Doug Pederson projected confidence Friday both about his job security as head coach entering the Eagles’ season finale and in quarterback Carson Wentz’s ability to right the ship this summer.
With the Eagles’ decision between Jalen Hurts and Wentz looming as the offseason approaches, Pederson said his faith in Wentz hasn’t wavered since the team benched its franchise quarterback four weeks ago.
“I think these last four games have really allowed Carson to kind of take a step back and just evaluate,” Pederson said. “You gotta understand I’ve got a ton of confidence in Carson Wentz and always have. Our offseason is going to be geared toward getting things fixed as quarterbacks and obviously as a team, and that falls on my shoulders. That’s going to be our motivation moving into this offseason.”
Wentz saw a regression from his previous form, leading to his benching. The 28-year-old is on track to tie or set career lows in yards per attempt, completion percentage, and QBR. His 15 interceptions are tied for the league lead even though he hasn’t played in the last three games, and he’s still the NFL’s most sacked quarterback.
Whether team owner Jeffrey Lurie entrusts the current coaching staff with the task of fixing Wentz or turns elsewhere remains to be seen, but Pederson reiterated Friday that he expects to be back as coach next season.
Pederson had a similar sentiment earlier in the week, but said he hadn’t gotten any assurances from Lurie or anyone else and instead drew confidence from his track record before this 4-10-1 season. The conversation with Lurie, Pederson said, will likely happen early next week.
“As far as the reassurances go, I expect to be here in 2021 until something else happens,” Pederson said. “That’s the confidence I have in my ability, and that’s how I’m going to approach these next few days.”
Even if Pederson remains at the helm, there’s reason to believe changes to his staff could be coming.
The team didn’t have a conventional offensive coaching structure this season, forgoing an offensive coordinator in favor of promoting Press Taylor to passing-game coordinator to combine with Jeff Stoutland’s run-game coordination. The Eagles also brought in Rich Scangarello as a senior offensive assistant and hired Marty Mornhinweg as a senior offensive consultant.
The outside-the-box approach to the staff hasn’t yielded results this season, with the Eagles’ offense ranking in the bottom third of the league in several categories, including points, yards per play, and turnovers.
Pederson stressed the importance of limiting the number of “voices” in offensive meeting rooms and sounded open to implementing changes to the structure of the staff after the season.
“At the end of the day, I want to make sure that there’s one voice, and that’s my voice, that’s heard offensively, and nobody else’s,” Pederson said. “That’s the part that I’ve gotta get across to the staff, and I have done that and I want to make sure that there’s one voice talking to the quarterbacks. ... That’s something that comes from me and, as the season ends this weekend for us, will be evaluated moving forward.”
On the other side of the ball, Pederson gave defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz credit for his group’s ability to keep games close even when the offense struggled.
“I thought the defense actually was doing some really good things for us and keeping the offense in these football games here down the stretch,” Pederson said. “[It was] creating takeaways and sort of stymieing the run game from our opponents, things of that nature.”