Eagles-Bengals, Day After: Doug Pederson’s Future

After a hot start, Pederson's future isn't set in stone anymore.

Doug Pederson. (Jeff Fusco)

Doug Pederson. (Jeff Fusco)

CINCINNATI — It’s what Doug Pederson didn’t say that spoke volumes. Even though he admitted the Eagles were undisciplined, acknowledged his team hasn’t handled adversity well and repeated for the second consecutive week that everyone in the locker room needs to look at themselves in the mirror, it was his non-answer to the opening question of the press conference that stood out.

Do you still believe this team is heading in the right direction?

Pederson said last week that they were, but after the Eagles’ 32-14 loss to the Bengals, he didn’t answer the question directly and instead talked about how disappointed he was. Even when you consider his non-answer, it’s easy to take issue with his final thought: “Penalties have got to stop. Obviously, the turnovers and things like that, too. It’s just not characteristic of how we coach and how we play.” The problem? Those critical mistakes are becoming characteristic of the type of team the Eagles are. You are what you do, not what you say.

The bar has been lowered so far for this team it’s reasonable to wonder how much longer Pederson’s players will give full effort. To prevent a drop off, Pederson “told the guys at the end that this can go one of two ways, and I only know one way it’s going to go and that’s up.”

The issue, of course, is Pederson sent a similar message last week. The Eagles’ head coach made it crystal clear that how the team responded to their loss to the Packers would tell him what he needs to know about each player. He told them he would learn who wants to stay, and who wants to go, but after Philadelphia’s uninspired performance in Cincinnati, it’s clear his message wasn’t well received.

Pederson hasn’t lost the locker room, and guys aren’t giving up on him yet, but as he referenced, that is one of the two directions this season could go in. While the Eagles’ 5-7 record isn’t surprising considering the lack of talent on the roster and the youth they have at quarterback and head coach, the overall regression must be concerning for Jeffrey Lurie. Few players — and coaches — have gotten better as the season has gone on, and that’s typically the saving grace for a struggling team when each person is arguing to have a job the following season.

Although it happened as recently as last year with Jim Tomsula and the 49ers, it’s rare for teams to part ways with a head coach after a single season. But if the Birds continue to stumble and completely unravel, the team will be under considerable pressure to make some type of change. Pederson wasn’t the Eagles’ first choice last offseason, and if his team continues in its current direction, he may not be their first choice next offseason either.




Doug Pederson on why Carson Wentz is sailing passes:

“It’s strictly mechanics. It’s the fact that we have to get him off his back foot and get him stepping into the throws and trusting the decision down the field. There were opportunities, obviously. Again, he’s a young quarterback who missed a lot of time in the preseason, but now we just need to keep cleaning these things up.”

—Wentz on why he is sailing passes:

“I don’t think it’s the mechanics. You make mistakes. Things happen, and that’s just the bottom line.”

Fletcher Cox on the defensive line’s lack of sacks:

“It’s definitely not a problem. Obviously, we aren’t getting to the quarterback the way we should. When teams have success of dinking and dunking us, they see the previous teams. It’s a copycat league. Teams are going to that and get rid of the ball quick. When they’re ready to go deep, they seven-man protect. We’re rushing four, so you do the math.”

—Pederson on why his team has played poorly after their hot start:

“There are probably a lot of factors. One, you can look at the adversity. We’ve lost our right tackle there, and things started going the other direction (with) some injuries thrown in there. Teams have film on us and film on Carson (Wentz). They’ve attacked differently. It just all begins to kind of snowball. It gets us obviously in the situation we’re in.”

Leodis McKelvin on the feeling in the locker room:

“It is disappointing. This is my ninth year in the league. It’s my ninth year of supposedly not going to the playoffs. How do you think we feel about this situation? Our goal is to get into the playoffs and give ourselves a shot to get to our ultimate goal of the Super Bowl. As you see right now, it’s not happening right now.”

—Pederson on if his team is lacking effort:

“It’s not for a lack of effort. It’s just the discipline of your assignments and jobs and collectively focus on that one play at that one time. It’s not for a lack of effort.”

Marvin Lewis on Carlos Dunlap’s batted passes at the line of scrimmage:

“He was able to get his hands up when they ran some crossing routes. When the angle of those throws is lower, Carlos can have an opportunity to disrupt those passing lanes.”

—Lewis on Wentz and the Eagles’ recent downturn:

“He is a very talented player. … Teams go through ups-and-downs. Right now, they are a little different without Ryan Mathews. He is a good runner, and a different style of runner than their other backs are.”



Player# of snaps% of snaps
Nelson Agholor80100%
Allen Barbre80100%
Brandon Brooks80100%
Jason Kelce80100%
Jason Peters80100%
Carson Wentz80100%
Stefen Wisniewski80100%
Zach Ertz7088%
Trey Burton5366%
Dorial Green-Beckham5062%
Darren Sproles4455%
Paul Turner4151%
Wendell Smallwood2430%
Brent Celek1924%
Kenjon Barner1316%
Isaac Seumalo45%
Bryce Treggs22%

*With Jordan Matthews out, Nelson Agholor played every snap in a game for the first time this season. It’s unclear if that was the plan going in, as Doug Pederson said Matthews’ health played a big role in whether Agholor would even be active. Having Agholor on the field for every snap after doubting whether he’d play a single snap all week, though, is a bit confusing in retrospect. While Agholor did tie his career-high in receptions (four), his 0.37 yards per route run ranked 65th out of 66 receivers in the NFL on Sunday, per Pro Football Focus.

*Dorial Green-Beckham (62 percent) played the second-most snaps among Eagles receivers, while Paul Turner (51 percent) played a majority as well. Bryce Treggs (2 percent), however, was on the field for a shockingly small number of plays. Turner led the Eagles with 80 receiving yards, catching six balls on eight targets.

*With the Eagles increasingly relying on the pass as they fell behind by four touchdowns in the second half, Wendell Smallwood’s (3o percent) playing time diminished. He didn’t carry the ball a single time in the final two quarters.

*Trey Burton (66 percent) played more snaps than he has in a single game all season by a wide margin, hauling in five receptions for 53 yards on nine targets.


Player# of snaps% of snaps
Malcolm Jenkins64100%
Rodney McLeod64100%
Jordan Hicks6398%
Nigel Bradham6195%
Leodis McKelvin5586%
Nolan Carroll5180%
Brandon Graham4977%
Fletcher Cox4773%
Connor Barwin4266%
Jaylen Watkins3961%
Bennie Logan3758%
Vinny Curry2641%
Mychal Kendricks2641%
Jalen Mills2336%
Beau Allen2234%
Marcus Smith1828%
Destiny Vaeao1625%
Stephen Tulloch12%

*Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod continue to be iron men at safety, as Jenkins has played 768 out of 769 snaps this season and McLeod has been on the field for 763 plays. Leodis McKelvin (86 percent) led the Eagles’ cornerbacks in playing time, edging out Nolan Carroll (80 percent) while Jalen Mills (36 percent) didn’t play much.

*However, every Eagles defensive back allowed a passer rating of at least 100 when targeted, per Pro Football Focus. Andy Dalton was also 5-for-6 on throws of at least 20 yards down the field for 159 yards and one touchdown.