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August 18, 2021

Eytan Shander: This city should know better than most, give Jalen Reagor some time

Opinion Eagles
Jalen_Reagor_Eagles_Rams_Kate_Frese_092020 Kate Frese/for PhillyVoice

Jalen Reagor

We don’t learn from our mistakes.

I’m not entirely sure this is only a Philadelphia Eagles fan problem, as I’m willing to bet it’s a human race issue. We are knuckleheads at heart, who insist on repeating the same mistakes made, no matter how clear and bright the roadmap to avoidance may be.

As we hit the second week of training camp it’s clear to me that we are doing it again. To be fair, we did it last year too. But as the best example of this mistake is still on the team – notice I said example of the mistake, not the player being the mistake – we insist on strapping on our boots and doing it again.

Jalen Reagor is not Justin Jefferson. At this early point in their respective careers it looks like Reagor won’t be Jefferson, ever. But that’s ok. I’ve seen and heard people downplay the amazing Reagor highlights coming out of camp with some utterance of “Well, they still should have taken the other kid” to “He’s still a bust…”

Really? You do realize that Brandon Graham is still on this football team and has made a Pro-Bowl caliber career on a team whose fans spent years complaining about his very existence. The same kid – now aged vet – who did nothing but stay positive through it. He smiled in response to people saying his slot should have gone to Brian Dawkins 2.0 or something to that effect.

No, he didn’t need to be anything other than what Andy Reid drafted him to do, and Graham blossomed into it. A lot of people apologized and I’m hoping they aren’t in the “Reagor is a bust” camp. We got a lot of great years from a kid who was unnecessarily booed and hassled for simply not being another player.

Sound familiar?

“But Shander, come on, those guys didn’t play the same position, this is pretty much an even comparison.” — Yes, valid point but not one that trumps the argument. Jalen Reagor busting out of the NFL in three years would allow the proper amount of vitriol thrown at the team’s way for taking him. Focusing on only what Jefferson has done, with a better WR on the other side and a better QB – at least last year – throwing him the football, is a major mistake.

The reason being that Reagor hasn’t had any time to show what he can do with this team. That was kind of the theme to it all. A train wreck of a forgettable season where nothing worked out for the better. If we are not going to hold Hurts accountable for last year and still use terms like unknown to define him, we should apply the same line of thinking to Reagor.

For the first time this Summer we have hype videos of a Philadelphia athlete to believe in. I would bet money Reagor stands a better chance of a one-handed grab in the endzone than Ben Simmons does… well, really doing anything we saw in the latest piece of propaganda.

I look at this young man as a great microcosm for this upcoming season. It’s the perfect opportunity to let his game breathe, along with the rest of the team, and look for growth opportunities. Let’s see if he can step in and make life easier for Hurts, help win some games and ultimately not disappear out on the field.

Reagor doesn’t need to match Jefferson’s numbers this year to be successful. What the former first-round pick needs to do is help this team. It’s already a difficult task to live up to where he was drafted in the first place. Let’s not complicate it by adding unnecessary and non-valid criticism.

Grading the Week

• Bye, Phillies. 


• I strongly recommend you read everything Kyle Neubeck wrote about the Sixers hitting Joel Embiid with the super max but let me add my penny here. This was the only move to be made. It’s that simple. You take every single risk with the reward of locking up an MVP frontrunner. The team doesn’t have some perverted version of reality meant to fill up a sports talk radio show, where they could magically not sign Embiid and replace him with Kevin Durant. Embiid is special on the floor, but he also has this connection with the city we rarely see. This was the biggest no-brainer-must-move you will see this week, truly happy for all of us – fans too – involved. 


Follow Eytan on Twitter: @shandershow

You can listen to Eytan on The Middle w/ Brooks, Mayes and Eytan (Mon.-Fri., 11 a.m.-1 p.m.) and on @foxphlgambler (Mon.-Weds., 6-8 p.m.)

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