Doug Pederson Unsure If He’ll Bench Nelson Agholor vs. Packers
Doug Pederson remains unsure if Nelson Agholor will play against the Packers on Monday Night Football after the second-year receiver said he’s in his own head and pressure has negatively affected his play.
Agholor made the remarks after he committed a costly penalty and dropped a potential big-play ball in Seattle on Sunday, before the Eagles elevated practice squad receiver Paul Turner to the 53-man roster on Monday.
“I have not made a decision yet [if Agholor will play against Green Bay]. We brought Paul Turner up. I just got to wait and see by the end of the week how our numbers fall out,” Pederson said. “If I can carry five [receivers], I carry five; if it’s four, it’s four. We’ll see when we get to the game.”
If the Eagles do activate five receivers, Agholor will be available by default and would likely play. Turner would also likely get snaps at slot receiver while Jordan Matthews may move to the outside. However, if Pederson decides to only use four receivers on game day — as he has every week this season — he added it’s possible Agholor would be the odd man out.
“I still have confidence in him. We’ll see how the week goes,” Pederson said. “I just got to see from his standpoint how he handles this week. This will be a big week for him — how he handles it mentally, how he reacts with his teammates, how he reacts on the practice field, how well he responds and can he handle a little adversity in his career?”
Part of the decision to activate Agholor will depend on how healthy the Eagles’ running backs are. Both Ryan Mathews (knee) and Darren Sproles (rib) — along with Connor Barwin (knee), Leodis McKelvin (concussion) and Halapoulivaati Vaitai (knee) — will not practice on Wednesday. While Sproles appears likely to play, Mathews would have a small role against Green Bay even if he is available. If Mathews isn’t available, Pederson could use the extra spot to activate a fifth receiver.
But even if Agholor does play, it appears very unlikely he would be on the field for 85 percent of the offense’s snaps, which is his average through the first 10 games this season. Pederson also confirmed Agholor has seen a sport psychologist in the last couple of weeks.
“(Playing him less) is a real possibility. My concern with Nelson, too, is him as a person and where is he mentally as a person. I don’t want to expose him to anything that will hurt him as a human being,” Pederson said. “This is also about life and it’s about him as a person. It’s not so much about football anymore. I want to make sure Nelson is right as a person and if it means lessening the load, then I’ll lesson the load and try to take a little bit off of his plate.”