Doug Pederson’s lack of awareness is suffocating the Eagles offense

NFL: NOV 15 Eagles at Giants
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – NOVEMBER 15: Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson looks on during the game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the New York Giants on November 15, 2020 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ. (Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire)

The Eagles offense is about as disjointed as a group could be right now. First downs are a rarity, play-calling is stagnant, and every drive is littered with mistakes. There are plenty of causes for the notable struggles that the team is going through, but is Doug Pederson’s lack of awareness one of the more worrying factors?

There was a lot wrong with how Pederson coached last night, but the concurrent theme through every bad decision was a total absence of an ability to read the room.

It took the Eagles 1.5 quarters to even move the chains and once again, the run-game was quickly abandoned. The Eagles had fewer first-quarter yards against the league’s worst-ranked defense than Denver had against the Saints. Denver didn’t even have a quarterback. Unfortunately, drops, poor throws, and poor O-line play were only a sign of things to come.

After a few days of reports surrounding Jalen Hurts and a proposed increase in playing time, the second-round QB would see just two snaps. The Eagles had -4 total yards upon his insertion into the game. He completed a 4-yard pass on his first attempt and suddenly the offense had a spark of life. That vanished one play later when Wentz was thrown back into action and took an 8-yard sack.

“The plan was to use him when we could.” Doug Pederson explained after the game. “The way the game started, we just didn’t have many opportunities, too many three and outs. I don’t think we got a first down until the second quarter. We just didn’t — we failed to execute. It just wasn’t in the cards, I guess, so to speak, early in the football game.”

But if the offense is struggling as badly as it is, wouldn’t that be the perfect time to change things up?

As the game progressed, the questionable decisions only further presented themselves. Alshon Jeffery had seemingly replaced Travis Fulgham at the top of the depth chart, despite the former fifth-round pick leading the NFL in receiving yards during a four-week stretch earlier this year. For the second week in a row, Fulgham wasn’t targeted until the second half and his snaps were down.

“Well, I think, Travis he’s still a part of the offense and he knows he’s got to continue to work hard each week and play well.” Pederson said. “And Alshon is improving and getting healthier.”

‘Part of the offense’ isn’t a ‘focal point of the offense’ like he was when the group actually had some kind of danger about them.

In the fourth quarter, the Eagles pushed inside enemy territory and hit a brick wall. Down by 2 scores, Pederson opted to go for it on 4th and long as opposed to attempting a field goal, having already wasted 2 timeouts on challenges. The attempt ended in an interception and a miscommunication on a play. Pederson’s explanation was concerning.

“My mind-set there was we have to stay as aggressive as possible on offense. We had to try to make a play, get something going. And from my vantage point it just looked like Carson and Dallas were not synced up. It was a play we had used in the third quarter. They connected on it, and it appeared that Dallas turned inside, Carson threw it outside where Dallas was on the first time we called the play. So just a matter of those two guys being on the same page. 

But as far as the decision to go, we had to make every effort to stay and really get us into this game and just wanted to stay as aggressive as possible.”

Why would you want to be aggressive when your offense can barely stay on the field for more than 5 plays? Why would you double down on a group that Seattle would happily toy with by going for it on 4th down on their end, knowing the opponents can’t find any traction?

It’s bad enough that everything that was once promised in this offense has vanished. an emphasis on Speed, a potent rushing attack, plenty of play-action, and elite QB play have all just disappeared. What’s even more worrying is that while the foundations still stand, a Hurricane of poor decisions seems insistent on ripping them from the ground and sooner or later, there’s going to be significant damage dealt.

Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire