Earlier this week, when asked about the possibility of giving up play-calling responsibilities, Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said that possibility was “on the table.”
Apparently it’s a lot more than on the table.
Because according to the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Jeff McLane, Pederson has already been giving up portions of his play-calling duties to Press Taylor and Rich Scangarello this season.
Scangarello has apparently been calling plays in two-minute situations all season, according to the report. That’s especially noteworthy because the Eagles have been statistically a much better offense in those situations when they go with their no-huddle, hurry-up offense.
In addition, the report says that in recent games, Pederson has given Taylor more play-calling responsibilities recently and could give him even more beginning on Sunday afternoon in Green Bay. The report did not say what dictates when Pederson hands that job to Taylor.
This is all a little strange because throughout this season, at least before this week, Pederson has steadfastly resisted any talk about his possibly giving up play-calling.
And even this week, he said this about that role:
“I take pride in play calling and I look at everything. I got to take everything into consideration. If I feel like I get stuck or in a rut, I definitely would consider giving that up.”
Perhaps the success the Eagles have had under Scangarello in two-minute situations was enough reason for Pederson to keep it a secret. Or perhaps there’s some competitive advantage in the defense not knowing who is calling the plays in those situations. While film doesn’t lie, a defense’s knowing someone with Scangarello’s background is calling plays might gives hints as to what’s coming.
Taylor has been with the Eagles since the Chip Kelly days and has worked his way up. He was the assistant QBs coach behind John DeFilippo and was promoted after Flip left. And then he was promoted to passing game coordinator this offseason.
This offseason, the Eagles also hired Scangarello as a senior offensive assistant. He comes from the Kyle Shanahan tree but had been the Broncos’ offensive coordinator and play caller in 2019. He wasn’t highly regarded as a play caller last season but he also reportedly doesn’t have the whole thing on his plate with the Eagles this year.
With Taylor and Scangarello taking over some play calling duties, it means that Pederson has given them those responsibilities over Duce Staley and Marty Mornhinweg, who are two other potential play-calling candidates.
Even though Pederson has reportedly been giving up chunks of play calling, it’s still his favorite thing to do. Last month, I asked him how he thought he was doing in that role:
“I feel good about the plays that have been called,” Pederson said after the loss to the Giants. “I even looked at the game yesterday and felt I was in rhythm. I've always looked at the game through the eyes of the quarterback and how he views it and how he sees it. I think it's important that quarterback and play caller are on the same page that way and Carson and I had those conversations during the week and day before the game and go through a lot of different scenarios and we're prepared that way.
“And look, not every game is going to be perfect. There's going to be mistakes made and there's going to be things that we're going to have to overcome and that's part of our jobs. Nobody's perfect. By no means am I perfect. I'm going to make a decision error, I'm going to make a play calling error, but at the same time, hopefully I can do my job to put the offense in position to be successful.”
Pederson will have his final virtual press conference of this week on Friday morning at 10:30 a.m. and we’ll find out what he has to say about all this soon enough.
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