Posted: June 29th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 53 Comments »

We know what Jim Schwartz wants to do on defense. He has a strong track record and his philosophy is well known. The 2016 Eagles had some games where you could see what he’s looking to build here. There isn’t much mystery.

Dave Fipp has a strong track record with his STs units. We know he’s going to get his guys to play at a high level and there will be big plays.

As funny as it sounds, Doug Pederson is still the mystery man. We really don’t know what he wants to do on offense. Any time you have a rookie QB, bad WRs and five different starting RTs, you are not going to be running the offense the coach truly wants to see. The Eagles learned the playbook in 2016. There were some good flashes, but I can’t make any conclusions based on what we saw.

I think Pederson wants to throw more deep balls. He drafted a QB with a strong arm, and one who likes to go deep. The Eagles claimed Bryce Treggs last year. He was a downfield threat. When they needed a roster spot, they cut Paul Turner and kept Treggs. They wanted speed. This year the Eagles added vertical threats in Torrey Smith, Mack Hollins and Shelton Gibson. They want to be able to throw the ball down the field.

Is Pederson going to be Andy Jr with his thoughts on the run game?

I don’t think so. The team seriously considered taking Ezekiel Elliot last year. When they got all the way up to the second pick, that idea went away. They were definitely going QB at that point. The Eagles might have drafted Dalvin Cook in the 1st round this year if there weren’t so many questions surrounding him. There are rumors they wanted him in the 2nd round.

This year they signed LeGarrette Blount in free agency. He’s not a pass-catcher out of the backfield. Blount is a runner. Between him, Darren Sproles, Wendell Smallwood, Donnel Pumphrey and possibly Byron Marshall or Corey Clement, the Eagles have a good group of backs.

The Eagles were 10th in rushing attempts last year and 11th in yards. We can argue whether that should have been even higher with a rookie QB, but the point is that Pederson did run the ball more than people give him credit for. And remember that he didn’t have Shady McCoy or Brian Westbrook to feed it to. In the season finale, Byron Marshall, Terrell Watson and Sproles combined for 28 carries.

I think the game that made me see him as different from Reid was when the Eagles ran for 169 yards against the Ravens. Baltimore had the best run D in the league at that time. The Eagles didn’t have their best OL, but Pederson committed to the run and the Eagles OL was fantastic. That was also a terrific performance by Ryan Matthews. He ran hard and was really physical. That gave me hope. I don’t think Pederson is going to be another Andy Reid when it comes to the run game.

Can Pederson gameplan well?

Will he feed a hot hand?

Will he stop calling quick screens now that he has WRs who can actually run routes and catch the ball?

How creative will Pederson be?

There were good signs last year. Remember that you can’t go strictly off results. Did the design of the plays work consistently? You had DGB dropping a long TD pass against the Steelers. You had Zach Ertz dropping a Red Zone TD against the Skins in a close game. You had Nelson Agholor not even lining up correctly and wiping out a long TD play by Ertz. There were plays where Wentz failed to see an open receiver or failed to make a good throw to an open receiver. There were a lot of yards and points left on the field last year due to sloppy execution. That’s on the players, not Pederson.

2017 will be different. The players know the scheme. Pederson knows the players. There were talent upgrades. Lane Johnson isn’t facing a suspension. And his backup is experienced if something like that does happen.

It will take another year or two for us to really get a feel for Pederson’s offense, but we should start to understand what he really wants to do this season.


Here is Pederson mic’d up from the season opener.


53 Comments on “Identity”

  1. 1 BobSmith77 said at 9:35 AM on June 29th, 2017:

    Pederson got a bit too pass-happy at times last year especially in the 2nd and was took too many needless gambles.

    Overall though this play-calling wasn’t that bad. The one area I’m interested to see if there can be an improvement that will directly lead to points is the red zone.

    Eagles have made personnel upgrades (Blount and Jeffrey in particular) who should help to address this problem. Having a healthy Matthews will help too.

    If this offense can be a Top 10 in red zone conversion rate, I like their chances to win 10 games a lot more.

  2. 2 Ark87 said at 1:44 PM on June 29th, 2017:

    For the most part I liked his aggressiveness. There were a few times the benefits weren’t really there to be worth the risk and those were head-scratchers. But most of the time he was right from an analytical point of view, but it disproportionally didn’t work out because, well, the offense wasn’t very good. Here’s hoping he fixes the offense

  3. 3 BobSmith77 said at 9:40 AM on June 29th, 2017:

    Unless Wentz really improves his accuracy and touch on short and intermediate passes, I still see this team having a problem sustaining long, methodological drives again this season too.

  4. 4 Rellihcs said at 10:01 AM on June 29th, 2017:

    I couldn’t disagree more. Upgraded possession receiver big time, more experience with Ertz and Burton, should be just as good if not better with converting short yardage and sustained if not strengthened power running with Blount. Also Pumphrey adds to the pass catching RB thereat that Sproles already is. And if Lane doesn’t get suspended, hard to argue against improved OL.

  5. 5 eagleyankfan said at 10:48 AM on June 29th, 2017:

    that and you know — rookie QB in his first ever NFL season…Brady/Elway/Peyton/ blah blah blah all had things to work on after year 1…

  6. 6 Rellihcs said at 10:51 AM on June 29th, 2017:

    Rookie head coach too..

  7. 7 Someguy77 said at 11:01 AM on June 29th, 2017:

    Burton is just another guy and Ertz is largely what he is at this point.

    Smith isn’t a possession guy and it really comes down to Jeffrey being a 1st down machine.

    As for RB, it is a functional group but we’ll see how it meshes. My sense is that this offense is going to be slightly below league average on 3rd down conversions though and not be a time of possession machine.

  8. 8 Rellihcs said at 11:06 AM on June 29th, 2017:

    Ok, but you seem to be evaluating players in a vacuum. Having Carson in his second year, not rookie thrown into start position very late in training camp due to the starter being traded, and having developed some chemistry with your labeled “JAG” and “is largely what he is at this point” – that’s potential improvement.

    BTW, if we keep Jmatt, he is a proven possession guy too. And he’s on the roster as of now…

  9. 9 unhinged said at 6:32 PM on June 29th, 2017:

    Burton is not just another guy. He’s a great athlete, and very good special teams player. He’s a reliable receiver, and he’ll get open because he is pretty smart. You may have read this as I did: At Florida, he scored TD’s playing six different positions. That is a guy who you want on your team. Of course, you may disagree.

  10. 10 Dave said at 8:00 PM on June 29th, 2017:

    The Eagles are high on him too as they tried to sign him to a long-term deal this off-season.

  11. 11 BobSmith77 said at 11:23 AM on June 30th, 2017:

    Not talking about on special teams but on offensive. Burton was given a lot of PT last year on offensive and didn’t do much.

  12. 12 cshav10 said at 11:21 AM on July 1st, 2017:

    I disagree about Ertz. Both with Bradford and then with Wentz, it took a most of a season for the chemistry to develop. Then at the end of both seasons he broke out.

    Now you could argue that EOS is junk time when bad players inflate their numbers, and maybe you’d be right.

    But I’m predicting a strong start and a consistent year for Ertz where we finally get to see him put real numbers on the board.

  13. 13 greenblood0118 said at 8:57 AM on June 30th, 2017:

    I would like to see him call more running plays on 3rd and short.

  14. 14 Mac said at 10:58 AM on June 29th, 2017:

    Hopefully he has time to develop chemistry with his pass catchers. McNabb and Westbrook had a good thing going on their screen passes. My guess is that Wentz needs to be careful to not over think the pass and just let it happen when a WR/TE/RB is wide open. He’s got the skills and strength to deliver the football, but sometimes a good QB just floats it in there to the right spot because that’s what is called for at the time.

  15. 15 greenblood0118 said at 3:14 PM on June 30th, 2017:

    I think the word you are looking for is ‘methodical’…giggity…

  16. 16 hotrod71 said at 9:14 PM on June 30th, 2017:

    Wentz threw the occasional high pass but overall I thought his accuracy was pretty good. The biggest problem was that no one was open on a lot of plays(Agholor and Beckham just can’t get separation). Mathews and the TE’s were his only hope. The other problem was protection, especially the games when Lane was out.

  17. 17 eagleyankfan said at 10:56 AM on June 29th, 2017:

    Was vocal last year. I’m not a fan of DP. He didn’t do anything last year to change my opinion. I guess it’s harder for a coach to impress though. Kept running the wr screens despite not having the personnel for it. I guess he had his reasons. I do like how he surrounded himself with good people. That doesn’t mean I don’t think he’ll succeed. Just a personal opinion…

  18. 18 Mac said at 10:59 AM on June 29th, 2017:

    Was Doug ok before the bye week?

  19. 19 eagleyankfan said at 11:10 AM on June 29th, 2017:

    I didn’t like Doug before preseason games…so – no.

  20. 20 Mac said at 11:55 AM on June 29th, 2017:

    I agree that an elite coach can call plays to set up the defense for a big play later in the game. I have no idea if Doug can acquire that skill (or if Doug is willing to listen to input from other coaches who may have more of a natural knack for doing that).

    One of the things that tested my patience during the Reid era was the lack of half-time adjustments. I would really like to see Doug improve in that area as well.

    Can he be realistic about how his players are playing “today” and take advantage of a player who consistently has a favorable matchup or is just flat out having a good day and consistently sync’d up with Wentz?

    One thing I really did like was Doug’s willingness to go for it on 4th and short. I am sure there are people who hated that, but I like it. Give your offense a chance to stay on the field, give the oline the opportunity to pound out that last yard.

  21. 21 Someguy77 said at 11:02 AM on June 29th, 2017:

    Forgot that and it was like hammering a square peg into a round hole almost all year.

  22. 22 Tom33 said at 11:26 AM on June 29th, 2017:

    Yeah – I too thought the DP hiring was uninspired, and more about the organization trying to undo the whole Reid firing/Chip hiring saga than it was finding the next great NFL head coach.

    I was also less-than-impressed with what we saw from him last year, especially from a play-calling standpoint, but he had about as much experience doing that as Wentz had playing QB in the NFL, so there’s that.

    The players seem to like him a lot, and they seem to be building something here, so hopefully we are wrong about Doug.

  23. 23 unhinged said at 12:49 PM on June 29th, 2017:

    I’m not sure who you may have been hoping the Eagles hired, but “great” suggests consensus, and that adjective doesn’t come to mind when I hear the names Harbaugh, Tomlin, Kubiak. Even Pete Carroll has displayed his frailties when his players don’t execute. I have no problem with hiring a no-name if he is vetted and meets the fundamental requirements. Tomlin and Harbaugh look to be excellent player mangers, and they are on no ladders to upper management of their respective organizations as far as I can tell. Tom Coughlin, the only HC to have a winning record vs Big Bad Bill had no offers from the Giants to move upstairs. Another player manager who met his employer’s requirements. I think Jeff Lurie and HR will measure Doug Pederson’s suitability solely by his ability to get his players to over-achieve. In a league of general parity (some might call it mediocrity) the team has to have the players, the chemistry, the depth, the mental toughness and the commitment to have a chance. Players and depth are on the FO. The other three reflect on the HC. The jury is out on much of our 2017 roster, and Carson Wentz still has to prove that the Eagles FO didn’t get it wrong.

  24. 24 Tom33 said at 2:26 PM on June 29th, 2017:

    I didn’t have a horse in the race, I just felt like hiring a guy that wasn’t on anybody else’s radar, and who had been carrying a clipboard for the guy they had run out of town a few years earlier, just seemed a little coincidental to me. Like Lurie et al were trying more to recreate the “good ol’ days” than figure out where to go from here.

    But you are right – HC’s are like QB’s – they are almost always a crapshoot. I remember how much flak the Steelers took when they picked Tomlin out of the blue to replace Cowher. Harbaugh (assuming you mean John) was also an unconventional hire. And those 2 seemed to turn out OK. Kubiak, Carrol and Coughlin were a bit different since they bounced around the league a bunch before they eventually found success.

    So, as I said above, I hope I’m wrong about Doug and he brings something more to the table than just nostalgia, and that the Eagles organization was able to figure that out when others couldn’t. I will be happy to say I was wrong – it certainly won’t be the first time I’ve had to admit that!

  25. 25 unhinged said at 6:22 PM on June 29th, 2017:

    As long as she’s not carping about how wrong SHE was…
    When you consider that no less than 3 HC positions are (or were) being filled by Andy Reid references, it speaks to character and accountability. In the end, probably all candidates possess X’s and O’s knowledge, but some are inept communicators (not publicly like Bellichick) and many are overwhelmed by the multitude of responsibilities. One thing that Reid usually got right was covering all bases, and if Pederson picked that up, I don’t think the job is too big for him. As for how he communicates with his players, he was a QB in the NFL so hopefully he has credibility when he addresses his team.

  26. 26 Tumtum said at 12:38 PM on June 29th, 2017:

    Basically you looked at him, decided he wasn’t the man for the job, and that was that. That’s fine. I get it. I still hate John Fox’s stupid face just from having to look at it for the whole 03′ NFCCG.

    The odds say you will probably end up being right.

  27. 27 Dave said at 8:08 PM on June 29th, 2017:

    That and the obnoxious gum chewing.

  28. 28 Media Mike said at 3:38 PM on June 29th, 2017:

    I can’t disagree with what you don’t like, but I hope Pederson improved those elements of his play calling mindset going into this year. I can’t pass final judgement on his play calling after him only having done it for one year.

  29. 29 Dave said at 8:06 PM on June 29th, 2017:

    Context…he ran screens early in the year at a high rate to get the ball into Huff’s and Ags’ (and JMatt’s) hands without them having to actually run a pass pattern and think too much.

  30. 30 unhinged said at 12:12 PM on June 29th, 2017:

    A couple things about Pederson that are exactly Reidian, are his calm presence and his comprehensive oversight. I believe that those are the qualities that Lurie was seeking when he hired him. Pederson was in KC for Reid’s first season, wasn’t he? Jamal Charles was tearing it up. KC’s offensive was not quite smash-mouth, but run defenses were kept on their toes, and lots of space was created for Kelce If AR, while here, was married to perfunctory play-action and first and second down scripted pass plays, it may have been because that was his rookie HC vision, that was what his Green Bay experience taught him, and that was the offense he had built. He wanted to offset a WC, first-down-achieving passing game with punishing running between the tackles, but he pretty much didn’t have the patience to wait on the run. So a lot of offensive possessions went: pass, pass, first-down; pass, pass, third and short, run, punt.
    I doubt that Pederson is approaching his HC days with a preconceived plan. His acquisition of Brooks and even Warmack suggest that he wants more interior line power even if it comes at the expense of agility. Also, Blount does not strike me as a move AR would have made. To me, the big question regarding Pederson is not what he intends, but what his players do to meet his expectations. If they resemble keystone cops, he’ll be held accountable and will be let go gently. Last season all eyes were on the rookie QB, but this season the hot lights are all on the HC. I think he’ll handle the heat just fine, but how badly do his players want him to be successful?

  31. 31 Tumtum said at 12:36 PM on June 29th, 2017:

    As frustrating as Reid’s calls could be at times nothing was more frustrating than 2 between tackle runs, 1 imcomplete 3rd and long pass, punt, in 5 game seconds, that was the norm with Chip in year 3.

  32. 32 daveH said at 1:10 PM on June 29th, 2017:

    T H E PERFECT sentance. Couldn’t upvote you twice so im cutting, pasting and upvoting again..
    “As frustrating as Reid’s calls could be at times nothing was more frustrating than 2 between tackle runs, 1 imcomplete 3rd and long pass, punt, in 5 game seconds, that was the norm with Chip in year 3

  33. 33 Sokhar20 said at 7:43 PM on June 29th, 2017:

    Incomplete, incomplete, draw play or screen pass the defense saw a mile away gave a valiant effort though.

  34. 34 ColorSgt said at 7:48 PM on June 29th, 2017:

    Chip was the worst after his first year.

  35. 35 T_S_O_P said at 12:35 PM on June 29th, 2017:

    I hope that Childress has had some influence, but who knows? He was a QB under Reid/Dowhower, I’m not sure if BC was even there before he’d moved on. As a coach, he has seen Andy and BC in partnership (Yin and yang) at the Cheifs, as well as Andy and Marty Moron-wig (yin and more yin) at the Eagles. ARs record with and without BC in some kind of role provides quite a contrast, which is why I said in the first place that I hope BC has had some influence.

  36. 36 bushisamoron said at 2:36 PM on June 29th, 2017:

    In a 24 hour news cycle, this team needs 3-5 years. I like the track their on.

  37. 37 Ark87 said at 2:53 PM on June 29th, 2017:

    In this political climate, Ezekiel Elliot will have a down year. Not in this economy!

  38. 38 CrackSammich said at 6:29 PM on June 29th, 2017:

    Given the higher levels of precipitation in the area and the greater care given to crop rotation, I like the roster improvements to the WR position.

  39. 39 A_T_G said at 4:16 PM on June 29th, 2017:

    “The Eagles were 10th in rushing attempts last year and 11th in yards.”

    From a lesser journalist I would question this for accuracy. It sure didn’t match the narrative. Glad to hear it, though.

  40. 40 Mac said at 4:25 PM on June 29th, 2017:

    Yeah, the narrative stands here: every football team runs the football less than the fans/media would like them to run the ball.

    In addition to the ability to get yards in larger chunks by passing, the rules are bent massively in favor of passing the football. You can’t benefit from pass interference calls if you don’t pass, you can’t benefit from “roughing the passer” on a running play, and holding penalties (from what I’ve seen) happen almost exclusively on running plays.

  41. 41 Ark87 said at 5:44 PM on June 29th, 2017:

    Wow, that never occurred to me, while I wouldn’t say almost exclusively, it does seem like you have to tackle a pass rusher to get called for holding on a pass, while Ed Hochuli seems to be able to spot a hold in happening in a JV all-star game 1 county over and call back a great run play.

  42. 42 SteveH said at 5:21 PM on June 29th, 2017:

    That’s the funny thing about narratives, they kind of take on a life of their own and oftentimes bear little resemblance to reality.

  43. 43 SteveH said at 5:22 PM on June 29th, 2017:

    This is the absolute worst time of the year for sports fans who don’t care about baseball.

    Of course it might even be worse yet this year if you’re a Phillies fan. Sweet jebus they are awful.

  44. 44 Sean Stott said at 5:55 PM on June 29th, 2017:

    Wow the Phillies are the worst team in the league by about a country mile.

  45. 45 daveH said at 7:13 PM on June 29th, 2017:

    MotoGP is off to another INSANE racing season. .. the Isle of Man Race a few weeks ago takes danger in sports to incomprehensible level !!

  46. 46 Media Mike said at 7:23 PM on June 29th, 2017:

    I care a lot about baseball. The Phillies are brutal right now and the lack of players being called up makes it doubly brutal to have to watch dead end bums.

  47. 47 phillychuck said at 10:05 PM on June 29th, 2017:

    Iron Pigs have the best record in the IL, although they’ll likely slip with some of their better players pitching/playing for the Phils now. They’re actually pretty fun to watch.

  48. 48 P_P_K said at 9:35 PM on June 29th, 2017:

    I live in BoSox country but I’ve taken to wearing my Phillies cap a lot. Philly pride. Plus, I’m angling that people will take pity on me and treat me extra nice.

  49. 49 D3FB said at 7:07 AM on June 30th, 2017:

    I’m about to relocate into Yankees/Sox/Giants/Patriots territory and I’m less than thrilled.

  50. 50 P_P_K said at 10:00 AM on June 30th, 2017:

    Surrounded by the enemy, we stand strong and proud.
    The good news is that if you move far enough up into NE, you can catch some great NESCAC football.

  51. 51 D3FB said at 11:26 AM on June 30th, 2017:

    I’ll be 10 miles from Trinity so I just may

  52. 52 P_P_K said at 12:03 PM on June 30th, 2017:

    Oh, you mean last year’s NESCAC Champ, undefeated Trinity? Our arch rival. I think I mentioned to you I work with the Middlebury Panthers football team. We could use a good FB. Any chance of your coming back for another degree?

  53. 53 P_P_K said at 9:33 PM on June 29th, 2017:

    I think Pederson and Wentz, a la Reid and McNabb, will rise or fall together. My hope is we’ll all be saying that Doug-Carson got the Super Bowl trophy Andy- Donovan never produced.