London calling...Doug must answer...

London calling...Doug must answer...

Eagles

London calling...Doug must answer...

I expect the “Clash” version of the 2018 Eagles to show up at Wembley, and not the “phony Beatlemania” version we’ve seen so far this season.

All right, I’m being a little harsh with that, because the Eagles really are hurting physically moreso than we like to admit. The injuries piled up early on this team, and we are just beginning to dig out of that Red Cross canvas tarp.

Heading into this cross-Atlantic match with the Jax Jaguars, who are also mired at 3-4 in their respective division like we are, we find our head coach suddenly in the cross-hairs of criticism—as if his Super Bowl winning campaign never really culminated less than just 8 months ago.

Doug Pederson is pushing back on questions about his decision-making during a fourth-quarter meltdown against the Carolina Panthers Sunday, while expressing confidence that his team has what it takes to turn the season around.

Pederson called it “crazy” that he was being asked about whether he should have dialed up more running plays in the fourth quarter after going up 17-0, or if the defense should have blitzed more to try to halt a Carolina offense that caught fire down the stretch.

I don’t like these media/fan confrontations with our coach. First, it puts Doug into a defensive stance just based on the accusatory tone of the questions. “Should” you have called more running plays or blitzed more? What the heck kind of questions are those? It’s assuming that you already know the answers to the questions before you ask them.

“Well, we all know what you SHOULD have done….”

No, the reality of NFL football is more about “could” than “should”…

Doug doesn’t like being second-guessed by amateurs.

“Now you’re getting into game plan stuff, you’re getting into scheme, and you guys aren’t in there watching the tape like we are for 18 hours a day and putting the game plans together,” he said. “It’s easy to sit in a press box and say, ‘Hey, they should run the ball.’ Come down and stand on the sidelines with me and make decisions. … Until you’re down there with me on the sideline making in-game decisions, then, I guess you can ask all you want.”

“Let me ask you to block 700-pound men sometime. It’s not because of lack of effort, it’s not because of scheme. They get paid over there … Carolina, to make plays on us. And when it breaks down, it breaks down,” Pederson said.

“It’s not that I lose confidence in the run game, it’s not that at all. I’ve got a lot of confidence in the run game. I’ve got a lot of confidence in that O-Line room. Those guys are good, really good, and they’re talented, and the backs are talented. It’s still an aggressive mentality when I run and it’s still an aggressive mentality when I throw. We’re always going to maintain that aggressiveness. And I have no lack of confidence whatsoever in our run game.”

The Super Bowl champs are 3-4 entering Sunday’s London game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Despite the struggles over the first portion of the season, Pederson remains optimistic about his group. “Listen, I’ve got so much confidence in this football team, you don’t understand. We’re losing games by just a couple of plays,” he said.

“I’ve got so much confidence in this football team and this coaching staff that we’re going to get this fixed.”

I take him at his word. Doug’s the most transparent head coach we’ve had here since Dick Vermeil.

He is apparently wearing his emotions on his sleeve, too. I’m not so sure that’s the best survival tactic for a head coach who’s going through a tough streak of close losses to opportunistic opponents, but that is Doug and he’s not going to phony it up with Andy Reid-isms, such as “we’ve got to do a better job of putting our players in better position….etc.”

Doug basically says he’s put his available personnel in the best position that they can possibly be in, and so far that’s not a winning formula in close games. By Doug’s implication, that’s more on execution of design by the players, not on the coaching element.

Doug is the “Clash” calling out “phony Beatlemania”.

I don’t normally defend bad coaching decisions. I mean, you can go out of your way to “understand” an off-the-wall move, like when Pat Shurmur went for the 2-point conversion in Atlanta last night with his Giants trailing by 8 with 6 minutes to go.

But Doug doesn’t really do “off-the-wall” stuff. He may call seemingly “exotic” plays at times, but when you break them down, they’re actually quite simple attempts to exploit an overloaded defense.

That being the case, Doug gets a chance to make his  “Shut Up” statement this coming Sunday morning in London.

According to NBC Sports columnist Dave Zangaro, the Jaguars are an even bigger mess than the Eagles right now.

Jacksonville is going back to Blake Bortles, head coach Doug Marrone said in a statement released by the team. He’ll start Sunday against the Eagles in London.

“The Jags benched Bortles during their loss to the Texans on Sunday after he fumbled away the ball twice. They went with Cody Kessler for the rest of the game, but now are going back to their former first-round pick, who has had a rather disappointing career.

“Bortles received a three-year extension this offseason but has struggled so far in 2018. He’s thrown nine touchdowns and eight interceptions this season and has a passer rating just over 80. He’s not the worst quarterback in the league, but he’s hardly someone the Jaguars can expect to win a game for them.”

The deal with the Jaguars is their offense has been so impotent lately that it exiles their superlative defense to spending too many minutes on the field— until it inevitably wears down.

Newly acquired RB Carlos Hyde (formerly Cleveland Browns) says his running style makes him a perfect fit for what the Jaguars want to do on offense. However, he said he wasn’t aware of the team’s massive offensive struggles until he was on the sideline of last Sunday’s loss to Houston. “That’s new to me. I had no clue. I was prepping for Tampa Bay before i was traded,” Hyde said. “Once I got here [in Jacksonville], from the game I saw on Sunday, offensively we couldn’t really move the ball and that was hurting our defense. Those three-and-outs, that puts a lot of pressure on the defense right there, and turning the ball over. Definitely if we can get to move the ball in the right direction, convert those third downs, keep the drives alive, give the defense a break, it will be helpful.”

Thus, time’s yours, Doug Pederson. You’re the Clash, not the Beatles. Back up your protest lyrics with a new beat. The only critics you should be concerned with right now are the Jaguars.

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