WTS: Is Doug Pederson On The Hot Seat?

Plus: How have the Eagles' rookies done in terms of production?

Doug Pederson. (Jeff Fusco)

Doug Pederson. (Jeff Fusco)

After the Eagles fell to the Washington Redskins, 27-22, on Sunday, let’s see what the national media are saying about the team.

First, a roster move. As expected, the Eagles have promoted running back Byron Marshall to the 53-man roster after placing Wendell Smallwood on injured reserve with a knee injury.

13 games into his first year as head coach, Doug Pederson‘s seat is warming up, opines Chris Burke of SI.com.

One year is not nearly enough time to evaluate a head coach, but Pederson also wouldn’t be the first sent packing after 16 games. Mike Mularkey (Jaguars), Hue Jackson (Raiders), Jim Mora Jr. (Seahawks), and others are on that dubious list. Pederson recently had to vouch for his own job security. That happened before the Eagles’ Week 14 loss, their fourth straight and eighth in their past 10 games. Rookie QB Carson Wentz also has struggled since a red-hot start—Pederson’s job will be tied to Wentz’s progress, fairly or not, for as long as both are in Philadelphia.

The Eagles have the 10th-best rookie class in terms of rookie production, according to Pro Football Focus.

The big story for the Eagles has been Carson Wentz’s hot start and subsequent cooling off. When kept clean, Wentz has completed 70.2 percent of his throws with 12 touchdowns and five interceptions. Under pressure, that number drops to 43.4 percent and his touchdown to interception ratio is 1:7. Wentz has been inconsistent throwing the ball downfield, completing 18 of 53 passes he has attempted of at least 20 yards for four touchdowns and five interceptions. RB Wendell Smallwood has seen some opportunities but has forced just six missed tackles from 77 carries. On the other side of the ball, seventh-round pick Jalen Mills allowed 686 yards in coverage, the seventh-most of any cornerback in the NFL.

Outside of Wentz, Halapoulivaati Vaitai has been the most improved rookie, opines Tim McManus of ESPN.com.

Most improved rookie: RT Halapoulivaati Vaitai. His debut could not have gone worse. Filling in for the suspended Lane Johnson, Vaitai made his first appearance against the Washington Redskins and veteran Ryan Kerrigan, who demolished the rookie en route to a 2.5-sack, 5-quarterback-hit performance. “Big V” stabilized in the weeks that followed before injuring his MCL against Seattle a few weeks back.

Most disappointing rookie: DB Blake Countess. The sixth-round pick out of Auburn did not make the final cut this summer despite the team’s need for defensive back help. He was signed to the Rams’ practice squad and has since been added to their 53-man roster.

The jury is still out on… Jalen Mills: The swagger is definitely there. The seventh-round pick out of LSU has carved out a rather significant role on a defense that is paper thin at the cornerback position. He has not backed down from some of the top receivers in the game, and will cap any incompletion thrown in his direction with a Dikembe Mutombo-like finger wag. He’s had some rocky moments, though, and it’s to be determined whether he has the necessary recovery speed to hold up on the outside long-term.

The MMQB’s Peter King named Trey Burton one of his Special Teams Players of the Week, and also thinks the Deshazor Everett hit on Darren Sproles deserves a suspension.

Being asked to make your first long-snap in the NFL is one thing, probably a scary thing. Being asked to make it with a division game on the line in the fourth quarter, on a field-goal attempt with your team down two points … that is one challenging play. Tight end Burton, subbing for injured tight end Brent Celek (who was subbing for injured regular long-snapper Jon Dorenbos) snapped from the Washington 24-yard line with five minutes left in the game. Burton fired a spiral back slightly high that was corralled and put down for Caleb Sturgis to boot a 41-yard go-ahead field goal. The Eagles ended up losing, but Burton—who also caught an uncharacteristically high seven balls from Carson Wentz—had a day to remember. By the way, his last long snap in a game? In Pop Warner football, in Venice, Fla.

4. I think the penalty on Washington safety Deshazor Everett for interfering with Philadelphia punt returner Darren Sproles was the kind of foul that might merit a special category in the rules. Situation: Punt coming down to Sproles, Everett sprinting toward Sproles and trying to time his hit just as the ball reaches Sproles … and BOOM—before the ball arrives, Everett destroys Sproles. It’s as vicious a hit as you’ll see on an exposed punt returner. I don’t know if Sproles was concussed on the play—he wasn’t available after the game—but that’s the kind of hit that simply doesn’t belong in football. Rather than a fine, I think that hit ought to be strongly considered for a one-game suspension for Everett.

Even though the Eagles were playing with a makeshift offensive line, John Breech of CBSSports.com still gives the team a decent grade.

Philadelphia Eagles: B-

Carson Wentz single-handedly nailed the final nail in the coffin of the Eagles’ playoff chances. Two huge mistakes by the Eagles rookie cost Philly big time in this game. The first mistake was an interception in the first quarter on a play where Philadelphia had the ball at Washington’s 3-yard line. The other mistake came when Wentz lost a fumble on the Eagles’ final offensive possession of the game.

The Eagles fall to 26th in NFL.com’s Elliot Harrison‘s Power Rankings.

The Eagles made it interesting Sunday, with the ball and a chance late in the fourth quarter. Carson Wentz couldn’t pull out the win, although the rookie quarterback bounced back nicely after a miserable outing in Cincinnati. To be honest, many of the issues with Wentz have nothing to do with Wentz. The Eagles are devoid of playmakers on offense. Losing Darren Sproles in the second half didn’t help, either. That said, big ups to Trey Burton, who not only caught five balls but volunteered to deep snap on Philly’s go-ahead field goal in the fourth quarter (and delivered). Maybe the Cardinals should trade for him.

Rob Rang of CBSSports.com has the Eagles selecting a defensive back in the first round, although the position he plays may surprise you.

17. Philadelphia Eagles (from Minnesota)

Jamal Adams, SS, LSU: While rookie quarterback Carson Wentz earned most of the hype, a big reason for Philadelphia’s early success this season was a vastly improved defense. Both, however, have struggled in the Eagles’ current four-game losing streak. Adams possesses the range, agility and play-making ability to warrant comparison to former LSU (and current Cardinals) star Tyrann Mathieu and is bigger at 6-feet and 211 pounds.