Nelson Agholor Responds to Questions about Effort and Struggles
Eagles receiver Nelson Agholor patiently answered questions for about 10 minutes on Tuesday, most of them about his effort in catching a deep pass from Carson Wentz against the Cowboys on Sunday night, others about why he has struggled somewhat in stepping up in the absence of DeSean Jackson.
When Agholor was finished, he said: “I left Dallas feeling like I played my ass off.”
Agholor was targeted four times and finished with two catches for 24 yards. The yardage total could’ve been a lot more had he hauled down a pass from Wentz that probably traveled about 60 yards in the air and was unleashed right before Wentz got belted by a Dallas defender.
The ball fell incomplete, however, as it appeared that Agholor, who had separated by several yards from Cowboys safety Jeff Heath, did not extend his arms, allowing the ball to fall harmlessly to the ground.
“When you watch tape, you learn from that and, as everybody’s giving their opinion, I hope I learn more only to get better,” said Agholor.
It’s a play that has drawn the ire of Eagles fans on social media.
“When I located the ball all I could do from that point on was dig, was to just try to run as hard as I can and I was running and running and I do not feel like I was in position with the way my stride was to leave my feet,” said Agholor. “For those that think they would’ve done that I think that’s respect to them.”
Agholor said he talked to Jackson, who suffered an abdomen injury in the first quarter against the Atlanta Falcons and hasn’t played since, about the pass.
“He said, ‘Nellie if you see it earlier, you may be able to run under it perfectly,’” said Agholor. “And it is what it is. Everybody’s going to have their opinion because that play was a play that we should’ve connected on. We would’ve loved to connect on it. We lost a football game so you’re going to highlight whatever you need to highlight when you lose a game and I respect that.”
Following the game, Wentz said he believed it was a touchdown when he let the ball go.
Agholor, who is being paid more than $9 million on the final year of his rookie contract and is expected to become a free agent after the season, said neither player was blaming the other for the misfire.
“We’re on two different pages in terms of when I saw it,” said Agholor. “He had to release it when he had to release it and I was still trying to defeat the man that in front to me, the deeper safety. I’m running at a safety that’s 25 yards deep in the post and I’m running vertical, rerouting from a linebacker, speed to him, selling the fake then trying to run across the field.
“If I could do it again, I would’ve had a little bit more urgency to speed that up. My quarterback’s going to throw it. He’s going to throw plays that he wants to be touchdowns and that’s what’s supposed to happen. He gave me a shot. I would say the same thing, I think if it’s in the air it should be touchdowns for us. We just didn’t connect.”
With Jackson out, Agholor is averaging just over three catches per game and his performance has seemingly lagged. He has 25 receptions for 254 yards (10.16 yards per catch) and three touchdowns.
Against the Lions, he lost a fumble.
Against the Falcons, he dropped a wide open pass down the sideline in the final minutes that could’ve been a potential game-winner.
While the results haven’t been there, Eagles offensive coordinator Mike Groh said on Tuesday that there should be no questioning Agholor’s effort.
“He's poured his heart and soul into this team over the last five years and done everything that he's ever been asked to do,” said Groh. “Because we didn't connect on that one, I don’t think is a reflection on what he's done for our team.”