Early Birds: Nelson Agholor's development; Carson Palmer on Eagles' secondary; Cardinals going deep
1) Nelson Agholor caught the first touchdown of his NFL career Sunday. The rookie has had a slow start to the season, which was also affected by an injury in October. When asked what what's different now compared to the beginning of the season, Agholor said it's how quickly he's moving on the field.
"I'm moving faster now because I play with lack of hesitation compared to then," Agholor said. "Then, I tried to move fast, but I played with more of, 'I'm going to make sure I'm right.' There was a little more hesitation than I do."
Agholor said he knew the transition from college to the NFL would be "a big jump." Agholor said the three months in the league have allowed him to "grow up" because he's "seen more." The injury affected him – high-ankle sprains can do that to a skill-position player – but he has only 11 catches in the five games since returning. The positive is that Agholor matched a season-high with six targets on Sunday, and there's hope in the building that touchdown could be a sign of what's to come.
"I think I still got to do a better job capitalizing on opportunities," Agholor said. "That's all it is. My touchdown was an opportunity in which I made a play. I've been given more opportunities, and sometimes I don't capitalize. …I think I get enough opportunities. I just need to make more plays."
2) This is the third consecutive season Carson Palmer is playing against the Eagles. During those three years, there have been considerable changes in the Eagles' secondary. And when Palmer studied the Eagles this week, he noticed how the Eagles have tried to change that unit.
"I think [Malcolm] Jenkins is a phenomenal football player – a really good safety, really good in nickel packages, I assume he'll be in on Larry [Fitzgerald] – a really good player," Palmer said. "[Byron] Maxwell has really come along and gotten better. Just watching him the last two months, he's really come along and made a ton of plays. The young guy, [Eric Rowe], on the other side, he doesn't look like a rookie, he doesn't play a rookie. And then 26 [Walter Thurmond] is playing really good football. He's the safety you want now. You don't want the big, heavy-hitter guys. You want the ballhawk guys that cover a lot of group. He looks like a very rangy, ballhawk-type guy. Just a very, very good secondary personnel wise."
3) The Eagles defense has done better against X-plays this season, but they've still popped up at times. Watch out for them Sunday against the Cardinals, who like to throw deep. The Eagles lost to the Cardinals last season on a 75-yard touchdown pass from Palmer to John Brown late in the fourth quarter.
The Cardinals have a league-high 59 completions of more than 20 yards and 13 completions of more than 40 yards.
"We know Arizona's going to take 6-to-8 shots a game. That's what they do," Eagles defensive coordinator Bill Davis said. "That's part of the reason they are the No. 1 offense in the NFL in a lot of categories right now. We've got to stayed disciplined. On that one we just didn't have good eye discipline; we were in quarters coverage and really should have had two guys deep on it.
"They have got great speed and ran behind us and then it was a great vertical throw on us to really put them ahead to win the game. We just have to play with more discipline and responsibility and take care of our own -- like we did the other night -- and make the plays. They make a lot of plays down the field. We've got to go up and make those plays."