Bounce Back

Posted: March 21st, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | Comments Off on Bounce Back

Nelson Agholor  was terrible in 2016. The low point came against Seattle, when he lined up incorrectly and that penalty erased a wild TD by Zach Ertz. Not catching the ball is bad, but when you can’t even friggin’ line up correctly? Ugh.

Luckily the Eagles didn’t banish Agholor to the ice caverns of Fridgia. Instead, they hired a new WRs coach and moved Agholor to the slot. I think the changes helped reset his mind and gave him a fresh outlook. Agholor became a key part of the offense in 2017 and now has a bright future.

The talent was always there. Something just wasn’t working right in 2016.

The Eagles have some other young players who are in a similar situation right now. No one is at rock bottom the way Agholor was, but there are some guys who need to get things turned around.

Isaac Seumalo

The Eagles thought they had their starting LG in Seumalo. Oops. He struggled in a big way and got benched after two bad starts. Seumalo really had a problem with physicality. Defensive linemen were able to push him around. This wasn’t due to a lack of strength, but rather not playing strong. Seumalo looked so polished, tough and confident as a rookie that it was very surprising to see him look so lost in 2017.

Seumalo got some time at RT and some later time at OG last year. He was the jumbo TE as well and that got him on the field almost every game. I thought he looked most comfortable at RT, as crazy as that sounds. I’m interested to see what the Eagles do with him this spring and summer. Do they make him strictly the backup C? Do they play him at RG? Does he see time at RT?

Seumalo showed real promise as a rookie, starting at multiple spots and always giving the team a good effort. Everyone expected him to take a big step forward last year. Didn’t happen. He took a step backward. The Eagles aren’t giving up on him, but he will have to earn his role this summer.

Wendell Smallwood

Another guy who showed serious promise as a rookie. Smallwood was expected to be a key part of the RB rotation last year. He struggled with some injuries and then got lost in the shuffle. The Eagles had a strong group of RBs and Smallwood couldn’t find his way onto the field.

Smallwood generated some buzz in Training Camp and that is one of the reasons people thought he might be ready for a breakout season. Just didn’t happen. Smallwood is now in line behind Jay Ajayi and Corey Clement, two other young RBs who have proven themselves to the Eagles. Smallwood will need to show a sense of desperation this spring. He has NFL talent. He just has to stay healthy and play at a consistent level. If that doesn’t happen, Smallwood will be looking for a new career.

Joe Walker

The Eagles used a 7th round pick on Walker in 2016 because they loved his athletic ability. Walker tore his ACL in the summer of 2016 and missed that year. He returned last year, but wasn’t all the way back. His athleticism was his best trait and it was missing. The Eagles kept him on the roster, hoping he would get better over the course of the season. Walker then had some nagging injuries to deal with and he went on IR late in the season.

Walker hasn’t played nearly as much as Seumalo and Smallwood so we really don’t have a feel for what he can and can’t do in the NFL. Walker must stay healthy this year to have any chance to make the team. He also needs to show he is all the way back from the ACL injury. If Walker doesn’t have his speed and agility, he’s a mediocre LB prospect. The Eagles would love him to play well and add to the depth at LB. It also helps that he’s cheap.

*****

Apparently Long is still trying to decide if he wants to play this year. I totally get that. Football is tough. You have to work incredibly hard to stay in shape and to hone your craft. Then you go out on Sunday and have 30 to 50 collisions with giant, angry humans. Millions of people scrutinize everything you do and say.

On the flip side, Long could go sit back and eat chocolate pudding and spend his days taunting Beau Allen on Twitter. Tough call.

I hope Long comes back for another season. I loved watching him play and he was a great leader, on and off the field.

Give us one more year, Mr. Long. And then I’ll send you my grandmother’s recipe for chocolate pudding.

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