Nelson Agholor pledges to play even faster in second season with Patriots


“I’m excited to have my best season with the Patriots and show why I’m here.”

New England Patriots wide receiver Nelson Agholor runs with the ball during the team’s wildcard playoff football game against the Buffalo Bills. AP Photo/Adrian Kraus

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Nelson Agholor is hearing all the speculation about his future with the Patriots after DeVante Parker was traded and Tyquan Thornton was drafted this offseason. At the end of the 2022 season, Agholor will hit free agency again.

But he intends to let the media focus on that.

“I’m here for a reason,” he said, and worrying about the salary cap or who might take his job, right.

“I love the opportunity given to me to be a Patriot, to work hard. And the best part about it: Year 2 in the Patriots system is when guys really get going. I’m feeling good. I’m excited to have my best season with the Patriots and show why I’m here.

Last year, Agholor, entering his eighth season in the NFL, struggled to make much hay on the Patriots’ offense. Although he excelled at opening things up for others, he didn’t put in many numbers himself (37 catches for 473 yards and three touchdowns) while being widely used as an off-the-numbers receiver.

But rather than lamenting the past, Agholor chose instead to look back.

“[Last season] went as it was supposed to for me growing up. I can’t really see it any other way,” he said of his 2021 campaign. “I needed to grow. I needed to adapt. I needed to be able to do what I wanted to do. I think everything happens for a reason. I’m not going to get upset about this or that because it’s in the past. What I have in front of me is a really wonderful opportunity this year to be who I’m meant to be and play the way I want to play.

Some of that improvement, he said, will simply come from knowing the Patriots’ playbook and course tree, which he says is “unique” compared to other teams, better than the last season and “to put my own spin on how we do things and play fast.”

He could also see more time moving into the offense thanks to the arrival of Parker, who was in the same draft class as Agholor and another Adidas signee, as a wide receiver ‘X’. size that the Patriots didn’t have. Last year.

On top of that, he also spoke about the importance of bringing Mac Jones into this season as the undisputed starter after snatching the job from Cam Newton in 2021.

“We know each other…we know who the quarterback is,” he said. “And I think we have a good opportunity to take our level of communication to another level.

“I like the way [Mac] communicates,” he added, praising Jones’ training habits and leadership during the offseason. “It’s something that allows you to grow and work together, because communication is the key to any good relationship. He does a great job of telling me what he sees. He does a great job of telling me what he likes about what I do… And once you know, it’s less of a blur.

Of course, it could help if there was more clarity with the offensive coaching staff and play calls this season and how they could help Agholor improve. (He predictably deflected questions about who would call offensive plays or coach receivers this season.)

It’s also possible that Thornton will be so electric that the Patriots end up putting him on the field at Agholor’s expense.

But as things stand, the speedy veteran looks like a decent bet to stay with New England through the 2022 season. He and the Patriots need to find a way to make the most of it.


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