Concerns About Doug Pederson

DougPederson2At the beginning of this season, I went into the 2016 campaign with a mindset that I was going to be as patient as possible with new head coach Doug Pederson.

I expected a fair amount of rough moments, bumps and bruises as the first-time head coach feels his way through the league and gets a sense of what works and what doesn’t work.

However, over the last month Pederson has shown some red flags that go beyond simple rookie coach mistakes. Philosophically, Doug has shown some disturbing traits that have brought some legitimate questions about whether or not he’s truly cut out for this role.

Let’s start with Pederson’s gameday management.

In the Washington game, Pederson never adjusted for struggling rookie right tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai, leaving an overwhelmed Big V on his own to deal with talented pass rusher Ryan Kerrigan.

Against the Cowboys, Pederson’s decisions to punt instead of kicking a field goal, give the ball to rookie Wendell Smallwood for the first time in the fourth quarter (leading to a game-changing fumble), and bizarre play calls that killed drives were all well-documented.

And in the latest loss to the Giants, Pederson called one of the worst games I’ve ever seen. From the terrible designed runs for Carson Wentz (including an atrocious call on fourth down to kill a drive and take points off of the board), to wasting a second-half timeout on a challenge he had no chance to win, it was a truly horrendous performance, rookie coach or not.

These gameday gaffes have played direct roles in the Eagles losing these one-score games, but even more troubling is how little Pederson seems to be willing to adjust his offense and give other players opportunities.

The running back situation is the most baffling. I can understand Pederson wanting to go away from Ryan Mathews, an average player at best who fumbled his way out of the starting role. But running Sproles as a featured back is not an answer, and its going to run the undersized back into the ground.

Kenjon Barner and Wendell Smallwood have both been very effective in their limited opportunities. Barner has been averaging 5.2 yards a carry, and yet Pederson seems uninterested in giving him a longer look at an expanded role.

This line of thinking literally makes no sense.

Another puzzling situation is Bryce Treggs. The Eagles have badly lacked a downfield threat all season. Treggs possessed that skillset that could have given them that threat, but he was made inactive by Pederson all year long until Josh Huff was released. If Huff hadn’t gotten himself cut, Treggs would still be an unknown, while failures like Nelson Agholor would continue to be trotted out there week to week.

What’s even worse is listening to Pederson’s press conferences, where he all but confirms that there are some serious flaws in his line of thinking. Pederson defended his playcalling, and pointed to the execution as the issue.

Does that sound disturbingly familiar?

It’s the same nonsense that Chip Kelly would spew in his news conferences, always defending his gimmick offense while constantly pointing to execution as the issue. While Pederson is much more of a player’s coach than Kelly will ever be, that’s not going to fly with the players in the locker room for long, especially if the team keeps losing.

Even more confusing is that Pederson actually doubled down on his approach that Sproles be the top running back, announcing that he’s officially in that role until further notice. It’s just ridiculous to me that the thought of increasing Barner or Smallwood’s touches isn’t in the picture at this time.

I’ve seen a number of good things from Pederson this year, but a lot of what’s gone on in the last month has been troubling. There’s still a lot of football to be played, and hopefully these issues truly are just rookie mistakes. But the red flags on display so far are certainly worth keeping an eye on.

Follow Denny Basens on Twitter, @DennyBasens

54 thoughts on “Concerns About Doug Pederson

  1. Denny..All of the issues with the coach ,interestingly have occurred on the road ,in tight games.I dont think we are critical enough of the self inflicted disciplines ,that are being repeatedly showing up ,when the outcome is in a pressure situation.Additionally the coach seems never to bear any opportunity of displaying a recognition through self introspection by doubling doown,after watching the tape.This as well as his first year grrowing pains in dealling with the press are a toxicity that he himself iserving up..the. erosion of confidence has begun,,stopping the coach from impalinh himself to me,begins with taking the playcalling away from him.Personnel decisions are also evident ,dont stand up there and say matthews is my back and then ride sproles like a cheap mule..sometimes less is more in dealing with the press.It’s a lesson AR learned well ,he spoke in banal sentences ,offering up nothing..

  2. Well,

    All I remember is last year losing 45-17, and 45-14, 40-17, 38-24 (and most of those games not that close – late garbage TDs reducing the spread)

    Eagles were a team getting humiliated against every quality (and some non-quality) teams they faced.

    Now we’re battling to the end on the road against a 7-1 team, on the road against a 5-3 team, on the road against divisional rivals.

    All one score games. Smallwood holds the ball and its 5-3. Matthews turns right instead of left and its 6-2. I know there are no “if only” in sports….but the signs, despite the gaffs, are much, much more promising right now.

    I have to give the guy the season to see if he improves before rushing to judgement, because right now the positives outweigh the negatives….

    1. Good points and I certainly agree with a lot of what you say.

      And the one thing that does make me feel great about pederson is that just imagining an alternate hell-life where chip Kelly is still the coach of this team…

      It’d look something like this…

      No Wentz.

      Bradford back on five-year, cap-killing extension.

      Peters cut for insubordination. Johnson suspended, Brooks probably isn’t here…oline a bigger disaster than last year

      Cap room gained from Peters release would be offset by release of Murray, eagles absorb that cap blow since chip the GM would never have been able to find a team to take him.

      Sanchez still in town. Ponder the third string qb.

      Wrs the same.

      Defense still run by Billy Davis…

      Eagles would be 1-7 or 2-6 at best




    1. Mhenski. Watching shady was akin to seeing an old flame on some other dudes arm..for certain..I did see the nba grab techniques that chip invoked..we at least gave him a genius tag due to his success In Year hes losing and looks like the fraud ..the emperor wears no clothes..

  4. Vin. Compared to chips team and mercenaries and sam ,agreed,its so much more of a glass half full.Like everyone I want to be reminded how much better our situation is..It doesnt dismiss the fact that we are building something and in the early stages.I agree with everything you said.I am hopeful,frustrated and mindful this takes time ..I do see some injurious coaching decisions that seem more self inflicted,and id feel best,if doug learned from them ,week to week..what do you think of relinquishing the play calling?

    1. I am also concerned with the mistakes (though I approve of the decisions to go for it on 4th dows…though I disagree with the RO call to Wentz).

      I do not like when HCs call the plays. HC should be the overseeer of all. Calling plays is a busy, busy business, and I think it interferes with time management, challenge (horrible Sunday) and a million other things. Co-ordinators should co-ordinate. HC should oversee the entire team.

      1. Relinquishing the play calling agreeably will be beneficial.I was surprised that with reich,it wasnt a no brainer.Its incumbent on the coach to also show that he utilizes his personnel.It took huff brandishing a weapon to see a potential gem .Also nobody mentioned but not having a full 53 man roster was another gaffe..

  5. Interestingly this will be another home game ,where weve been a different looking team.Hold court ,and 5-3 would be putting us back in the conversation,at 9-7..

  6. Denny gotta admit this was very concerning to me too:

    “to wasting a second-half timeout on a challenge he had no chance to win”

    that was real concerning to me as well. it was a decision based on emotions not intelligence. it wreaked of I AM MAD SO IM CHALLENGING rather than thats a bullshit call that was wrong so im challenging and winning it.

    i dont know i think doug has impressed me greatly with some things and pissed me off with others. at the end of the day i think he has been pretty solid (this coming from me the guy who was calling him doug the librarian and bashing him for not talking to lane and not knowing how many channels are on qb headsets…).

    some of his calls are certainly questionable but im never going to fault aggressiveness, our problem is simple NO RB, NELSON ASSHOLOR, NO PLAYMAKING WRs…

    1. Agree with your point about him coaching on emotion, last weekend between the challenge and the fourth down calls, it was the equivalent of watching someone playing an online game of Madden, going for it on every drive and doing whatever the hell they felt like without thought about the consequence…only difference is that Doug didn’t have the ability to rage quit when he got down 14-0

      But in all seriousness, Doug looked very good in the first three games, and while there are concerning elements about his approach, it’s still early and there’s a lot to be played out. And I absolutely agree that the bigger issue right now is that the team has absolute garbage at the skill positions, agholor makes Charles Johnson and Torrance small look like desirable wideouts by comparison

  7. Gotta give Doug and Schwartz three years mininum. Give Howie three drafts and see if his past failures and getting fired taught him a thing or two.

    This offseason was amazing. The signings and 2016 draft looks promising so far. We took care a lot of our own, who are very young.

    We have, and still are exceeding expectations. If philly gets to the playoffs we could be a very dangerous dark horse.

    Every single one of our losses this year has came down to the very last second. It’s sad how we have beat ourselves more then the opposition to be honest. I know it’s the “NFL” and “these things happen” BUT ITS HAPPENED 4 TIMES! The dropped touchdowns and fumble in the Detroit game… how we shut stafford down in the second after dropping 21. Don’t forget the 15 penalties which about 4-5 of them were sad. Especially the hold on the Brooks at the end of hat game that put us deep in the redzone.

    The dropped touchdowns and even 13 more penalties against Washington. Not gonna lie but washingTon is really the only loss we really deseRved cause of the pressure they got.

    But Dallas, NY, and that lions game are just laughable losses. To put ourselves in a hole that deep to staRt the ny game right off the bat and STILL almost win?

    This team isn’t elite or a finished pRoduct yet. But there is Talent everywhere. WHich is why we very easily could be 6-2 or 7-1 rn.

    There wasn’t a single person on this site predicting we would be good or damn formidable besides me.

    We’re coming. Just like The Process and Ben Simmons

  8. I just watched some Cleveland Browns rookie TE named Seth Devow, running the exact same route as Matthews.

    Defender was inside to his left.

    He turned right and caught the pass on his outside shoulder where it should be.

    The throw wasn’t as good as Wentz’s which would have been the easiest pass in the world to catch had Matthews done what a Cleveland brown rookie just did,

    I still want to puke when thinking about that last play.

  9. Falcons – 2, coming in off a bye ( 3 weeks now consecutively) the birds have faced such a scenario,are installed with the highest scoring average 33.9 points/game however they rank 28th in scoring defense at 28.8 points/game.In Birds home sweet home games they have out scored there foes 84-23..With an eye on the Minny spiral and our first round pick they go to play the redskins ..the cowgirls visit to face Big Ben ,and the Giants porous secondary vs th Bengals ..

  10. Splitting the Season into quarters (as most coaches do) it is imperative the Eagles go 2-2 over the next 4.

    Atl, @Sea, GB, @ Cinci…

    Eagles really pooched the last 4. I stated they needed 2-2 but was very worried about their ability to do so….ended up 1-3.

    I believe the Birds can go 3-1 over the final 4, perhaps even 4-0 if Dallas has clinched and is resting starters in the final week.

    With a 3-1 scenario over the last 4, the Eagles need 2-2 to get to 9 wins (minimum needed for playoffs).

    Long story to say this is a “must win” if playoffs is the goal.

    1. Run the damn ball..keep julio jones on the sidelines..the birds of the south play indoors,take them out of their elements..with 5 of the 8 with home cooking the northern birds just need proteect their nest.Steal one on the road and this maay get you a home wild card ..

  11. The schedule has been “against” the Eagles so far…no doubt about that….but there are some coming advantages.

    1 – the GB game will be their 3rd in a row on the road. NFL teams have a notoriously low win% in those situations. Big advantage for Eagles.

    2 – The Cinci game is a bit of a donut for the Bengals sandwiched between divisional games. They play Balt, then Philly followed by Clevaland and Pitt. They might not be “up” for the Birds.

    3 – Lets hope the Pats take the Seahawks to OT in a hard fought, last second FG game that the Seahawks win. Then they’ll get home at 3:00am Sunday night, sleep for 2 days and wake up feeling much too overconfident.

    4 – The remaining 3 divisional games are all at home.

    5 – The Cowboys may have clinched a bye by the final week and will rest their starters if that’s the case.

  12. Julio jones biggest strength, his HANDS!… Two incredible contested catches because of the strength of his hands. They have covered him well. Going to be a tough one

    1. Razor thin game ,coaching decisions that need be made ,with no gaffes..Id ike to see the middle of the field exploited more ..special teams may determine this game

  13. Saw on Red-Zone a Bad Holding Penalty by Center Kelce that kills another Drive… Those lost 4 Points will come back and haunt them..

    1. Its true hac. The defensive and offensive game plans were flawless and guys stepped it up after the obvious ref blown calls. I found that most heartening of all.the only stain was agholor and some stupid self imposed birds penalties but off to seattle vs a daunting place to play

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