Blame for loss goes higher than Doug’s refusal to run
Eagles head coachDoug Pederson said he watched the loss to the Chiefs on his iPad during Sunday’s flight home from Kansas City.
That couldn’t have been as fun as trolling Instagram or Facebook, because the game was a lot like the opener, only with the Eagles on thewrong end of the score.
Pederson sees the same stuffwe do. He just can’t openly admit it. This isn’t his team; it’s the one he got from Howie Roseman.
Whatwe see is an Eagles team with an ineffective run game for a variety of reasons, the most obvious being the marginal skills of his running backs.
We see a teamwith an aging offensive line that gets overwhelmed at times, particularly second-year left guard Isaac Seumalo.
We see an offense with a promising quarterback in Carson Wentz and legitimate receivers in Alshon Jeffery, Zach Ertz and Torrey Smith.
It’s a team that winswith defense, and it’s about time, considering the illustrious history of the franchise.
Unless we’re totally wrong, we’ll see that same outfit Sunday when the Eagles oppose the New York Giants at Lincoln Financial Field. The Eagles are what they are.
Don’t expect the Eagles’ offensive line to turn into the gold standard overnight. Keep an eye on the lineup because Pederson has control over it. Would he have the nerve to bench Seumalo, the third-round pick in 2016, for ChanceWarmack or StefenWisniewski?
Accomplished play caller Bruce Arians would struggle trying to balance the run and the pass with this collection of players. Give Pederson credit for playing to the team’s strength, singular, on offense.
“I feel like I’m still learn- ing, a little bit,” Pederson said Monday. “But at the same time I had that great feeling. The way Alshon was playing yesterday. We had some great throws down the field to Ertz, and Torrey made a great play in the second half. I just felt like putting the ball in their hands at that time was the right thing to do.”
If this column seems short on solutions, that’s because there aren’t any decent quick fixes at this point of the season unless say, you trade for disgruntled running back Adrian Peterson and promise himmore than nine snaps a week. We’re just guessing the Saints would let him go for a conditional draft pick and pizzas for the media center.
Let’s not even get into the vote of confidence Pederson gave his running backs Monday when asked if he had the right guys to operate his offense properly. Coach Doug had to say ‘yes.’ It would have been gutsy for him to say ‘we’ll see,’ ‘I don’t know’ or ‘Are you serious? Do you know Darren Sproles is 34, LeGarrette Blount 32?’
Pederson is in a tough spot because, like all of the head coaches in the NFC East, he doesn’t have control over the 53-man roster. These coaches play the guys the front office gives them. Theoretically the coaches provide input into the type of guys that fit their schemes. In real time it’s totally subjective.
With Pederson, that makes it difficult to get a realistic answer for some of the simplest questions at news conferences, including player performances. As a players’ coach, he risks alienating the locker room he’s spent the offseason getting together.
It’s also tough asking basic questions such as, how serious are the injuries to Rodney McLeod and Jaylen Watkins, who exited the game against the Chiefs with hamstring issues? The injuries could involve roster moves that aren’t Pederson’s call.
Pederson’s job is to coach. And right now, it’s to take the brunt of the criticism for that fractional collection of players who aren’t that good.
Pederson can posture all he wants but he didn’t expect to run the ball efficiently against the Chiefs, who have what he called over and over “a good front.”
Pederson haters blamed himanyway, citing the outof-whack pass-run ratio as the reason the Eagles failed towin a game they had a chance towin, forgetting of course, that Pederson’s playcalling to that point put themin position to prevail.
The Eagles threwthe ball 46 times Sunday. Subtract Wentz’s scrambles and they ran 13 times. The Eagles tied the contest at 13 with 11:57 left on Jake Elliott’s 40-yard field goal. A Wentz interception set the Chiefs up for the go-ahead touchdown.
When the Eagles got the ball back with 6:25 remaining, it really wasn’t the time to establish the run game. Consequently the Eagles’ last 19 plays were passes because that’s what you do when you’re behind. The pass-run ratio prior to that was 30to-13. The Chiefs’ ratio for the game was 27-to-16, subtracting Smith’s scrambles and giving him one run on the option. It’s not that big of a difference.
The next time you criticize Pederson, remember the conditions he’s working under. And remember that the Eagles finished last in the division last year. From the front office down, they’re playing catch-up.
The bottom line nowis the Philly defense should be enough to get the job done against Eli Manning who, we all know, will find a way to lose if the Eagles just get out of his way.
That’s because the defense has much more talent, overall, than the offense.