Eagles Sign Paul Turner; Doug Pederson Doesn’t Rule Out Benching Nelson Agholor
Eagles fans can finally rejoice: cult-hero practice squad wide receiver Paul Turner has been signed to Philadelphia’s active 53-man roster. In order to make room for Turner, the Eagles released cornerback Aaron Grymes.
“Right now, with some of the injuries that we have at other spots, and we’re constantly evaluating the roster and seeing where we are there, we gave him some work last week in practice and just feel like this is a good opportunity now not only for him but for us to see where he’s at, see what he can do and give him an opportunity,” said Doug Pederson. “We’ll give him some work this week and make a decision on whether he’ll be [active for the game] or not later in the week.”
Turner’s promotion comes one day after Nelson Agholor mightily struggled in the Eagles’ loss to the Seattle Seahawks. It seems possible Turner’s call up could coincide with a decreased role for Agholor. Pederson did not rule out the possibility of benching the 2015 first-round pick.
“Sometimes, sometimes — and this is just me speaking, it’s not a decision by any means — but sometimes you have to take a step back in order to go forward,” said Pederson. “Sometimes that can help clear your head. I remember as a quarterback back in 1999 when Andy [Reid] pulled me out and put Donovan [McNabb] in, it was a step back to possibly go forward and see it differently. And that way, too, you can begin to clear your head and see it where you don’t have the pressure of performing on your all the time.”
Pederson added that he hasn’t made a decision on Agholor’s playing time yet. He said he’s going to speak with Agholor and make a call later in the week. The Eagles head coach said he’s more concerned with Agholor’s mind-set after the 23-year-old admitted his mental struggles following Philadelphia’s loss.
“I will definitely have a conversation with Nelson and I’ll address that as we get later in the week,” said Pederson. “Those are definitely concerns that I have, now that he’s obviously come out and said that publicly. My concern is for him as an individual, as a person. I want to make sure he’s in a good spot. Hey, listen, put football aside. We all know about that. But I want to make sure him as a person, he’s doing good. So we’ll have that conversation during the week.”
Agholor is certainly playing poorly enough to be benched. Not only has he struggled to make an impact all season, but he’s also making huge mistakes such as the killer illegal formation penalty that wiped out a go-ahead touchdown for Philadelphia on Sunday. He’s actively hurting the Eagles when he’s on the field.
Turner likely isn’t going to be the solution to the Eagles’ lackluster receiving corps. The undrafted rookie free agent from Louisiana Tech has spent all season on the practice squad for a reason. But Turner did show some promise in the preseason. At the very least, he showed he has the ability to catch a football, which is something that Agholor has routinely struggled to do throughout his career (four drops this season). Agholor seems like a lost cause right now so the Eagles might as well give Turner a try.
“He’s done well, “said Pederson of Turner.” You know, gosh, he’s made plays on service team, going against our defense. A lot of times when you’re going against starters in practice, you get a good look at your young players that way, and he’s done a nice job. Even last week in practice, we were able to kind of interject him into some of our offensive practice work and see where he’s at. He’s obviously a sharp kid and [we’re] looking forward to giving him some more time this week.”
EAGLES INJURY UPDATE
Pederson said Ryan Mathews is day-to-day with a right knee injury. Reports indicate Mathews may have suffered an MCL sprain. Darren Sproles, meanwhile, suffered a rib injury.
“Much like Brent Celek, his [injury] is a seventh rib fracture,” said Pederson of Sproles. “It’s more in a safe area, I guess. It sounds bad but it’s more in a safer area than what Brent Celek’s is. We’ll hold him from practice on Wednesday, Thursday and just see where he’s at later in the week but he should be fine for the game.”
The other big injury news is that right tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai suffered a grade 2 MCL sprain. Pederson described him as week-to-week. If ‘Big V’ can’t play, Pederson said the Eagles will move starting left guard Allen Barbre to right tackle with Stefen Wisniewski filling in at left guard. Pederson also said rookie blocker Isaac Seumalo will get some snaps.
Starting cornerback Leodis McKelvin left the Eagles’ Week 11 game with a concussion and now must pass through the league’s mandatory protocol before being cleared to return.
Connor Barwin sustained a bone bruise during the Eagles-Seahawks game and will miss two days of practice but should be fine to play.
Malcolm Jenkins (knee), Zach Ertz (knee), and Terrence Brooks (hamstring) are all fine.