We’re a long way from Jalen Reagor’s “That’s my dude” becoming a meme, the way Terrell Owens’ tearful “That’s my quarterback” did in 2008 with Dallas and QB Tony Romo after a playoff loss.
But Reagor made Zoom-weary Eagles reporters sit up and pay attention Tuesday, when he started talking about his budding relationship with quarterback Carson Wentz.
The team’s first-round rookie wide receiver hasn’t dominated the first two days of padded practices. He has, however, played as though he belongs on the starting unit, despite the lack of OTAs, minicamps, and preseason games.
“I feel like they’ve been two pretty solid days,” said Reagor, addingthat he understands he’s barely at the starting line, with a steep climb ahead to the Sept. 13 opener at Washington. “I’m taking it all in. I just go out there and play naturally, stick to what I know.”
Wentz spoke at length Monday about Reagor’s potential and how the speedy wideout has “really picked up on things really well.”
“He’s always listening, always curious about why we’re doing things a certain way, or how I saw a certain play,” Wentz said. “That’s the type of thing I look for, as a veteran, [in these] young guys. They truly want to learn, they want to grow, they want to be great.
“I see that in him. I see an extremely bright future with him, and I’m excited to help him become the player that he dreams of being.”
Reagor, 5-foot-11 and 197 pounds, said that he and Wentz are “figuring out each other.”
“Every receiver’s different. Every receiver has a different way of running routes, or a different way they do things. Carson, he kind of embraces that about me, like, ‘You’re this type of guy – I see it.’ … We just talk about certain ways I can run routes and get open and make plays. I feel like we’re gelling well,” Reagor said.
“I love Carson; that’s my dude. I look forward to a long, long career with him.”
What does Wentz tell him?
“We watch a lot of clips with our routes, and stuff like that. He’s just like, ‘You’re explosive like Julio [Jones], you can run fast, you can jump high. … He’s just saying, ‘Certain routes, certain people can’t run.’ He’s like, ‘You can run those routes,’ ” Reagor said. “He’s putting it all on me, so I’m willing to get better every day and work at it.”
Reagor was asked whether Wentz’s praise helps his confidence.
“Confidence is me. I walk around with confidence,” Reagor said. “… For him to see that in me? It just drives me to go harder, because I don’t want to be satisfied.”
Reagor has gotten some reps against Darius Slay, the man the Eagles envision as their long-sought shutdown corner. The rookie hasn’t seemed cowed.
“He’s a very lengthy corner, long arms. … He’s ultimately going to make game days easier for me,” Reagor said. “I look forward to going against him every day.”
Reagor is in the mix as a returner, with a lot of other new Eagles. Special-teams coordinator Dave Fipp finally has his choice of more than a few potential difference-makers there.
“To me it’s fun, to catch the ball and maybe make somebody look foolish,” Reagor said. He likened returning to the unstructured fun of backyard games from childhood.
If Reagor nails down the starting wideout spot he has right now, and also ends up factoring into the return game, that’s going to be a piled-high plate for a guy who wasn’t old enough to drink until Jan. 2.
“It’s mental. Not getting overwhelmed. It’s a lot, but it’s all what you make of it,” Reagor said. “I just look at it, I’m in this position for a reason. The coaches, this organization, they believed in me. I just try to make the best of every rep and every day entering this building.”
Wentz acknowledged Monday that impressed as he is with Reagor, and with the hunger to learn he sees in rookie wideouts John Hightower and Quez Watkins, there is no way a rookie can be as far along this August as he might have been, had there been no coronavirus restrictions.
“There’s no way to make up for the reps that you lose on the grass, the spring reps for those guys, post-draft, in here.Those are valuable, I’m not gonna lie,” Wentz said.
There is no use crying over spilt reps, Reagor said.
“I can’t sit here and complain [about the lack of offseason prep or a preseason],” he said. “I just have to show the coaches I can adapt. … I just get the job done, and that’s what I’m here to do.”