Jay Ajayi arrived at the trade deadline in 2017, and the concern was how LeGarrette Blount would react to another running back taking his reps. Blount was fine with Ajayi’s arrival and the Eagles won Super Bowl LII a few months later.
Now, Golden Tate arrived at this year’s trade deadline, and the concern was how Nelson Agholor would react to another receiver taking his slot reps. Agholor seems to be just fine with it. More than fine, actually, and the Eagles …
The blank needs filled in. Will it be another Super Bowl?
If not, it won’t be because Agholor suddenly became disgruntled after Tate’s arrival.
“I know my skill set, I know what I put into my game, I know what you see every Sunday, and will continue to see,” Agholor told reporters on Monday. “I want to get better. Any individual coming in doesn’t make me a lesser football player. The number one thing in this league is win football games. You’re going to get yours.
“When you win, everybody eats. That’s the most important thing. We have to win football games. I’m going to have make plays that help him and he’ll have to make plays that help me.
"All I know is winning is important. If he’s going to help us win football games, which I believe he will, then that’s important to me because we win games, we all continue to contribute to that, it’s all going to work out. I like that we got a guy who will help us stay on the field.”
Agholor and Tate have known each other for a while. Agholor became familiar with Tate when he made one of his official recruiting trips to Notre Dame, where Tate had just left for the NFL.
So Agholor knows what Tate brings, and is not threatened in the least.
“As a football player, I won’t do anything different,” said Agholor. “I will continue to progress as a player. It doesn’t take away from my ability at all. I think as a coaching staff, they’re going to make a decision to put players in position to be successful, and I’m going to continue to be the player that I can be so they can utilize me to make plays.
“If anything, I know having a guy like him on my team will continue to increase my game, because I’m a student of the game. If there are things he can do that I don’t have in my game right now, I’m going to learn from it and I’m going to add that to my game. I’m going to adapt and get better.”
Agholor had a breakout season in 2017, with 62 catches for 768 yards (12.4 yards per catch) and eight touchdowns, including nine catches for 20-plus yards and two 50-plus grabs for touchdowns. He hasn’t been as explosive this season, but still, he has been productive with 41 catches for 372 yards (9.1 ypc) and one score.
Tate can play anywhere on the field, but primarily he is viewed as a slot receiver.
That may not be the case, though, according to Agholor.
“We want to carry versatile receivers,” sad Agholor. “I think that’s the best way to do it, because it’s about matchups, it’s about routes, and it’s about putting people in different conceptual places. You have concepts and you move guys around within the concept …. The days of playing outside are kind of dead. You want to be versatile. Look at the New England Patriots, look at teams that are really good. Schematically, they move their guys around and that’s what we want to be.”
So it will be up to the coaching staff, particularly head coach Doug Pederson and offensive coordinator Mike Groh to find a way to scheme up play designs where the receivers are capable of lining up inside and outside.
Asked if Tate and Agholor are similar and how they could possibly complement each other on the field, Groh said on Monday: “We think they're both dynamic players. The more dynamic players you can get on the field at one time, the harder you are to defend. They certainly do some similar things very well, but I think they've got different types of games, too. That’s the thing that we're working through over the next week or so. We're trying to put it all together for Sunday.”