I think we miss current Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich here in Philadelphia. He was the Eagles offensive coordinator last year and he was an adviser to Eagles head coach Doug Pederson. Reich also had a long career in the NFL as a backup quarterback and he is best known as the backup to Jim Kelly on those great Buffalo Bills teams that made it to four consecutive Super Bowls.
Reich had the respect of Pederson and so did current Vikings offensive coordinator John Defilippo, who was the quarterback coach a year ago. I think their absence is evident by the way Pederson got away from the running game this past weekend down in Tennessee. The Eagles were running the ball effectively against the Titans defense with Jay Ajayi and Wendell Smallwood, but Pederson abandoned the running game and that allowed Tennessee to tee off on the Birds franchise quarterback Carson Wentz. The former second pick in the draft got pummeled with hits from blitzes and pass rushers sacking him up the middle and from outside.
“I definitely think that Reich and Defilippo would’ve had the courage to tell Pederson he was getting away from the run.”
This must not continue. I definitely think that Reich and Defilippo would’ve had the courage to tell Pederson he was getting away from the run. In listening to current offensive coordinator Mike Groh this week, it doesn’t seem like he has the confidence to question a play or plays that head coach Pederson calls. He should be able to question a call, but he must do it in the proper way.
Of course he doesn’t want to do it publicly or make a big deal out of it. He might not be able to talk to Pederson when the Eagles have the football, but when the defense is on the field, he could talk to the head coach about the offense. Together they should be able to discuss the number of runs and passes. He could say, “Hey coach, we’ve only run the football three times this quarter and only fifteen times for the entire game. Maybe we should run the ball a bit more.” He should be able to say these things in the proper tone and at the proper time.
If the head coach doesn’t want to change the plays he’s calling, Groh still has to support whatever takes place on game days. But Groh has got to let Pederson know his opinion either way, because that’s one of the reasons he’s in his position. I think Pederson should also lean on assistant head coach and running backs coach Duce Staley, who has been here for a while after an outstanding NFL career. You know Duce has no problem letting Pederson know what he thinks of the game plan and the play calling.
A big part of an offensive coordinator’s job is to give his opinion. If you think that a mistake is being made, you’re supposed to be another set of eyes looking at what’s going on as it’s happening. If you’re not going to question the calls occasionally, there is no need for your position.
BTW – I think Reich made a mistake this past weekend when he went for the first down on fourth and four in overtime. He was backed up on his own side of the fifty yard line, but he still went for the first down with less than a minute to go in overtime and the scored was tied up at 34. The Colts didn’t get the first down and the Houston Texans took possession and completed a pass on the next play, then kicked the field goal to win the game in overtime.
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