Jalen Reagor Responds to Criticism From Eagles Fans

Jalen Reagor

Getty Eagles rookie Jalen Reagor caught his first NFL TD against the Cowboys in Week 8.

There was a lot of awkward back and forth last year between Jalen Reagor and Philadelphia Eagles fans. The team’s top draft pick fought back from two nagging injuries, then endured a late-season quarterback change.

The speedy receiver finished with 396 receiving yards and just one touchdown in his rookie year. In addition to thumb and shoulder injuries, Reagor had to deal with the ire of a Philly fan base who kept unfairly comparing him to Justin Jefferson. He took aim at a few vocal fans before eventually scrubbing his social media accounts clean. He still rarely posts on Twitter and follows just 306 people.

On Tuesday, Reagor addressed that messy situation and what he’s been up to in the post-Carson Wentz offseason. Expect a whole lot of improvement in all areas. “Incline” was the key word he used.

“You can look at it two ways, people can say whatever they want to say but if you respond, you’re wrong,” Reagor said of the criticism. “But it is what it is. I know I can do better. That’s why I attacked this offseason the way I did. We’ll see if everybody has the same energy after the season.”

Reagor used the slights as motivation throughout the offseason. He stated his main goal was to become a “complete wide receiver” and spent time working out with teammates like Quez Watkins, Greg Ward and Jalen Hurts. He plans to wear last year’s scars as badges of honor in 2021.

“The little injury bug that I had, you gotta go through stuff to be somebody,” Reagor said. “So I feel like that was a test of my character and me being healthy — the best ability is availability — so as long as I’m healthy, then I feel everything is going to go great.”

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Reagor Previews Offense, Moving to Slot

There was a perception that Doug Pederson’s offense had grown stagnant, a bit too vanilla by the end of the year. The Eagles drafted Reagor to be a speed receiver on the outside and never experimented with moving him around the formation. New head coach Nick Sirianni — a former college wide receiver himself — has said that won’t be the case in Year 2.

Reagor confirmed that his expanded role will include playing in the slot on certain downs and distances. In fact, all of the Eagles wideouts will be used as interchangeable parts. The confident 22-year-old attempted to offer a sneak preview of Sirianni’s offense.

“Every offense has similarities. The only thing that is pretty much different this year is just me being in the slot,” Reagor said. “Honestly, I feel like it’s going to make the whole team better, not necessarily me being in the slot but every receiver being interchangeable. It makes us all dangerous parts.”

Pederson kept the burner from Texas Christian solely on the outside, something that may have held Reagor back in 2020. He cited better “energy and communication” when talking about the new coaching staff in Philadelphia. Sirianni and company have been big on building chemistry and camaraderie.

“They do everything with intent,” Reagor said of the coaching staff. “They just don’t tell you to do something. They tell you why you’re doing it and it’s appreciated on my part.”

Forming ‘Great Duo’ with DeVonta Smith

The fact that the Eagles used another first-round pick on a receiver — one year after taking Reagor at 21st overall — could have been seen as a slap in the face. Maybe they didn’t have confidence in him to bust out in 2021 after what was widely considered a disappointing rookie year.

But Reagor didn’t view it that way. He’s known DeVonta Smith since high school from attending football camps together and following Smith’s college career. Reagor sees the makings of a dynamic pass-catching duo for years to come.

“We’re going to be a great duo,” Reagor said. “I’m looking for him to have success and I’m sure he’s looking at me the same way. So, like I said, I’m happy to have him here.”

Smith and Reagor are likely to line up as the starting X and Z receivers in Week 1. Not that those titles mean much in this offense. The bigger part of that equation is how they mesh with new starting quarterback Jalen Hurts. That process has been going incredibly well, with Reagor calling Hurts a “natural born leader.”

“He’s not too serious, but he’s not too jokey,” Reagor said. “He does everything with intent. His morale, his personality … everyone is just going to gravitate toward him. He’s a natural born leader. Everything is just looking like success.”


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