Much has been made of the Eagles’ strategy employed during yesterday’s fourth quarter meltdown in which they were outscored 21-0 by the Panthers on their way to a maddening, embarrassing, and entirely avoidable defeat. Second-guessing is to be expected, particularly after a game in which the Eagles only ran the football once over the final 16-plus minutes, and Jim Schwartz again went ultra-conservative as Cam Newton, who threw for all of 24 first half yards, obliterated the Eagles’ defense to the tune of 201 yards and two touchdown passes in the final quarter.
Doug Pederson, though, wasn’t in the mood for questions at his day-after press conference. After keeping things even keel while expressing confidence in his team and pointing out that they’re only a couple of plays away from a better record, he turned irritable when asked about offensive and defensive play-calling.
Reporter: “Why is it crazy to ask if you should run the ball more or if the defense should blitz more?”
Pederson: “Now you’re getting into game plan stuff and you’re getting into scheme. And you guys aren’t in there watching the tape like we are for 18 hours a day and putting game plans together. It’s easy to sit in the press box and say, ‘They should run the ball.” Come down and stand on the sideline with me and make decisions. You know, I should run it here, I should pass it here, let’s throw a screen here, let’s get the quarterback out of the pocket right here. Oh, no, there’s 15 seconds left on the clock. Until you’re down there with me on the sideline making in-game decisions, I guess you can ask all you want.”
It also led to this perfect Periscope moment:
A true disciple of The Cuz, for sure.
I listened to the exchange live, and, truthfully, I’m a bit conflicted here. Part of me thinks it’s pretty lame that Pederson pulled the “I’m the coach, you don’t know shit” card. Some of the people down there asking strategical-based questions know their football stuff, at least in general terms, and such questions certainly seem fair after what was the Eagles’ eighth-largest blown lead in franchise history and their largest blown lead in over seven years, but…part of me also LOVES surly Doug Pederson. And, I mean, he’s right. It’s easy to scream about running the ball and blitzing, as if simply doing these things would have secured a win, but the reality is that we aren’t privy to the information revealed by hours of scouting and film study.
I guess what I’m trying to figure out is Pederson’s endgame here. Is his short-temper the byproduct of a secure and self-assured coach that is trying to send a message of confidence to his embattled team? Is it that he’s rattled and easily agitated because he knows what was supposed to be a promising season is quickly coming apart at the seams? Or, is he just tired of answering what he perceives to be shallow questions from a group of media members swimming outside of their depth? Kevin went in on this a little bit earlier today.
Someone needs to organize a clinic for local radio hosts to explain to them the concept of the run/pass option and how it works.
— Kevin Kinkead (@Kevin_Kinkead) October 22, 2018
The more you know.
Whatever the case may be, he has six days of preparation and one more game to make the message click and get his team back on track. If he can’t, his words, however they’re meant to be intended, will only be further scrutinized. And he will have to learn to deal with it.
You can check out Pederson’s full press conference here:
Watch live as head coach Doug Pederson meets with the media. https://t.co/HlMlFRACtR
— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) October 22, 2018