WTS: ‘World’s Worst Play-Calling’ By Doug Pederson

Plus: Are the Eagles in full-scale panic mode?

Doug Pederson. (USA Today Sports)

Doug Pederson. (USA Today Sports)

After the Eagles fell to the Giants, 28-23, on Sunday, let’s take a look at what the national media are saying about the team.

Will Brinson of CBSSports.com was not a fan Doug Pederson’s playcalling, labeling it as the ‘world’s worst.’

1. World’s worst play-calling by Pederson

Being aggressive in fourth-down situations in the NFL is a noble endeavor. More coaches should do it, but coaches are conservative human beings by nature. The problem these days is more about the play-calling than anything else. A read-option run for a rookie quarterback on fourth-and-short isn’t what you want.

At least it’s different than the standard bearer for fourth downs in the NFL — the old “run him straight into the line of scrimmage” play. Pederson had one of those in his bag of tricks too, going for it on fourth-and-1 later in the quarter from the Giants’ 6-yard line.

He allowed Darren Sproles , one of the smaller running backs in the league, to run straight into the offensive line on a fairly slow-developing stretch play. It even featured a man motioning to the right side of the line and no misdirection.

And you won’t believe this, but the Eagles didn’t pick up the first down. They would go on to lose by five points because they couldn’t convert a fourth-and-10 late in the game while in field goal range. Could have used those earlier field goals, right Doug?

The Eagles handed the Giants a victory with their play-calling, opines Chris Chase of FoxSports.com.

As the clock started to wind down, you couldn’t help but do the math, adding three or six points to the Eagles total every time you checked the score. Two-possession games became one. Being a touchdown and two-point conversion down should have been a field goal from taking the lead. When Philly picked off [Eli] Manning with 1:48 left in the game, the Eagles needed a touchdown to go ahead. But they were down 28-23 in a game in which they passed up two field goals. At worst it should have been 28-26. In that situation, the Eagles could have milked the clock before hitting a go-ahead field goal.

What if? What if? What if? You can play that game all day. Every team, with the exception of the one-loss Patriots (who weren’t in that game they lost), can look back to one game on their schedule that could have gone the other way if only they’d done this, that or the other thing. For the Eagles, who have now dropped four of five and are looking up at three teams in their division, this one will gnaw at their minds more than any other.

Put it all aside though. Forget the bad play call, the make-up fourth-down call it brought, the bad challenge, the dropped passes and everything else. Ignore all of it. With 1:48 left and still down those five points, the Eagles defense picked off Manning and put the offense 18 yards away from a game-winning touchdown. On four plays, the offense gained exactly zero yards. Zippy. It was the second time the Eagles defense or special teams had given the offense possession inside the New York red zone and the second time [Carson] Wentz and Co. had failed to come away with points.

Bad decisions hurt a football team. But bad execution is what kills them.

The Eagles are in a full-scale panic mode, opines Adam Schein of NFL.com.

The panic meter is on red. And it should be.

I love Carson Wentz. He’s going to be a star in this league. But he’s still a rookie and didn’t play well in a 28-23 loss to the Giants that dropped Philly to 4-4. (Don’t forget: The Eagles were one of the NFL’s big stories through September, starting at 3-0 with fine quarterback play and a stifling defense.)

OK, I’m certainly not gonna put all of this on the first-year signal caller. Frankly, I blame offensive tackle Lane Johnson, who is in the midst of a 10-game suspension for violating the league’s policy on performance enhancing drugs. His absence has derailed the Wentz Wagon — and the Eagles’ season. And the aforementioned defense has given up 57 points in the past two weeks (yielding a whopping 460 yards of offense to the Cowboys in the Week 8 loss).

And really, Sunday’s loss was largely on Doug Pederson. Twice in the second quarter, the first-year head coach eschewed a field goal … only to get stuffed on fourth-and-short. Think those six points could’ve come in handy in a five-point loss? Way too aggressive. And running the read option with Wentz? That’s amateur hour.

Cornerback Leodis McKelvin was one of the worst players during last week’s games, according to Sam Monson of Pro Football Focus.

5. Leodis McKelvin, CB, Philadelphia Eagles

Against Odell Beckham Jr. in the Eagles’ loss to the Giants, Leodis McKelvin was simply overmatched. He allowed four catches for 83 yards and two touchdowns, allowing a perfect passer rating of 158.3 when targeted over the course of the game. McKelvin just looked on a completely different level compared to Beckham, and was lucky to escape the game with as little damage as he did.

ESPN In$ider’s Mike Sando thinks it’ll be tough for the Eagles to bounce back and contend for the playoffs.

Cause of slide: The Eagles have played four of their past five games on the road with a rookie quarterback, inconsistent wide receivers and no reliable power back. Those four road defeats came by margins of one, seven, six and five points. The Eagles are, for the most part, who we thought they were going to be: a team strong enough on defense to compete while finding its way offensively. This would be the same team even if it had won a couple of the games that slipped away.

Bounce-back potential: It’s going to be rough with Atlanta, Seattle, Green Bay, Cincinnati, Washington, Baltimore, the Giants and Dallas left on the schedule. But if you realize who the Eagles really were after they beat Cleveland, Chicago and Pittsburgh to open the season, getting to the season’s midpoint with a .500 record should come as no shock. Development from Carson Wentz could push the Eagles up a notch or two.

Wentz threw the ball deep more than he did the week before against the Cowboys, pens Chris Wesseling of NFL.com.

2. The Eagles moved the ball better than they have in a month, but spent the afternoon playing catchup after Carson Wentz unfurled interceptions under pressure on Philadelphia’s first two possessions. After completing fewer deep passes than any other quarterback the past two weeks, Wentz dialed up seven different plays of 20 or more yards versus the Giants, resulting in a career-high 364 passing yards. The majority of the damage was done by [Jordan] Matthews and the tight-end duo of Zach Ertz and Trey Burton, as young wideouts Nelson Agholor and Dorial Green-Beckham continued to struggle in the playmaking department.

Rob Rang of CBSSports.com has the Eagles selecting Iowa cornerback Desmond King in the first round.

25. Philadelphia Eagles (from Minnesota)

Desmond King, CB, Iowa Hawkeyes: While rookie quarterback Carson Wentz earned most of the hype, a big reason for Philadelphia’s early success this season has been a vastly improved defense. That was not the case in back-to-back division losses to the Dallas Cowboys and Giants, when the Eagles’ secondary was torched. While perhaps lacking in straight-line speed, King’s instincts, physicality and ball skills are top notch.