If Doug Pederson wanted to make his point any clearer, he could have simply reached behind him and brought forward one of the two life-size replica Lombardi Trophies sparkling in his Zoom background.
After all, it was his offense that a couple years ago scored 41 points to win the first Super Bowl in Eagles history.
But make no mistake: Changes are coming to the Eagles’ offense this offseason, even if Pederson downplayed how drastic they’ll be.
I don't think, from the naked eye, you're going to see a ton of different concepts, different ideas, different things from the naked eye,” Pederson said on a Zoom call with reporters on Tuesday. “What you're going to see from our standpoint is subtleties within what we do as an offense: protections, the play action game, screens, even the run game. But those are all things that we're going to work on in training camp.
“But I think overall, you are not going to see big, wholesale changes. We didn't overhaul the entire offense, and keep in mind, this offense won a World Championship a couple seasons ago, so we are just finding ways to make it better at this time.
Something tells me Pederson is slightly understating how different the offense will be in 2020. Maybe it’s to maintain a competitive advantage; maybe it’s out of pride because he’s the leader of the offense that need changing.
But why would the Eagles go through the trouble of revamping the coaching staff and adding a bunch of speed to the roster if the offense wasn’t going to change enough to notice it with the naked eye?
At least a discerning eye ought to be able to see changes, right?
The fact is that Pederson is an offensive head coach in an offensive league and the Eagles’ offense hasn’t been good enough. Pederson brought up the Super Bowl season, but that year the Eagles averaged 28.6 points per game, good for third in the NFL. In his three other seasons at the helm, that average dips to 23.3 and they haven’t been in the top 10 in any other year.
Last season, the Eagles were 12th in the NFL in scoring and 14th in yards per game. When they lost DeSean Jackson the offense become plodding. Other times it was predictable. Other times it was just flat-out not good enough.
That led to the following changes after the 2019 season ended:
• Former offensive coordinator Mike Groh was fired
• Press Taylor was promoted to pass game coordinator
• Rich Scangarello was hired as senior offensive assistant
• Andrew Breiner was hired as pass game analyst
• Marty Mornhinweg was hired as senior offensive consultant
• Aaron Moorehead was hired to replace Carson Walch as WRs coach
Again, why make those changes if the offense won’t change at least somewhat significantly? Sure, Pederson is still in charge but these guys should have influence too.
The most noteworthy addition to the coaching staff was the hire of Scangarello, a Kyle Shanahan disciple who spent last season as the Broncos’ offensive coordinator. While Scangarello was hired to do many things, the main reason he was brought aboard was to help Carson Wentz excel in an area where he has already been very good: Quarterback movement.
Even in an unusual offseason, the good news is that this process is already underway.
Before we were able to break and before we had to shut our building down, as the offensive and defensive staff, we were able to meet quite a bit, even with the new coaches and get a sense, get a feel for offensively with Rich and Aaron in particular,” Pederson said.
“And really now, during these virtual meetings, you see the dialogue that, say, Carson and Rich have, Rich and Press have, myself, Rich and Press have from a passing game side. Even Andrew who is new to the staff and seeing his input.
The relationship between Wentz and Scangarello will be an extremely important one if the Eagles are going to maximize that hire for the reason they brought him in. Think about it: Wentz is 27, he has been a Pro Bowler and has signed a $100 million contract. Now, he has a new coach coming in and trying to work with him without a preexisting relationship and without the two even able to meet in the same room.
If those two work well together, we could see an improved offense in 2020.
“To see the conversations evolve and how detailed the conversations are and what Rich has been able to bring to us as a staff,” Pederson said, “and what he has been able to bring to the players.”
Maybe we’ll all be able to see those changes in September, even with the naked eye.
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