During this offseason, we talked a lot about continuity.
We talked about the idea that the Eagles might just have an advantage over a lot of teams in the NFL in 2020, especially over the other teams in the NFC East. Because while many teams had a lot of turnover, the Eagles brought back their head coach and play-caller, their franchise quarterback and their defensive coordinator for their fifth season together.
And now Doug Pederson wants to make excuses about the unusual offseason?
“I don’t care who you are throwing, I don’t care who the receivers are,” Pederson said on Monday afternoon. “Two and a half weeks to prepare for your first real game, it’s not enough time. It’s not enough time.”
Give me a break.
Because even after it was pointed out to Pederson that the entire NFL dealt with the same unusual offseason and rules because of COVID-19, he still tried to use that excuse for the struggles in the passing game. Sure, the Eagles have a few new skill players and a few new offensive assistants in 2020, but the bulk of their offense remained the same.
And this is Year 5 of Pederson and Wentz working together!
Based on Pederson's answer on Monday, you’d expect to look around the league and see offenses everywhere struggling. Heck, if a duo in Year 5 can’t even catch up, how bad have the teams with a ton of moving parts been?
It’s been the exact opposite.
Cam Newton didn’t sign with the Patriots until July 8. On Sunday night, he threw for 397 yards with a passer rating of 94.6 and nearly led the Patriots to a comeback win in Seattle.
Rookie Justin Herbert found out he was the Chargers’ starting quarterback just before kickoff and still managed to throw for 311 yards against the Chiefs.
Stefon Diggs and DeAndre Hopkins are both with new teams this season and through two games are among the league’s leading receivers.
Josh Allen is in Year 3 and just threw for 417 yards and 4 touchdowns with his leading receiver being Diggs, who arrived this offseason. Those two found quick chemistry.
In his second season, Kyler Murray threw for 386 yards and a touchdown (that went to Hopkins) to take down the same Washington team the Eagles lost to in Week 1.
And Dak Prescott, despite having a new head coach, threw for 450 yards and led the Cowboys to an improbable comeback win over Atlanta. His No. 1 receiver in the game? Rookie CeeDee Lamb.
Did all those guys have secret practices set up this offseason, skirting NFL rules to prepare for the 2020 season? No, they had to abide by the same rules that apparently have the Eagles’ passing offense floundering through 1/8th of the season.
Miss me with that.
“I think we had a set of rules and protocols that we had and guidelines to go by,” Pederson said. “So many hours on the field, so many hours in the building and, quite frankly, with a lot of new pieces, particularly on the skill position, with Jalen (Reagor) and John Hightower and even JJ (Arcega-Whiteside), getting JJ back out there, right? And Greg Ward, relatively new guys. You’re talking about 2 1/2 to 3 weeks of actual full-speed, ya know, timing throws.”
Sure, in an ideal world, that’s not enough time. And there’s no question that more time would have helped the Eagles. It would have helped Wentz get on the same page with his newer weapons. But to use that as an excuse when continuity was supposed to be your strength this season? That’s outrageous.
If this is true, then the Eagles are 0-2 in large part because they haven’t been able to overcome the same conditions all 32 teams had to deal with this offseason. And that, quite frankly, is even more alarming.