Eagles

Doug Pederson hasn’t even thought about giving up play-calling

Eagles

After three games, the Eagles offense is completely out of sync and that makes it pretty tough to assign blame.

Sure, Carson Wentz has been terrible. Sure, the offensive line has been suspect. And, sure, the skill position players could be doing more.

But it’s also fair to wonder if Doug Pederson has his normal feel as a play caller. Pederson has called the offensive plays in every game since becoming the Eagles’ head coach and he isn’t even thinking about giving up that responsibility sitting at 0-2-1 through three games.

“No. I haven't. I love doing it,” Pederson said. “It's the exciting part for me. I get to see the game, obviously, differently as a quarterback and see it kind of through their eyes and through the offense's eyes, and I haven't thought about that at all.”

Maybe it would be unfair to ask Pederson to give up his major game day role, but you could argue the Eagles need a fresh approach on offense right now. It’s not to say he’s the biggest problem — because he isn’t — but it also doesn’t seem like Pederson has the same feel for Wentz and for the offense that he used to.

Through three games, the Eagles have scored an average of 19.7 points per game. Here’s a look at the Eagles’ points per game since Pederson became a head coach. You can see their best year in 2017 was an outlier:

2016: 22.9 

2017: 28.6

2018: 22.9

2019: 24.1

While Pederson isn’t ready to even consider giving up play calling, he does have a few options in-house to hand over the reins, even if it’s just for a half. And it may not be the answer, but it’s at least worth thinking about:

 

Marty Mornhinweg

The 58-year-old came back to the Eagles this offseason as a senior offensive consultant, which is a pretty ambiguous title. But Mornhinweg has been in the NFL for decades and is a former offensive coordinator and head coach in the NFL. And when Andy Reid decided to give up play calling back in 2006, it was Mornhinweg who took over the responsibility.

Now, it’s fair to say Mornhinweg’s history as a play-caller isn’t spotless and he’s been criticized plenty in his NFL career, even for some of the same things Pederson and Reid have been criticized for. But what play-caller hasn’t? And there’s something to the idea of pairing a ton of NFL experience with a bird’s-eye view of the offense that seems appealing. Mornhinweg wouldn’t have to split his responsibilities on game day either. If Pederson wanted to give him this duty, Mornhinweg could really focus on it.

Press Taylor

Taylor already has enough to worry about. So maybe it wouldn’t be wise to let the 32-year-old start calling plays for the first time in his career. But as the passing game coordinator, Taylor is the closest thing the Eagles have to an offensive coordinator this season.

Would it be too much to ask Taylor to coach up Wentz while also calling plays for him? Maybe. But you could also argue that Taylor might have the best in-game ideas to get his quarterback back on track.

Rich Scangarello

Another addition to the offensive staff this offseason, Scangarello is a senior offensive assistant with the Eagles in 2020. Scangarello was the Broncos’ offensive coordinator for one season in 2019 before he was fired. While he has plenty of strengths, the consensus seems to be that play calling isn’t one of them.

His quarterback even publicly questioned his play calling at one point last season.

And when the Broncos fired Scangarello, they were reportedly looking for “an experienced play caller who isn’t afraid to take shots.” 

Duce Staley

While Staley has stated publicly that he’s happy in his role with the Eagles as the running backs coach and assistant head coach, he still has aspirations to one day become a head coach and a play-caller in the NFL. If Duce began calling the plays, at least you could count on the Eagles not abandoning the run. This is a responsibility Staley wants too.

“You can’t wait to have the opportunity to call them,” Staley said back in 2017. “That’s what you dream about. You dream about being in a position to call a game. Every coach on every level, if they are not already calling plays, they dream about doing it.”

 

Staley was the offensive coordinator at the East-West Shrine Game back in 2017 and got a chance to call the plays in that game. But since then, he’s remained with the Eagles in an expanded, yet similar, role.