Eagles Wake-Up Call: ‘No Panic’
Before the season started, Doug Pederson referred to how he would give Jim Schwartz free rein over the defense. The rookie head coach didn’t want to micromanage and he trusted Schwartz, so he’s largely stayed out of the defensive coordinator’s way since.
Despite a pair of rough outings recently in which the Eagles allowed 21 first-half points in back-to-back games, Pederson hasn’t seen something he dislikes to the point of intervening.
“No. There’s no panic; no panic whatsoever. I talked to Jim this morning. We kind of went through it and I watched the defensive side of the ball. Listen, it just comes down to players making plays,” Pederson said. “The guys are disappointed. The players are disappointed. They know. They know how they played and they felt it after the game and the guys that have been here already this morning, [they] know. And it’s just ownership. But by no means have I or will I at this point, make any decisions on that side of the ball right now.”
Pederson noted how Malcolm Jenkins’ 64-yard interception returned for a touchdown was a play he hoped would have been the “spark” for his team against Washington, but the offense failed to help the defense as it couldn’t stay on the field throughout the game. In each of the Eagles’ three wins, they held an average of a 17-minute advantage in time of possession. In the last two weeks, they’ve lost that edge and fell behind their opponents in holding the ball.
“We’ve got our own sets of issues on offense,” Pederson said. “You look at this football game and it comes down to penalties and third downs, which it did a week ago [at Detroit]. Our average third-down distance was third-and-10 in this football game. It’s tough to overcome and penalties set us back on first or second down and gave us some longer situations. So we’ve got to clean that up, offensively, because then, collectively, that handles the time of possession and the fact that we can stay on the field and keep our defense fresh and rested. And the last couple of weeks, offensively, we haven’t been able to do that.”
As the Eagles struggled for different reasons on both sides of the ball, one contributing factor was shared: losing up front. The offensive line struggled to protect Carson Wentz with Halapoulivaati Vaitai in for Lane Johnson, and the defensive line’s lapses helped lead to Washington pounding them for 230 rushing yards.
“We got our tail kicked up front this game. That’s obvious,” Pederson said. “It’s a pride thing. It comes down to each man taking ownership in their jobs, in their assignments. As coaches, we’ve got to make sure our players are in the right positions to make plays. And at the end of the day, it’s each man to himself collectively, and then as a group coming together and making plays. It’s surprising that a team could run the ball for that many yards against us with the way we play and attack on defense. But at the same time, I will give the Redskins credit for getting after us up front on both sides of the line of scrimmage.”
WHAT YOU MISSED
“I think what we’re going to do is wait until the next card is played.” NFC East Roundup.
“Was it perfect? Was it pretty? No. Were there assignment errors? Yes.” Doug Pederson defends his decision to start rookie Halapoulivaati Vaitai.
“That’s a complete, team defensive failure in the run game today.” Missed tackles hurt the Eagles for the second straight week.
Without Lane Johnson, the Eagles struggled offensively as well.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Even after his worst game so far this season, Doug Pederson still sees growth in Carson Wentz from Dave Zangaro of CSNPhilly.com.
Against Washington, Wentz completed 11 of his 22 attempts (50 percent) for 179 yards and a passer rating of 77.7 — all career lows.
But after throwing for just 54 yards through three quarters, Wentz did get cooking late. He doubled that total with a 54-yarder early in the fourth quarter and picked up 125 of his 179 yards in the fourth as the Eagles tried to mount an unsuccessful comeback.
“I thought he bounced back and did a nice job,” Pederson said. “He stood in there, he delivered the football, made a couple nice throws on the run [and] out of the pocket. It was unfortunate the one came back on a penalty. But I thought he stood in there and did a nice job as the game wore on.”
While Wentz played much better in the fourth quarter, he also made two of his biggest mistakes late in the game. On what ended up being the Eagles’ final two offensive snaps, Wentz wasn’t able to get rid of the football and took two consecutive sacks of nine yards.
It appears the Eagles will revert back to individual introductions beginning this week against the Vikings, according to PhillyVoice’s Jimmy Kempski.
According to a source with knowledge of Lincoln Financial Field’s game-day operations, the Eagles are bringing back individual player introductions, beginning this Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings. Over the last few years, the Eagles were introduced as a team, as all 45 active players would run out of the tunnel at the same time, which quite frankly, was lame.
Wanna take a wild guess which side of the ball — offense or defense — will go first, and which player will be announced last?
We’ll have more from Sunday’s game.
Chris Jastrzembski contributed to this post.