Birdfeed: Vol. 16.9; Field Goals are Overrated

Carson Wentz and the Eagles offense couldn’t find the end zone, Doug Pederson lost his mind, and the Eagles blew another win. (Photo by USA Today Sports)

I have so much to say about the Eagles loss in New York last week. I was also up until 4:15 AM ET last night watching Donald Trump turn the world upside down. I’m a little dazed and my eyes burn, so let’s go bullet points.

  • Doug Pederson passing on field goals, on the road, against a division opponent is unwise. Defense is the Eagles’ best asset. All season they’ve created opportunities for the offense. Despite a rough outing, they did so again against the Giants. Play to your strengths.


  • Like I said, Philadelphia’s defense had a rough day, especially the secondary. The defensive backfield is undoubtedly the Eagles greatest weakness. It’s susceptible to big plays. Eagle defensive backs have the worst ball presence of any team I’ve seen this year. Their ball skills are poor and they’ve missed at least a half dozen interceptions because they’ve been unable to locate the football despite good coverage. Like many defenses, QB pressure is crucial for the Eagles defense to be successful. Crucial may be too soft. It’s an absolute must.


  • While there were no glaring drops by the wide receivers this week, Eagles receivers again failed to make big plays. Good receivers in the NFL make plays despite less than perfect opportunities. If Eagles receivers are not spoon fed, they can’t make plays. That’s hurting Carson Wentz.


  • The play calling on 3rd/4th down and short has been horrific this season. Against Dallas, the Eagles worked horizontally and often moved backward in these situations. Against the Giants the story was the same. The QB sweep on 4th and 2 was embarrassingly bad. Running the football on 4th and 2 is unwise, in my opinion, but to run your 6’5 franchise QB who runs a 13.2 40 along the line of scrimmage strikes me as especially silly. Here’s an idea, when facing 4th and 1, just snap the football, sneeze, and more often than not you’ll get the 1st down. Andy Reid also liked to get too cute in these situations. Just keep it simple.


  • I like aggressive coaching. I’d rather lose with a coach that chases wins than one who coaches not to lose. With that said, Doug Pederson called that game like my 6 year-old son plays Madden. He was off his rocker. I joked that Pederson may have spent Saturday night out with Josh Huff. The 4th and 2 was an overly aggressive call that I thought was reckless. Though they converted, the 4th and 9 conversion at the 46 yard line of a one score game midway through the 4th quarter was proof Doug was drunk. New York’s three prior drives went punt, interception, punt. Again, it worked out, but if the Eagles failed to convert there, the game is over.


  • In a weird way it felt like the Eagles dominated that game and were fortunate not to trail by 30. I’m not sure I’ve ever experienced that before. The Eagles had more 1st downs, won time of possession and outgained the Giants by nearly 150 yards. I’ve said this before but the Eagles are the epitome of a young team. They’re in every game, having yet to lose by more than one score. They just can’t get over the hump. The Eagles are very green (no pun intended), especially at the skills positions on offense. It makes sense for them to blow some games by failing to execute in the clutch, but that’s not entirely what’s happening here. Their coaching is failing them, and that’s where fans are frustrated. Throwing a bomb on 1st down in Detroit. Punting in Dallas instead of attempting a field goal to go up 10 points. Not taking the 3 points on two different occasions in New York. These decisions aren’t the sole reasons the Eagles lost those three games, but you can’t argue they didn’t heavily play into the outcome. As a coach, you want to make calls that give your players the opportunities to win games, not take those opportunities away.


  • Finally, I thought if Doug Pederson wanted to win the day, he should have kicked a field goal on 4th down in the final minute, if for no other reason than to troll us all (and cover the spread).


Quicker bullet points:

  • Dorial Green-Beckham gives the least amount of effort possible when the ball is thrown in his direction. If that ball isn’t within six inches of his hand, he checks out.


  • Remember when the Eagles had an All-Pro defensive tackle? Remember when they made him one of the richest players in football? I wonder where that guy is. Hey, Fletcher Cox, if you’re listening, we miss you. Feel free to come back anytime.


  • Still waiting for my sources to confirm, but I’m pretty confident Doug called for the blocked field goal to make him look better after the two failed 4th down conversions.


  • On Sunday Joe Buck said, “McKelvin in coverage.” I’m pretty sure this is an oxymoron.


  • Dear Eagles, please stop running your franchise rookie QB into waiting linebackers and defensive lineman on these horrific QB sweeps/draws/options. Maybe they’ll work on the 329th time, but the next 320 times are only going to get Carson Wentz killed.


  • Carson Wentz on 4th quarter drives this season with chance to tie or take the lead (7 drives); 8/21, 69 yards, sacked 4x, INT, 4 1st downs, scored 3 points. Sigh.


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