Doug Pederson Defends Play-Calling, Explains Carson Wentz’s INTs
With a day to reflect on his decisions, watch the film and have discussions with other coaches, Doug Pederson said Monday afternoon he doesn’t second-guess any of his calls in the Eagles’ 28-23 loss to the Giants, including the two failed fourth-down attempts in the second quarter.
“I still feel strong about those. It shows confidence and belief in the guys,” Pederson said. “At that time, I felt like we were moving the ball and, at the end of the day, when you look at it, we had more opportunities in this game. To me, it didn’t come down to those two plays. There were enough things in this game that cost us this football game, but I still stick by what I did.”
Pederson’s play-call on the first failed conversion has drawn the most criticism. Facing fourth-and-2 from New York’s 23-yard-line, Pederson called a designed quarterback run around the left edge. However, Janoris Jenkins and Damon Harrison tackled Carson Wentz four yards behind the line of scrimmage.
Pederson said the play failed because of a missed assignment, which was probably a reference to Jordan Matthews‘ attempted crackback block on Jason Pierre-Paul.
“In critical situations like that, if one piece of it fails, then the rest of it has to kind of pick up that piece, meaning there are other pieces on defense that are free, and it just happened on that play,” Pederson said. “We just missed it. We just failed on the block. It wasn’t a mental thing. It was just a physical error that we just missed on the block, and it caused us not to get the first down.”
Pederson also explained why the Eagles’ final play of the game — another failed fourth-down attempt — resulted in an incompletion.
“One, Jordan can [turn around and] look [for the ball] a little sooner. Two, it’s fourth down. As a quarterback, you just got to give our guy an opportunity to make the play and that’s just, again, understanding the situation and putting yourself in those spots,” Pederson said. “I know in Carson’s case — I don’t want to speak for him, but I know after the game he was very down about that last whole series about some of the decisions and throws he made. He makes that play in practice 99 out of 100 times.”
In addition to the fourth down struggles, Wentz’s two early interceptions put the Eagles in a big hole. The Giants scored 14 early points, and the Birds were never able to catch up. Pederson noted that both plays involved some pressure.
“The first one just sailed high. He was out of the pocket, which I felt like he didn’t have to move. He could’ve stayed right there in the pocket and delivered the football,” Pederson said.
“Some of it’s pressure, some of it’s a (stunt between the defensive linemen) or something quick that flashes. The one time he stepped up into the pocket and he ended up trying to come back to (Dorial Green-Beckham), but he had a guy right in his face. The pocket was clean enough to deliver the football, but that quick pressure from a quarterback standpoint makes you throw a little bit high.”
Allen Barbre’s (left hamstring) status remains unclear and Terrence Brooks (right hamstring) is now week-to-week, but Bennie Logan (groin) will practice on Wednesday and Kamu Grugier-Hill (right hamstring) may be available this week. Nolan Carroll (hamstring), Brent Celek (rib fracture), Jordan Hicks (ankle sprain), Leodis McKelvin (hamstring), Chris Maragos and Halapoulivaati Vaitai (shin contusion) are also expected to play against the Falcons.