Doug Pederson Talks Eagles Play-Calling Duties: ‘Dig Deep, Soul Search’

Doug Pederson

Getty Eagles head coach Doug Pederson, with his top assistant Duce Staley.

Everything is on the table, according to Doug Pederson. The Philadelphia Eagles head coach reiterated on Friday he’s not averse to giving up the play-calling duties on offense. In fact, Pederson confirmed a report saying that process has already begun as he doles out more responsibility to his collaborative coaching staff.

Passing-game coordinator Press Taylor has been calling plays in recent games, per The Inquirer’s Jeff McLane, and senior offensive consultant Rich Scangarello has been running the show in two-minute drills.

On Friday, Pederson told reporters that he has divvied up the play-calling duties and the transition has been seamless. However, he reiterated that he remains the lead play-caller and all final decisions are his to make.

“Listen, I’m still the play-caller,” Pederson said. “If I’m going to be part of the solution to our offensive woes, then I’m going to be part of the solution. Whatever that takes and whatever that looks like, whether it be elements of the gameplan, calling plays, or whatever it might be, in-game, but ultimately these are my decisions as we move forward. And it is something that I have to dig deep and kind of soul-search a little bit because I love doing it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a lot of fun — lot of joy and excitement when you do it and you do it well.”

The Eagles have sometimes been criticized for their outside-the-box thinking in compiling a collaborative coaching staff where at least six different offensive minds have voices. Obviously, the results haven’t been there through 11 games in 2020 but it hasn’t been due to poor communication or any butting of heads.

“Everybody’s on the same page, you know, we talk through a lot of different scenarios and situations,” Pederson said. “It’s been really good, obviously it hasn’t been seamless, and we still work through our issues each and every day and try and stay on top of situations that might come up during the game and even in-game.”

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Pederson Talks ‘Smooth’ Transition, Communication

When pressed further about giving up the play-calling duties, Pederson seemed to get a bit agitated and maybe annoyed. He repeated several times that he’s the lead play-caller and retains the final say on all decisions. The head coach did admit to allowing his assistants to have more input and talked about that transition.

“Great. It’s been going good,” Pederson said. “It’s been smooth. I mean the transition is fine, OK. It hasn’t been a lot but, you know, it’s something I’ll consider every week.”

Pederson, as he always does, put the blame for the Eagles’ offensive struggles on himself. It’s unclear how the play-calling duties will be divvied up this week against the Green Bay Packers. He didn’t want to reveal the gameplan for obvious reasons.

“I don’t really want to take you into why we’re doing that. I don’t want to give too much out to our opponents and really spill any kind of beans there,” Pederson said. “I’ve told you guys before that everything is on the table and it’ll be my decision moving forward if we continue down this path.

“If I divvy it up, you guys have always said this, I’ve said this before, that our process on offense is a very collaborative one as far as game-planning goes, all the coaches, all the position coaches, have a lot of input into the scheme each week and then it’s ultimately my decision in calling the plays or if I give that up.”


Injury Updates on 3 Key Eagles Players

Not lost in the play-calling discussion were a few house-keeping items related to injuries and depth charts. Defensive tackle Fletcher Cox (neck) and tight end Zach Ertz (ankle) have been limited for two straight days at practice.

Cox’s absence has been more precautionary, according to the head coach. Meanwhile, cornerback Darius Slay (calf) popped up on the injury report on Thursday as a limited participant. All three players should be good to go on Sunday.

“All three of those guys are doing well, some of it was precaution, in Fletcher’s case,” Pederson said. “But we’ll get through [practice] today and see where really all three of those guys are. Big day today, tomorrow, but I’m hopeful that all three will go.”

Pederson also revealed a big change with his starting offensive line. Rookie Jack Driscoll will take over for Matt Pryor at right tackle. The change on the depth chart has to do with Driscoll’s recovery from an ankle injury. He had been starting at right tackle for Lane Johnson (out for the year) before the injury in Week 6. Now he’s sliding back over into that role.

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