Maybe you take it as a wake-up call, maybe you accept it as a normal “knocking off the rust” process and simply flush the second half of the Washington loss from memory. Burn the tape. This is not the time to throw your franchise QB under the bus. Carson Wentz had a horrible second half, but so did the coaching staff and most of the offensive blocking personnel.
Imagine you are the head coach and you have to balance your approach to how you use that game as a teaching/unifying moment.
Les Bowen of The Inquirer added some insight into the inevitable scrutiny of Doug Pederson’s leadership skills as the Eagles have little time to rebound from blowing a big lead in a game they were heavily favored to win. The Los Angeles Rams are coming to town this Sunday.
“Doug Pederson thinks that if you want your team and your quarterback to have an aggressive mindset, you have to cultivate it. If that mindset backfires, and you lose a game you would have won by being more cautious, you live with it.
“You try to fix the mistakes that caused your aggressiveness to bite you in the rear end, but you don’t change who you are, who you want to be. Basically, if fans want the Philly Special, they have to be able to endure an unblocked blitzer leveling Carson Wentz on fourth-and-4 in the third quarter, as happened Sunday.”
“I have to do what I feel is in the best interest of the football team,” Pederson said. “We practice these situations all the time. I do have to be smart. Game-by-game, you have to make smart decisions, and you gotta trust our players, trust our quarterback, trust our schemes. How well is our defense playing? There’s all of that, that factors into the aggressiveness factor for us.”
“I guess you’re asking me if I could have run the ball when we were up 17-0, the rest of the game, yeah, that’s being less aggressive, but I’m going to do what I feel is in the best interest of the football team,” Pederson said. “We cannot turn the ball over. There’s all kinds of things that we can point the finger at. I can do a better job with a couple of play calls, throughout the game.”
“As far as the aggressiveness goes, I’m still going to maintain the aggressiveness. … A 17-0 lead or a 27-10 lead in any football game in this league is not enough. You have to continue to maintain aggressiveness, especially when you have momentum, right? … You gotta use that to your advantage.”
“We’ve just gotta keep talking that it’s OK to throw the ball away, it’s OK to ‘dirt’ the ball on a screen pass, or something of that nature,” Pederson said. “It’s something that we’ve just got to continue working through. … I do believe he can learn that. I do believe that we can coach it better. You’re probably going, ‘Well, it’s a broken record,’ but it’s what we have to do.”
So don’t expect a sudden turn in offensive strategy as a reaction to the Eagles’ breakdown in Washington. Doug is basically saying the only thing that will change is that his players on offense will better execute the existing strategy against the Rams.
You kinda have to admire that “stay the course” mindset. At some point, however, the seeing has to match up with believing.
At this point, there are still a lot of injuries to see, which is holding back fan confidence at least.
Defensive end Vinny Curry, who started against Washington in place of injured Derek Barnett, joined Barnett among the legion of hamstrung Eagles. Pederson called it a “significant” injury, and he used the same term for special teams core player Craig James. It isn’t clear what injury James sustained.
Pederson also confirmed that defensive end Brandon Graham is in the league’s concussion protocol.
Pederson did not predict that Barnett, running back Miles Sanders (hamstring), or right tackle Lane Johnson will return this Sunday in the home opener, against the Los Angeles Rams.
“We are going to increase their practice time this week,” Pederson said. “We’re going to see as the week goes on where they are, and hopefully, they will be available for the game on Sunday.”
Along the offensive line, rookie tackle Jack Driscoll did not finish the game due to severe cramping. Also, Lane Johnson is trying to work his way back with an ankle injury that sidelined him for the opener. The Eagles filled one of the open spots on the active roster by signing guard Sua Opeta from the practice squad. Opeta was also called up from the practice squad for Sunday’s game, but did not play.