Doug Pederson Horrendous (Again) With Playcalling
I hate the designed runs that Doug Pederson has been calling for Carson Wentz. They’re not very effective, and only expose Wentz to more contact. Pederson called the run for Wentz down in the redzone in the first quarter, resulting in a loss of yards to put the team in a third-and-long situation.
I hate even more that Pederson decided to call one of the designed runs on a fourth-and-two in the second quarter. With the Eagles trailing 14-3, a field goal would have made it a one-score game. Considering how poor and erratic the offense had been, the thing to do in that scenario was take the points, and keep things close. Pederson instead called a play that had absolutely no chance of succeeding, and it cost the team valuable points.
It was even more baffling when you consider on the previous play, third-and-five, Pederson showed no confidence in his quarterback or wide receivers by calling a run up the middle for Darren Sproles.
Towards the end of the second half, Pederson elected to go for it once again on a fourth-and-one, calling a run for Darren Sproles. It was another long-developing play that was rather predictable, and New York was able to snuff it out.
Pederson capped his dreadful showing by wasting a challenge and a timeout in the second half on an incomplete pass that had little chance of being overturned.
Wentz Buries Eagles Early
Carson Wentz got off to easily the worst start of his career on Sunday, throwing two terrible interceptions to start the game. Wentz threw the first on the Eagles’ opening drive that led to an early touchdown for Odell Beckham. Wentz threw off of his back foot, and the ball sailed away from him, over the head of an open Nelson Agholor, and into the arms of Landon Collins. Three plays later, the Giants went up 7-0.
On the team’s second drive, Wentz overthrew Dorial Green-Beckham, again sailing the ball over his head, leading to another turnover and short field for the Giants.
Wentz was off throughout the game. His normally pinpoint accuracy was completely gone in this one, he missed open receivers, underthrew some, and overthrew others.
Wentz did well to hang in there and lead some nice drives in the second half, but ultimately couldn’t do enough to get the Birds out the hole that he put them in early.
- Bryce Treggs finally got his opportunity with the active roster. Treggs caught an 11-yard pass to help set up the team’s first field goal. On the team’s fifth drive, Treggs set up a Ryan Mathews touchdown run with a 58-yard reception. The pass was a little underthrown, Treggs would have been gone if hit in stride.
- The Eagles made more of an effort to get the tight ends invovled early in the game. Zach Ertz was targeted on the game’s first pass. Trey Burton came up with two receptions for 43 yards on the team’s third drive to help put them in field goal range.
- Ertz finished with eight grabs for 97 yards, and was lined up as wide receiver several times.
- Nelson Agholor is just a horrible wide receiver. Agholor dropped a pass that could have extended the drive in the fourth quarter, and nearly turned the ball over with a fumble on another play.
- Ryan Mathews scored another touchdown, but he’s been almost completely phased out of the offense.
- Why not give Wendell Smallwood and Kenjon Barner more touches? Both guys have had good success when given opportunities, and it isn’t realistic to keep giving Sproles the amount of touches that he’s seen so far.
- Bizzare to me that the Eagles went into this game with only 52 players on the active roster. Seriously, what in the world does Paul Turner have to do to get an opportunity?
- Multiple miscommunications in the secondary during the first quarter, leading to both New York touchdowns. Rodney McLeod missed a coverage on Beckham on the first score, and Jaylen Watkins was guilty on the second touchdown.
- Nolan Carroll came up with a tremendous interception in the fourth quarter, but the Eagles were unable to do anything with it.
- Jordan Hicks may have some of the best natural, playmaking instincts I’ve ever seen. His awareness to come down with a late fourth-quarter interception gave the team one last opportunity to win things.
- Brandon Graham has been playing at a Pro Bowl level for most of the season.
- Destiny Vaeao came up with a sack of Eli Manning in the first quarter in end a drive.
- The defense struggled at times in the first half, but were able to come up with a handful of stops to give the team an opportunity to get themselves back in it.
- Bad no-call on a potential roughing the kicker against Landon Collins that could have resulted in a first down deep in Giants territory. Instead, the Eagles settled for a field goal, previously down 14-0.
- We see it every week. Dave Fipps’ unit always comes up with big plays to keep this team in games. There was some tremendous blocking for Darren Sproles on a 66-yard punt return in the second quarter that set up the offense for a scoring opportunity. Unfortunately, Pederson and the offense squandered the opportunity.
- Nolan Carroll downed a punt at the four-yard line late in the fourth.
I’ve tried to be patient with Doug Pederson.
As a first-year head coach, that probably wasn’t quite ready for such a role, I expected some bumps and bruises along the way.
But today’s performance was just inexcusable and undefendable. Pederson was outcoached for the fourth time in five games, and repeatedly shot the team in the foot with terrible play calls and plays that were doomed to fail before they were run.
This was the first time all season where I felt that Pederson looked a guy who wasn’t just making rookie head coach mistakes; instead looking like a guy who just wasn’t cut out for the role.
That’s not to say Pederson can’t bounce back from all of this, but what I’ve seen over the last month is beginning to look troubling.
The last two weeks, it seems as though the gameplan on the offensive side of the ball has been as simple as “Put the ball in Darren Sproles’ hands, put the team on his back, and see how far he takes us.”
If Pederson simply attempted field goals early in the game, the Eagles would either be lining up for a winning kick at the end of the game, or padding their lead.
The Eagles have now fallen to .500 at 4-4, lost four of the last five, and have sunk to 0-3 in the division, last place in the NFC East. The playoffs are fading by the week, with more difficult matchups on the horizon.
Follow Denny Basens on Twitter, @DennyBasens