Nelson Agholor: Getting Benched Was An ‘Eye-Opener’
For the first time in his career, Nelson Agholor was a healthy scratch on Sunday after he admitted he was in his own head and was struggling to perform under the pressure that was being put on him. Doug Pederson decided to activate rookie undrafted free agent Paul Turner instead against the Packers, and while it’s unclear whether Turner will play over Agholor again this week, Agholor said the time off was helpful for him.
“It definitely was good because at the end of the day, one of the most special things with everything that’s been on was just to see how special of a team I’m on,” Agholor said. “I have great teammates, I have great people that coach me here and great people in this organization [who are] very close and they care. It’s great to see that. For me, right now the only thing that matters is to have faith and work. That’s all that matters.”
According to Agholor, Pederson told him on Sunday he wouldn’t play, a decision he “respected.” He says he didn’t view it as a punishment, and he took the opportunity to observe not just the Eagles’ receivers, but the Packers’ wideouts as well.
“Just watched the game and understood that my team needs me and I want to be there for my team,” Agholor said. “Some of the things that really stuck out to me was realizing a game that I love, I didn’t get a chance to play. So I have to make sure I seize that moment and seize this opportunity because regardless of whatever is going on, I want to play. I’m a competitor and I love football. I have fun playing football, so the fact that I didn’t get to play that day was an eye-opener. You got to make sure you always have fun every opportunity you do get to play.”
Agholor added he’s now putting an emphasis on having fun so he doesn’t overthink things, while Pederson noted he’s also trying to adjust Agholor’s mentality during games.
“It’s just [about] seeing it differently. The connection of not having the pressure of performing, not putting pressure on yourself to perform, and me not asking him to go perform that particular week. You see it in practice where we talk all the time about [playing] a service team. We hold up a card that says, ‘Hey, run this offense or run this defense.’ And receivers run it and sometimes they make great plays and you’re scratching your head going, ‘Wow, that was a nice play, a great route, a great play, and a great catch.’
“So the connection there is, play like you’re playing that route for us, as if it were a service team rep or as if it was a carded rep where you’re not thinking, you’re just going and reacting to what the defense or the offense presents. It’s easier said than done, obviously, but that’s how Nelson right now needs to attack this. That’s by just playing like you’re playing the service team, but obviously you’re doing it with our offense. And there’s a level of comfort there, knowing that you can just do it that way.”