The Eagles amassed all of four yards during the first 20 minutes of their 23-17 home loss to Seattle on Monday night. When head coach Doug Pederson spoke with reporters Tuesday, one of the topics addressed was play-calling, which has been a recurring question throughout this 3-7-1 season.
This time, though, the answer was at least a little different.
“I take pride in play-calling,” Pederson said. “I look at everything. I’ve gotta take everything in consideration, and if I feel like I get stuck or in a rut, I definitely would consider giving that up. That’s definitely on the table. I wouldn’t say it’s off the table, but that’s also part of sparking the offense,” which Pederson spoke about in response to an earlier question. “And maybe seeing the offense through somebody else’s eyes.”
Pederson didn’t indicate that any move there was imminent, though.
“I don’t necessarily feel like I’m in a rut right now. ... If I feel like I ever get to that spot, then I would consider for a game, a half, or whatever, letting somebody else do that, if that helps us win,” he said.
You just might possibly be aware that the fallout from this disaster has raised two other huge questions — Pederson’s job security, and whether starting quarterback Carson Wentz should be benched in favor of rookie Jalen Hurts. Both topics were addressed in a day-after session that concluded with Pederson noting that reporters “aren’t even talking about how well the defense played” in the loss.
Tuesday marked the first time Pederson has been asked about whether he thinks his job is in danger, three years after winning the only Super Bowl in franchise history.
Pederson said he hasn’t been reassured “one way or the other.” Not sure that was exactly what he meant to say, since being told you might be fired wouldn’t be reassuring, to most of us. But the rest of Pederson’s answer indicated that this doesn’t seem to be preying upon his mind:
“Listen, I’ve been around this league a long time, 25 years, I believe, as a player and a coach, and we’re always based on and evaluated on our performance,” Pederson said. “Right now, that’s obviously not my concern, as far as that decision goes. That’s out of my hands. But what’s in my hands and in my control is getting the team prepared and ready for Green Bay this weekend.
“So, I’m not going there mentally. I’m looking forward to playing again this week, getting back on the grass [Wednesday] with the players, and getting ready for Green Bay.”
Pederson said he meets weekly with team owner Jeffrey Lurie, and that Lurie has not given him any sort of quarterbacking dictate.
“That’s my decision as the head football coach ... if and when we make that change, but right now, we’re not doing that,” he said.
Asked if in the meetings with Lurie, the topic of front office responsibility for the state of the roster ever came up, Pederson said: “Those conversations are private. I’m not going to get into that. This is not the time or the place to really get into those types of conversations.”
Pederson fielded several questions about his use of Hurts. There were reports over the weekend that Hurts might have an expanded role against the Seahawks, though Pederson never said he would. Hurts saw the field for two snaps. One was a 6-yard completion to Alshon Jeffery, the first play all season in which Hurts has taken a snap without Carson Wentz on the field. The other was a handoff to Miles Sanders, with Wentz on the field, on which Sanders was stopped for no gain on third-and-2.
From Pederson’s answers after the game and on Tuesday, it would seem that he sees increased use of Hurts right now as an unfair indictment of Wentz — essentially, blaming the offense’s struggles on the quarterback.
“The struggles we had last night weren’t from the quarterback position,” Pederson said. “It was a bunch of mistakes from all positions.”
Pederson said that he wanted to see rhythm and flow from the offense before doing a lot of mixing in of Hurts plays, and that he didn’t get that early on against the Seahawks.
That lack of rhythm brings us back to play-calling. Since the Eagles don’t have an offensive coordinator, it’s hard to say who would call plays if Pederson didn’t. Quarterbacks coach Press Taylor is the pass-game coordinator. Offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland is the run-game coordinator. Running backs coach Duce Staley is the assistant head coach. Rich Scangerello is the senior offensive assistant. Marty Mornhinweg is the senior offensive consultant. Andrew Breiner is the pass-game analyst.
Perhaps they could form a committee that would meet between downs and vote on a play, with Pederson as the tiebreaker in the event of a 3-3 deadlock.