Training Camp Thoughts Day 8: Tough Love Works with Jalen Reagor

Jalen Reagor had his best day of the summer on Thursday
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PHILADELPHIA - A day after some on-field tough love from the head coach, Jalen Reagor finally looked like the explosive player the Eagles envisioned when they took him at No. 21 overall in the 2020 draft.

It wasn't all great for Regaor but it was a sharp turn from the first seven days of camp when an off-the-field issue was affecting the second-year receiver, who ultimately failed his conditioning test and missed a number of days in the team drills.

The ramp-up period for Reagor was a slow one and it reached a low point when Nick Sirianni blew up after a missed assignment from Reagor at Wednesday's practice.

"Just the conversations on the field, I'll keep them on the field," the coach said before practice. "I told the wide receivers (Wednesday), we were in our film session making our corrections like we do all the time. And I said, ‘Guys, this was taught to me a long time ago as a coach: the player and the coach that is the hardest to play or coach is the one that your head coach played or coached.’

"So quarterbacks, I'm talking to you guys, too, because I've coached that position. Wide receivers, I'm talking to you. The standard is high. The standard is high of what we want and sometimes those conversations happen like that, but it's all out of just one thing is to get the guys as good as we possibly can get them and get them better."

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About 24 hours after being scolded Reagor was making the catch of camp during one-on-one red-zone work, a brilliant one-handed stab out of the air from Nick Mullens with Darius Slay in blanket coverage that drew an awe-inspiring murmur from the fans in attendance.

Later in the same drill, Reagor lost Slay with a brilliant route that left the WR wide open for a touchdown but the football was dropped.

Reagor was very frustrated but didn't stew in that frustration. In team drills later in the practice, Reagor snared a downfield pass from Joe Flacco and Sirianni was among the first to greet the WR during the celebration.

Reagor's performance seemed like a win for the coach's management style, something he explained to SI.com's EaglesMaven before the session.

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"To say that you're going to coach everybody, the exact same, it's just not -- it's again where I'm glad to have my background in teaching, right, and education. It's just not done that way," Sirianni explained. "The only thing that's important is that the coaching point goes through and that the player gets better from it.

"And so every player is handled differently and that's why it always starts with a connection. And like, because you've got to know the player that you're coaching to be able to reach him. So that's why I think that's so important."

BAD NEWS FOR TAYLORS

It wasn't a great day for the Taylors.

Cornerback Shakial Taylor was waived before practice started and linebacker Davion Taylor celebrated his 24th birthday while watching practice with a boot on his right leg.

Davion, the wildly athletic second-year LB, had been getting plenty of first-team reps in the opening days of camp before a quad injury slowed him down. He tried to push through that on the field when he hurt the calf and now Taylor is listed as week-to-week moving forward.

Certainly being on a boot doesn't leave much room for optimism.

The off-ball LB positions have been a constant rotation to date with Eric Wilson and TJ Edwards getting the first-team reps Thursday.

Alex Singleton, meanwhile, is in the ramp-up period from the Reserve/COVID-19 list and is expected to be activated in the coming days. The Eagles created a roster spot for that eventuality by releasing Shakial Taylor.

In other injury news, two players that had big plays in Wednesday's practice paid for it. Rookie LB JaCoby Stevens, who intercepted Hurts on Wednesday, is week-to-week with a hamstring, and receiver John Hightower, who caught a great go-ball from the presumptive QB1 yesterday, was forced to leave Thursday's session early with an unknown injury.

John Hightower reaches up to make a catch at Eagles camp

John Hightower is sidelined with an undisclosed injury

OFFENSE INSTALLED

Sirianni explained before the session that he had eight install practices for his offense and once Thursday was finished, his full offense will have been taught to the team.

Among the notable final wrinkles were end-around snaps to the speedier receivers like Reagor and Quez Watkins.

"Week one and through week one is an install, he said. "We have eight installs, just so you guys know. We have eight installs and we're going through those day-by-day. It's not like we are getting a ton of repeats of install one because you have to get the reps in of what you're getting at."

The biggest play in team drills was Joe Flacco flushing right to extend the play and finding Greg Ward deep down the field for a TD.

LT UPDATE

It was a Jordan Mailata day and that makes it an even 4-4 for him and Andre Dillard through the install period.

From the outside looking in, Mailata has had the significant early advantage but there was a little bit of a hiccup Thursday when camp star Josh Sweat raced around the Mailata on the edge and forced a hurry ultimately resulting in a batted ball at the line of scrimmage by Milton Williams.

After practice the 6-foot-8, 370-pound Mailata proved his security company is better than Boston Scott's fledgling side hustle.

PRACTICE GAME BALL

Let's give it to Reagor, who took some hard coaching and turned it into his best day of the summer. The former TCU star will need to keep stacking days because Sirianni needs him to be a big part of the offense.

John McMullen contributes Eagles coverage for SI.com's EagleMaven and is the NFL Insider for JAKIB Media. You can listen to John, alongside legendary sports-talk host Jody McDonald every morning from 8-10 on ‘Birds 365,” streaming live on both PhillyVoice.com and YouTube. John is also the host of his own show "Extending the Play" on AM1490 in South Jersey. You can reach him at jmcmullen44@gmail.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen

Ed Kracz is the publisher of SI.com’s Eagle Maven and co-host of the Eagles Unfiltered Podcast. Check out the latest Eagles news at www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles or www.eaglemaven.com and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.