Pederson's Eagles perfect on fourth-down conversions
When Chip Kelly was hired, there was intrigue about whether Kelly would defy convention and go for more fourth downs. But the Eagles were never in the Top 5 in fourth-down attempts even though they were at or near the top in total plays.
In six games this season, coach Doug Pederson's team has been perfect on fourth downs. The Eagles don't have many, but they don't miss when Pederson keeps the offense on the field. The Eagles are 5 for 5 – one of three teams with a perfect fourth-down percentage.
"My personality is probably a little more conservative by nature, I think," Pederson said. "You'd probably agree with that. But I trust our guys and I trust our offensive line and I think it sends a great message to the rest of the team, to the defense and special teams. That 'Hey, if we can convert this and stay on the field,' it sends a good message.
"And on the other side of that, if you do convert, [it's about] the message you send to the other team and the fact that you're going to stay aggressive."
The five attempts rank middle-of-the-pack in the NFL, but they're not always fourth and inches. In fact, only one of those attempts has been on a fourth and 1. Two have been on fourth-and-2 attempts, one on a fourth and 4, and one on a fourth and 6. The two other teams with a perfect fourth-down percentage (Dallas, 3 for 3, and Detroit, 5 for 5) have gone for it mostly with one yard needed.
The Eagles have struggled on third downs – they are 29th in the NFL with a 33.8 conversion rate – and Pederson said it's "a crazy deal" that they're "not great on third down," but perfect on fourth down. The ideal situation would be to have fewer fourth downs needed to convert, but Pederson is proud of the percentage – and the decisions.
"I'm going to continue to look at it. I don't ever want to be in a position that I'm going to jeopardize the team at the time [by going for it on fourth down]," Pederson said. "Looking at the five fourth-down decisions this year, I don't think they put us in any harm at that time."