Eagles

Doug Pederson thinking of changing his philosophy after coin tosses

Doug Pederson thinking of changing his philosophy after coin tosses

After Andrew Sendejo called tails and the Eagles won the coin toss in Minneapolis, they did what they always do. 

They deferred. 

The Vikings marched down the field for a touchdown. Then after an Eagles 3-and-out, the Vikings went up 10-0 before Carson Wentz threw his first pass. Sure, the Eagles scored on their first possession of the second half, but by then, they were well behind. 

So with slow starts being a chronic problem for the Eagles, head coach Doug Pederson is now contemplating a change in his thinking and possibly taking the ball the next time the Eagles win a coin toss. 

“Yeah, that's something I'm going to look at,” Pederson said Monday afternoon. “I think it might behoove us to make a change and then take the ball. Put our offense out there and try to generate points early in the game and not fall behind. I think that's all part of trying to start fast.”

The Eagles have scored 24 first-quarter points this season, but have been shutout in the first quarter in four of their first six games. And dating back to the start of the 2018 season, they have scored just 65 points in first quarters. That makes them the second-worst first-quarter team in the NFL behind the lowly Miami Dolphins. 

Getting the ball first might help jump-start the offense. It couldn’t hurt to try, right? 

But if the Eagles were to take the ball first, it would go against a philosophy Pederson has held dear during his tenure as head coach. 

The Eagles have won the coin toss 32 times in 59 total games (regular season and playoffs) under Pederson. In those 32 games when they won the toss, they have deferred in all but one game: the blowout loss to the Bengals in Cincinnati on Dec. 4, 2016. 

So why has this been Pederson’s philosophy? 

The analytics support it. Check out what Pederson said about the topic last year: 

I think it’s more about the number of touches, possessions the offense can get. When you study it and look at it, if I can gain one more possession in the first half like we did last week — we actually got two, to get one, kick a field goal and then come out in the second half, go down and score — that’s kind of the object. That’s what you’re trying to do. If you can give your offense another touch or two, especially at the end of the half, that’s what we want.

It’s worth noting that in those 32 games in which the Eagles have won the toss, they’ve scored first just 12 times. So they’re constantly getting behind early in games. Perhaps getting the ball first could help. 

But it’s not like getting the football first would alleviate all their early-game woes. Believe it or not, the Eagles have, on average, actually scored more first-quarter points under Pederson when they win the toss than when they lose it: 

In 32 games when they win the toss: 148 first-quarter points (4.63 per game)

In 27 games when they lose the toss: 112 first-quarter points (4.12 per game)

The Eagles clearly have more issues on offense early in games aside from deferring when they win a coin toss. But at least giving the offense an opportunity to score first and giving their defense a chance to play with a lead is making Pederson rethink his approach.

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Navy pulls off iconic Philly Special at the Linc

Navy pulls off iconic Philly Special at the Linc

Let's just say, the Navy Midshipmen certainly know how to win over a crowd in Philadelphia.

On Saturday during the 120th Army-Navy game, a familiar play call was seen.

You might have seen it before. There's a statue immortalizing it in front of the Linc. It happened during Super Bowl LII. Anything come to mind?

That's right. The Philly Special.

What an awesome moment in the middle of one of the best days in sports. Check it out:


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A myth dispelled, thoughts on the Carson Sucks crowd and much more in Roob's 10 Random Eagles Observations!

A myth dispelled, thoughts on the Carson Sucks crowd and much more in Roob's 10 Random Eagles Observations!

Another myth dispelled, thoughts on the Carson Sucks crowd, an observation about Duce Staley and lots more in this weekend's edition of Roob's Random Eagles Observations! 

1. Dwayne Haskins may develop into a big-time NFL quarterback. He certainly has the arm. But right now he’s a 22-year-old rookie with 3 TDs and 7 INTs in seven career games and a miserable 61.2 passer rating — worst among current starter QBs. This is a quarterback the Eagles need to dominate. Pressure him. Mix coverages and blitzes. Confuse him. When you get your hands on a ball, make the interception. When you get your hands around him, bring him down. He can’t drive the offense 75 yards down the field in 10 plays, but he's got a legit arm so don’t allow big plays over the top. Don’t give the Redskins a reason to keep fighting like you did the last two weeks against bad teams. The Eagles are 4-1 against rookie quarterbacks under Jim Schwartz, allowing 12 points per game. More of that Sunday. This shouldn’t even be a game by 2:30 p.m. But I'm afraid it will be.

2. Here’s one for the Carson Sucks crowd: Despite missing eight games the last two years and with three games still to go, Wentz already has the 9th-most TD passes in NFL history by a QB in his first four seasons. Three more in the last three games move him up to 6th. He’s also thrown 35 interceptions. Of the 10 QBs currently ahead of him in TD passes over their first four seasons, only Russell Wilson has also thrown fewer than 44  interceptions in his first four years, and only Wilson and Dan Marino have a higher passer rating. Worst QB ever.

3. The Eagles have used 18 cornerbacks since 2016.  Eight of them are no longer in the NFL.

4. I’m always up for a good conspiracy theory. Did you know the first manned moon landing was actually fabricated and the astronauts were actually on a film set in Arizona made to look like the moon? For real! I saw it in Capricorn One! Some conspiracy theories are hilarious, like the one making the rounds this week. Did you know Jordan Howard isn’t really hurt, he’s sitting out to protest not having a long-term contract? I swear, I got that from at least a dozen people this past week. Yeah, that’s a great way to get a new contract! Pretend you’re hurt, lie about a neck injury, miss five games, watch your free agency value plummet and hope that the Eagles just happen to forget to inform other teams that you were healthy all along but just didn’t feel like playing. Makes perfect sense!  

5. MYTH: “Jim Schwartz NEVER ADJUSTS.”
REALITY: Since 2016, the Eagles have allowed the 11th-fewest first-half points in the NFL  [11.0 per game], but they’ve allowed the 4th-fewest second-half points [9.6], behind the Vikings, Patriots and Ravens. Among the top 20 defenses in the league over the last four years, only the Vikings [2.1-point differential] have a larger first-half / second-half point differential than the Eagles [1.4 points]. Overall, the Eagles have allowed the 7th-fewest points in the NFL over the last four years.

6. I count 21 Eagles players who’ve missed a total of 105 games so far this year, a figure that will go up considering how many won’t be playing the next three. Two things: 1) The Eagles have to take an honest look at every facet of their training, conditioning and rehab this offseason and figure out why half the team is always hurt. And 2) It really makes you appreciate guys like Malcolm Jenkins and Jason Kelce, the only Eagles to start and finish all 45 games since opening day 2017. Not far behind are Brandon Graham and Brandon Brooks (44), Fletcher Cox (43) and Zach Ertz (42). Those guys have been there for their team every step of the way — or almost every step — for three years now. They're all-time Eagles.

7. What the heck is going on with Genard Avery? The Eagles spent a 4th-round draft pick to acquire Avery from the Browns in October, and he’s played 20 snaps on defense in five games since. TWENTY SNAPS. He didn’t play a snap on defense in the Giants game. His snaps were supposed to go up as he got acclimated to the defense. Now he’s not even playing. He’s been here seven weeks now, and he can’t even get a single snap on defense? He’s playing a lot on special teams (19 snaps per game), but that’s an awfully expensive special teamer.

8. How bad are the Redskins? They've scored 79 points in six home games. They have eight offensive touchdowns at Fedex Field this year. And five of them were in their first two games. They've scored THREE offensive touchdowns in their last four home games. The Eagles are actually 3rd-BEST in the NFL in road scoring at 29.3 points per game. This REALLY needs to be a blowout.

9. Rasul Douglas is the Eagles’ best cornerback.

10. Think about Duce Staley’s body of work as Eagles running backs coach: 1) Got a 776-yard, 9-TD season out of Ryan Mathews in 2016. 2) Won a Super Bowl with LeGarrette Blount on his last legs and Jay Ajayi coming in halfway through the season. 3) Undrafted rookie Corey Clement, who had 10 catches all year, had a 100-yard receiving game and miracle TD in a Super Bowl. 4) Got over 500 yards and a 4.3 average from undrafted rookie Josh Adams in 2018. 5) Miles Sanders has already broken the franchise record for scrimmage yards by a rookie. 6) Jordan Howard was in the midst of a comeback year with a 4.4 average and 7 TDs before he got hurt. 7) Darren Sproles netted nearly 1,400 scrimmage yards in just 30 games, all after turning 33. 8) Boston Scott comes off the practice squad to pile up 128 scrimmage yards in a critical win over the Giants. 9) Eagles are the No. 12 rushing team in the NFL in four years under Staley even though nobody on the roster has rushed for more than 850 yards TOTAL during that span. 10) All 11 running backs who’ve gotten at least 30 carries under Staley have averaged at least 4.0 yards per carry under Duce. Nine of them have averaged at least 4.3 yards per carry. The Eagles haven’t had a back with 550 yards in consecutive years since Shady, yet the Eagles always seem to run the ball well. The guy’s really good.

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