the explosiveness. He's made a whole bunch of plays in training camp so far, so he's got to continue to keep doing that.”
It really isn’t about talent for Reagor. He has that.
It’s been about confidence and usage. It’s been about lack of consistency and sometimes sloppy efforts in route running.
If ever there was a day for him to talk with reporters, it would have been after Tuesday’s practice. Yet, he has yet to be made available by the Eagles PR staff.
Perhaps it’s simply an indication that he wants to keep full focus on the task at hand without interruption. It would be hard to fault him if that was the case.
Perhaps he recognizes that his chances are dwindling.
Nobody out there wants to trade for him. Or at least give up what Roseman wants to get for him.
Maybe it is sinking in for him that he is entering his third season and hasn’t done much to prove he can be the player many thought he would be when he was at Texas Christian.
Some have equated Reagor’s situation to another first-round pick of the Eagles – Nelson Agholor.
Their numbers are eerily similar in their first two seasons:
Reagor: 64 catches, 695 yards, three touchdowns.
Agholor: 59 catches, 647 yards, three touchdowns.
Even their draft status is close, with Reagor picked 21st overall in 2020, Agholor 20th overall in 2015.
Agholor broke out in his third season, at the age of 24, with 62 receptions, 768 yards, and eight touchdowns. He had a team-high nine catches for 84 yards in the Super Bowl LII shootout win over the Patriots.
This is Reagor’s third year, so maybe, just maybe this will be his breakout season, at the age of 23.
Ed Kracz is the publisher of SI.com’s Fan Nation Eagles Today and co-host of the Eagles Unfiltered Podcast. Check out the latest Eagles news at www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles or www.eaglesmaven.com and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.