December 02, 2019
Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson has been making a habit of sticking his foot in his mouth following losses, like on Sunday night when he said the now 3-9 Dolphins, who have the worst point differential in the NFL, were a good football team.
I know that's a way of making yourself feel just a little bit better after losing to arguably the worst team in the league — and that includes the Bengals, who won for the first time on Sunday — but it's insulting to your fans, especially since they know it's not true. Worse yet, they know you know it's not the truth, and yet you're trying to convince them otherwise.
Perhaps Pederson's worst offenses, however, have come during his Monday morning appearances on SportsRadio 94 WIP with Angelo Cataldi. A few weeks ago, he guaranteed the Eagles would go into Dallas and knock off the Cowboys, only to find himself backtracking those bulletin-board comments a few hours later when he met with the local media for his weekly day-after press conference. And by the end of the week, after the Birds were blown out in Big D, Pederson's comments looked even worse.
Well, Pederson did it again on Monday, when he told Angelo and Co. that he believed the Dolphins "played harder" than his team did on Sunday. Yes, that's the flailing Miami Dolphins who have nothing left to play for but draft position outworking a team that was playing for a share of first place in their division with their playoff hopes very much still alive.
That's not what you want to be hearing from the head coach of your football team.
But then, instead of standing by his words and using it as a way to galvanize a locker room that appears to have become tired of his it's-all-on-me approach to handling losses, Pederson did what he's wont to do and backtracked immediately when pressed by the media.
"I think, I don't want to be misunderstood when I make that statement," Pederson said after the first question he faced was about his earlier comments. "What I mean by 'they want it more' is there were certain plays in that game where they made the play we didn't, so in that case, yeah, they wanted that play a little bit more than we did. As a whole, as a game, the effort, the energy level, all that was there, you know, in the game. Playing tough — guys played hurt and then went back in the game. So it's none of that.
"It's the fact that there were plays to be made in the game, and we didn't make them. They wanted that aspect of the game just a touch more. They made those plays and ultimately came out on top."
That statement begs more questions than it answers.
If it wasn't a lack of effort, was it a lack of talent? Pederson said no there as well.
What about poor coaching, like how the secondary failed to adjust after getting lit up by DeVante Parker? Nope, it wasn't that either.
Then what was the difference on Sunday?
"If you go back and rewatch the game, again, we have guys in position. It's not the calls. It's not the effort of the team. It's not any of that," Pederson said. "We're in position. They made the play and we didn't. That's really what it comes down to. We've got to do our job as far as putting players in position. ... It's not a talent thing.
"If you've ever played competitive sports in your life, you would know — there are times when you get beat and there are times when you win. And we got beat. We physically got beat yesterday and we have to accept that. Every player has to look at that. Every coach has to look at that."
So, no one is to blame and everyone is to blame?
Well, at least the general public seems to agree with the latter part of that assessment. Let's take a look at what they're saying about the Eagles following their unacceptable loss to the Dolphins.
Eagles fans often get accused of being reactionary or overly negative about their team. That's not an unfair claim to make, but their anger following Sunday's loss to the Dolphins is rightfully justified. And it doesn't matter where that vitriol is pointed, because everyone from the top or the organization down deserves blame for that one.
Over at The Athletic, Bo Wolf reminded Eagles fans that it's OK to be mad — although I'm not sure they needed the reminder in this case — and offered up plenty of reasons for you get upset.
You should be mad at the players... You should be mad at the coaches... You should be mad at Howie Roseman... If nothing changes structurally when the season is over, you should be mad at Jeffrey Lurie too... You should be mad the Eagles have had no answers for the same problems that have plagued them for two years running... You should be mad they don’t seem to be very mad... [theathletic.com]
And it kind of goes on and on like that until...
If you’re not mad, that’s OK too. The Eagles won the Super Bowl less than two years ago. Maybe that cured you from caring too much. Maybe the problem is they feel the same way.
If not, this loss should make you furious. Coming off back-to-back losses following their bye, the Eagles faced a closing stretch of five games against four teams with a combined record of 12-33. Five wins would guarantee an NFC East title. They had no excuse to lay such a profound egg against one of the league’s laughingstocks. Now they’re in danger of becoming one.
What’s worse? Because of the Cowboys’ loss on Thanksgiving, the Eagles can still “win” the division by closing the season with four straight wins. You should be mad you have to care for another week. [theathletic.com]
Well said, Bo. Well said.
After winning the Super Bowl back in 2018, Pederson declared the Eagles' newfound success as the "new normal" in Philadelphia. And since then, we've seen nothing but regression.
In fact, everything that's happened since then has proven the exact opposite to be true. The "new normal" in Philadelphia couldn't be further away from what took place back in 2017, and as the time between then and now grows greater, it's beginning to look like what we really got was the "ew normal," because this has become hard to watch.
Quarterback Carson Wentz echoed that sentiment after the game, saying “I’ve seen crazier," Wentz said. "I’ve seen crazier. We just gotta find a way to get back on top next week. Go 1-0 next week and see what happens.”
The new team motto: It could happen!
Well, now, it seems Pederson was ill-timed with his “New Normal” message in 2018.
*This* is the new normal.
In the 30 games (including the playoffs) since winning the Super Bowl, the Eagles are 15-15. They’re 9-12 in games with a deficit of seven points or less.
In games started by Wentz, they’re 10-13.
Sunday marked the eighth time in 30 games they’ve scored at least 30 points. They did that 11 times in 2017 alone.
Worst of all, it never seems like the Eagles can put together a full four quarters where both the offense and defense are playing. [nj.com]
Prior to this Eagles' season, there were visions of a possible return to the Super Bowl dancing in Eagles fans' heads. While that should've changed quickly after the way this season started, many still held out some hope that the Birds would put things together and make a run like they've become known for in recent years.
Now, finally, it seems like they can let that hope go. Of course, the Eagles are still very much alive in the NFC East race, but as Les Bowen warns, don't hold your breath.
Yes, a team that has lost three games in a row, a team that blew 10-0 and 28-14 leads Sunday en route to allowing the now-3-9 Dolphins to achieve their highest point total in four years, can make the playoffs if it wins its final four games. The holding of one’s breath is not recommended. ...
The Eagles are not contenders to return to this stadium for Super Bowl LIV. They technically can still make the playoffs, but that technicality is worth just about as much as all those preseason assumptions about how talented they were.
Until Sunday, it was possible to cling to the narrative that they were gamely fighting their way through injuries and a critical lack of depth at wide receiver, and that as they did in 2018, the Eagles would pull themselves together and at least put on a stretch run in which they resembled the team that won Super Bowl LII.
Instead, after the first few minutes Sunday, they looked as if they had switched uniforms with the Dolphins. It would not be a surprise to see that dwindling shot at the playoffs disappear next Monday night against the Giants, or the Sunday after that against Washington. When it happens, maybe all the deflecting and pretending can end and we can sort out a mess of a season that calls into question coaching, locker room leadership, and the way the roster was built. [inquirer.com]
If the Eagles' season continues down this track, there are likely going to be changes made. Reuben Frank of NBC Sports Philadelphia takes a look at what that might look like...
This team needs an overhaul. There’s no ignoring it now.
And it doesn’t start with Howie Roseman rolling up his sleeves and figuring out what moves to make. What former Eagles to bring back this time around.
No, it has to start with Jeff Lurie being truly honest with himself and examining whether the personnel department needs a major restructure.
Lurie will never fire Howie. But would he transition him into a role where he focuses on contracts and salary cap while a GM comes in and gains final say over personnel? It’s not unthinkable. It couldn’t hurt at this point.
And Lurie won’t fire Doug Pederson, not yet. Doug still has at least another year of equity built up from that 2017 season that seems so far in the past. But certainly every assistant on the staff needs to be honestly evaluated. Some need to be replaced. ...
Are the Eagles spiraling downhill because they don’t have good enough players? Or are the players not good enough because the coaching is inadequate?
Probably a little of both, but that’s something the Eagles’ brain trust — whoever that is — also needs to figure out. [nbcsports.com]
Over at the Delaware News Journal, they took an early look at which players (and decision makers) should be back next season. And while most of the results weren't shocking, there were certainly some surprises in there. Despite the team's recent struggles, readers overwhelmingly voted for both Doug Pederson (87.5%) and Howie Roseman (71.3%) to stay. Carson Wentz (86.4%) was also high on the list of those fans want to stay. So were Jordan Howard (93.7%) and Miles Sanders (98.1%), who were among the leaders in stay votes, while just 10% want Darren Sproles to stay. Zach Ertz (96.9%) and Dallas Goedert (95.4%) were also high, but the Eagles wideouts left a lot to be desired.
Let's take a look at them, since there's been so much talk surrounding the receiving corps this season:
#17 ALSHON JEFFERY
He hasn’t been the same since the Eagles’ Super Bowl season, especially on 50-50 balls.
OUR CALL: STAY
WHY? Cutting him will cost the Eagles $26 million in dead money. They’re pretty much stuck.
Voters think that Alshon Jeffery should:
• Stay: 52.7%
• Go: 47.3%
#13 NELSON AGHOLOR
He’s eligible for free agency after the season. Agholor’s production so far hasn’t matched his $9.4 million salary.
OUR CALL: GO
WHY? He’s eligible for free agency. It’s just too much money, not enough production.
Voters think that Nelson Agholor should:
• Stay: 12.3%
• Go: 87.7%
#10 DESEAN JACKSON
The speed receiver the Eagles desperately need will have only played in one full regular-season game this season.
OUR CALL: STAY
WHY? Even though he’ll be 33 next season, he’s still the only deep threat the Eagles have.
Voters think that DeSean Jackson should:
• Stay: 61.3%
• Go: 38.7%
#19 J.J. ARCEGA-WHITESIDE
The Eagles’ second-round pick this season has just 2 receptions this season.
OUR CALL: STAY
WHY? He’s young, and the Eagles hope he can develop. There’s still time for that.
Voters think that J.J. Arcega-Whiteside should:
• Stay: 61.9%
• Go: 38.1%
#16 MACK HOLLINS
The Eagles’ fourth-round pick in 2017 has 0 catches in the last five games despite playing 190 snaps.
OUR CALL: GO
WHY? Another draft pick who hasn’t produced. He can be replaced.
Voters think that Mack Hollins should:
• Stay: 10.2%
• Go: 89.8%
On the offensive line, everyone seemed to be welcomed back with the exceptions of Jason Peters, who 83.4% of voters would like to see gone, and Halapoulivaati Vaitai, who 58.5% of voters want to see gone.
As for the defense, you'll have to go over to the News Journal's website to see those results, but let's just say that the results for the secondary look a lot like those for the wideouts.
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