Commentary: Time for a change in Philadelphia


Staff Writer Nick Ferraro says a head coaching change is dire for the Philadelphia Eagles who sit at 3-7-1 their first 11 games.

Nick Ferraro, Staff Writer

At 3-7-1, the Philadelphia Eagles need drastic fixing. After their Super Bowl victory in 2018, all eyes were on the Eagles to become some sort of dynasty. Head coach Doug Pederson even relaid this message to his team at their final team meeting after their Super Bowl win.

“This is the new norm in Philadelphia, playing and hopefully playing into February every year. It’s the new norm, so get used to it,” said Pederson

Except, that isn’t the ‘new norm’. Nearly three years later, the Eagles have not made it anywhere near a February game and are now looking at a top 10 pick in the 2021 draft. The expectant dynasty has fallen into the pits of a rebuild.

As the team grows older and more expensive, the Eagles are seemingly backed up against a wall. Yet, throughout this season, there were moments of explosive potential. As soon as that happened, an invisible rope pulled them back to the gutter, not allowing any of the potential to be realized. But what if that rope was visible and stood in the form of Philadelphia’s play caller Doug Pederson.

Allow me to take you back to the 2017-18 season for a moment. The play calling lied not in the hands of Pederson, instead it lied with former offensive coordinator and now Indianapolis Colts Head Coach Frank Reich. During that year, which was Carson Wentz best year, the Birds obtained the ultimate balanced offensive attack.

Averaging 29 carries which averaged 4.5 yards per carry and 29 passes that had about 7 yards per attempt throughout the season proved to work to perfection for Frank Reich. The team was successful in both fields thus leaving opponents on their toes each and every play. However the past is in the past unfortunately, and Doug Pederson turned towards himself for how his offense will run.

The 2020 season is anything but a mirrored image of 2017. The Eagles are a pitiful offense. While some may blame their offensive woes on injuries or offensive line issues, I look more towards their play calling. Through 11 games this season they are maintaining about 39 passes per game. For each attempt they only average about six yards each completion, which is an entire yard lower than their Super Bowl season.

The real eye popping issue comes in the form of Pederson’s rushing attack. He simply is not running the ball even though it is working. It almost feels as if he is sabotaging his own team. One has to look no further than the recent game against Seattle. Running back Miles Saunders who is averaging a remarkable 5.6 yards per carry ran the ball a mere six times. Pederson did not allow for a running game to get going and instead relied heavily on his poor offensive line, wide receivers, and mistake prone Carson Wentz.

By not establishing the run game, you are setting yourself up for failure. I understand trying to exploit Seattle’s poor secondary, but he really didn’t attempt to throw the ball deep either. He opted for failing screen passes which went nowhere and were scouted out nearly every time.

The poor play calling doesn’t just show up in the Seattle game. Throughout the entire season Pederson has time and time again preferred passing the ball instead of setting up successful runs for his team. Only running the ball 23 times a game will not deliver wins for your franchise. Pederson almost seems bored with the run and tries to coach games like he is playing video games rather than actually attempting successful drives.

Pederson also likes to take risks that can usually be classified as totally unnecessary and pointless. The Eagles are second in the NFC in 4th down attempts with 22. In those attempts, their success rate is dead last with a 31.8% completion rate. Costly turnover on downs that result in leaving points on the table almost every game.

Pederson is far from the reason for the Eagles winning their chip in 2017. His play calling lacks any depth or creativity. He relies on what he knows but for the most part what he knows does not work with the talent level he has acquired. He needs to be let go at season’s end or before. He isn’t suited to be a play caller without great coaches around him. Yes he brought a winning mentality in the 2017 year for Philly but since then has opted for mediocrity.

All the Philadelphia fans wanted the norm to be winning. They needed it to be, yet they found themselves less and less hopeful as the seasons went on. The Pederson/Wentz saga needs to end and I find that the blame rests more in Pederson’s spotty play calling rather than Wentz’s poor judgment.

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