The Eagles and Giants are preparing to renew their bitter rivalry this Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field. One team is looking to further cement their claim among the top NFL teams after a valiant effort against an AFC powerhouse, while the other has its back to the wall after an incredibly underwhelming start. While the grander scheme of things appear to completely contrast each other, the two men calling the shots are standing on the same Knife edge.
The Giants are at a crossroads. Eli Manning has struggled through the opening two games of the season and a reshuffled offensive line has allowed eight sacks in two games. Veteran wide receiver help has not provided the answers in absence of superstar Odell Beckham Jr, and it’s running back Shane Vereen that has the second most receiving yards on a team where no player has eclipsed 100 yards this season.
Their opponents seemingly have it all figured out…nearly. A stern Defense with a ruthless pass rush? Check. A Secondary that’s primed for future success and continues to overcome adversity? Check. A franchise quarterback who has shown tremendous growth entering his second year? Check. A strong Offensive line? uh…and a dangerous rushi…you get where this is going.
The criticisms may vary in reasoning and situation, but both McAdoo and Pederson have faced a lot of outside pressure when it comes to playcalling. Carson Wentz leads the Eagles in rushing yards after two games despite having to throw 46 times and 39 respectively. After his rookie season, there was plenty of skepticism surrounding the consistency and confidence of playcalling from Pederson. Two weeks in, not much has changed. For Pederson, his accountability hasn’t either.
“I have to be critical of myself.” Pederson told reporters after the loss to Kansas City. “I’ve got to see if I’m putting our team in a good situation by play call and the decisions that I make during the game.”
What differs between the two coaches however is an openness to change. While McAdoo has been calling plays since his appointment as Offensive Coordinator back in 2014, a hot start to his Head Coaching career saw an offensive stagnation in the latter stages of last year. Over the last eight games, the G-Men have not scored more than 19 points in a single game.
The start of this season hasn’t exactly seen glowing offensive displays either. The Offense has scored a dismal 13 points and has put up just 503 total yards so far. As opposed to doubling down on his decisions and trust in systems and gut feeling, McAdoo told reporters during a Tuesday conference call that he is open to the idea of giving current offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan the reins.
“We can’t keep doing the same thing over and over again. That’s insanity,” McAdoo said. “It’s not working, so we’re going to look to make some more changes this week like we did last week. Maybe a little more drastic.”
The two situations are clearly different, but two rookie head coaches and facing the same types of criticism is a unique situation, especially for two teams locked into divisional warfare. Playing each other two times a year certainly adds extra fuel to the fire, but could there be even a slight possibility that the two are able to climb out of a play-calling hole together? McAdoo seemed open to the idea, but remained realistic.
“I’m not sure how willing Doug is going to be to help me out at this point, but if he has any questions for me I’d be willing to share. I don’t think New York and Philadelphia are in the business of helping each other.”
The Eagles and Giants will lock heads for the first time this season on Sunday and it will mark the fourth occasion that McAdoo and Pederson have faced each other as opposing head coaches. Who has the upper hand remains to be seen, but while the battles they’re fighting may differ, it all centralizes around one thing. Play-calling. Something that has the potential to either pull the Giants out of the abyss, or surge the Eagles into a playoff charge.
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