At times, it feels like there is no winning in Philadelphia. The Eagles just beat a team in their own division by 13 points and some fans first reaction is to instantly critique something. You see it year in and year out. Last year, the narrative that followed the Eagles was the wide receiver play, which was justified. It was well known the Eagles’ wide receiver group in 2016 was bad, like arguably worst in the league bad. After every single game, win or loss, fans instantly turned their emotions to the WRs and found something to dissect. Whether it was piss poor effort by Dorial Green-Beckham, or a drop by Nelson Agholor, the group was the topic of conversation.
This year, Doug Pederson will be the topic of conversation after every game, or play, even. The Eagles just went into Washington, in week 1, with limited film to study, and won comfortably. Yes, the Eagles had to make a stop in the final minutes to seal the deal, but outside of a tipped pass that resulted in a pick-six, the Eagles dominated the football game. Beating a division opponent is tough to do, but to do it in week 1 AND on the road is even more impressive.
The Eagles couldn’t get the run game going against Washington. As a team the Eagles rushed for a whopping 58 yards on 24 attempts, that’s 2.4 yards per carry for those counting at home. For some reason, fans were adamant on yelling at Doug Pederson to run the ball more, which to me, made no sense. The passing game was a different story – Carson Wentz threw the ball 39 times for 307 yards and 2 touchdowns against the Redskins. Wentz’ 307 yards through the air were the 5th most in week 1. I get it, the Eagles only rushed 24 times, but the way Wentz and the offense were moving the ball, Pederson would have been making a mistake not putting the ball in his hands.
Doug Pederson isn’t the most flashy Head Coach in the league. He replaced one of the most scrutinized Head Coaches ever in Chip Kelly, so from a personality standpoint, he had big shoes to fill. Pederson’s pressers can be boring, his pregame and postgame speeches can come off corny. I get it. But facts are facts: Pederson went 7-9 in his rookie season WITH a rookie QB who was named the starter a week before the season.
Pederson’s biggest weakness is play-calling. He gets away from the run too quickly if it isn’t working early. Last year, Pederson was predictable calling plays, and at times, he often didn’t give his receivers chances to win down the field, which was justified by their performance. He’s notorious for calling screen passes on third and long and going for it on 4th down during questionable moments of the game.
I am in no way shape or form a Doug Pederson stan, but, to ask for a coach to be fired after 7 wins in his rookie season with the circumstances Pederson was dealt is so far and beyond premature. Then to come for Pederson’s neck after a division win in week 1, after his team dropped 30 points on the road? Yeah, let’s relax folks. Give Pederson a chance to grow. The NFL is all about adjustments. Teams find your tendencies, and it’s up to you to adjust back. So far Pederson is 1-0, let’s see how he does the rest of the year.
Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports