Has any first-place team in NFL history ever endured this much drama? The Eagles are sitting pretty in the NFC East at 3-5-1 with seven games left. However, it has been painful to watch at times as the offense continues to stall out and plod along at a snail’s pace. One reason being attributed to Philly’s struggles is “sloppy practice habits” from Carson Wentz.
According to NFL Network’s Mike Silver, the Eagles quarterback has been “allowed to perpetuate” some sloppy practice habits, like “not checking the ball down, or knowing when to give up on a play, forcing the ball to predetermined receivers, and maybe overestimating his once elite athleticism.”
It’s a loaded gun full of unfounded accusations but Silver is a plugged-in national reporter, perhaps there is some truth behind his bombshell report. He also thinks if the Eagles’ “downward spiral” continues, then the team may decide to blow it up and start over with second-round pick Jalen Hurts.
“Listen, they drafted Jalen Hurts in the second round. That was clearly a signal that they are not necessarily standing pat at that position,” Silver said. “So I think organizationally, they would like to continue to build this around Carson Wentz but I think if this downward spiral continues, there’s a sense it could all be blown up.”
In terms of Doug Pederson, Silver emphasized how “well-liked” the head coach is inside the building but he may have too many voices in his headset. Remember, the organization never named an offensive coordinator choosing instead to build a collaborative coaching staff — Rich Scangarello, Marty Mornhinweg, Press Taylor, Duce Staley, Andrew Breiner — all have significant input on the gameplan.
“Doug Pederson is extremely well-liked in that building but the facts are facts,” Silver said. “There’s a feeling that Pederson may be listening to too many voices. There are a lot of offensive assistants on that staff and Pederson is amenable to their suggestions and the gameplan doesn’t really fit together … a lot of frustration swirling in the air in that building.”
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Pederson Denies Bombshell NFL Network Report
The first thing Pederson wanted to address about the report citing bad practice habits by Wentz was the fundamental flaw in how the information was mined.
For starters, reporters aren’t allowed in for the detailed portions of practice. They don’t get to see what really goes on behind closed doors. Even so, the head coach admitted he hadn’t heard Silver’s remarks anyway.
“Well, first of all, I did not see the report and secondly, you guys are only out there for a short period of time, so I don’t know where the information is coming from,” Pederson said. “Practice is where we perfect our craft and we do the things with all of our players to detail their work.
“Whether it be fundamentals in the individual periods, all the way through to even for me sometimes even stopping practice and repeating a play because we’ve made a mistake. So I don’t understand where that’s coming from, and we’re just going to continue to coach and make sure we hold everybody accountable.”
Intensive COVID-19 Protocols Played Factor in Brutal Loss
Pederson was making the media rounds on Monday and tried to shoulder the blame as much as possible. The head coach admitted his players are “pissed off” and “upset” and “frustrated.” You can pretty much use any synonym for anger and it’ll describe the mood in the Eagles’ locker room right now.
However, look at the NFC East standings and there is a legitimate opportunity for the Eagles to make a serious playoff push.
“Listen, I’m disappointed. We’re all disappointed,” Pederson told reporters on Monday. “The guys in the locker room at the end of the game, they were frustrated. They were mad. We’re all frustrated. And we know we’re so much better and we just got to buckle in this week and everything is still right in front of us and we got a great opportunity on Sunday.”
The Super Bowl-winning coach didn’t want to make any excuses for the brutal loss, although he did reference last week’s “intensive” protocol and coming off the bye. Once safety Marcus Epps and assistant defensive line coach Jeremiah Washburn tested positive for COVID-19, the Eagles had to lock down their practice facility and conduct all meetings virtually. It had an impact on the way they prepared.
“We’ve had 14 days since we played a game and, of course, we went into the intensive protocol last week and things were a little different for us,” Pederson said. “It’s still my responsibility to have the team ready to play and we came up short. And the guys are mad, they’re disappointed because of that.”
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