Just as the world was preparing to settle in for a cozy Friday night, Jeff McLane dropped an article that caused a reaction fiery enough to toast marshmallows. According to the report released just days after people were pounding the table for a change in the Eagles’ play-calling structure, it turns out that Doug Pederson has already surrendered some of those duties.
McLane cites that Pederson has handed some of his current play-calling responsibilities over to Press Taylor – something we could see more of this Sunday. He also notes that Senior offensive assistant Rich Scangarello has been calling plays in two-minute drills since the beginning of the year.
This in itself is interesting. Press Taylor, who has been the subject of heavy criticism due to his quarterback’s regression, getting the opportunity to call plays is a huge piece of news. Taylor has become infamously known as the man who pitched the ‘Philly Special’ to Doug Pederson, but has never called plays or been in any kind of offensive coordinator role. He acts as the passing-game coordinator for the Eagles, but has never specifically been the man dialing up the plays.
It’s a bit of a shot to Scangarello. Sure, the former Broncos offensive coordinator and graduate from the ‘Shanahan school of witchcraft and wizardry’ is calling plays during two-minute drills, but they’re obviously going to be very slanted. With two minute drills, it’s either keepaway or YOLO. Defenses are either very tight or very soft. The results in comparison to the rest of the offense obviously have to be viewed differently.
So while McLane is right in pointing out how the Eagles have scored 10 touchdowns in 29 2-minute drives and only 19 scores in 101 other possessions, context is key. How many of those two-minute drives were the Eagles down 2+ scores with the game out of reach, or going into halftime needing to claw back into a game?
All year long, there has been a consensus that there might be to many chefs in the kitchen. Press Taylor, Andrew Breiner, Marty Mornhinweg and Rich Scangarello are all essentially filling the role of an offensive coordinator by committee. Mornhinweg is a grizzled play-caller, Scangarello has experience, and even Andrew Breiner was previously an offensive coordinator.
We know that Doug Pederson liked his old coaching staff – it’s why he guaranteed the futures of Mike Groh and Carson Walch last year. They were fired one day later and the new boyband was put together.
Could that be why it’s taken 13 weeks for any of this to come out? Or for the most significant play-calling change to be an increase in responsibilities for the only coach in that group from last year’s offensive staff?
It’s beyond encouraging that Pederson still wants to find a solution and continue to explore new ways to help his struggling quarterback and broken offense. But it took 13 weeks and when that decision is made, he goes straight past people who had previously been in coordinator roles, straight past someone like Duce Staley who is a beloved positional coach, and handed them to Press Taylor?
The problem with having too many chefs in the kitchen, aside from the spoiled soup, is that if one begins to get preferential treatment, it could cause chaos. It’s the last thing the Eagles need right now, but it could well be a reality they face as Pederson continues to make the wrong decisions with the right intent.
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