Pederson Mulls Personnel Tweaks
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - The reigning Super Bowl champs are 2-2 and Philadelphia Police tell 973espn.com that Chicken Little was spotted at Broad and Pattison mumbling something about the sky falling.
The torches and pitchforks, meanwhile, flooded sports radio looking for a scapegoat and settled on No. 31, struggling third-year cornerback Jalen Mills.
Dozens of hand-wringers were waiting to lament the lack of communication on the Rodney McLeod-less back end of the Eagles defense during a 26-23 overtime loss to the Titans in Nashville on Sunday.
The tempered among is will quickly ascertain that maybe the Eagles are like everyone else, struggling to defend the pass against in the league that has made it its business to make quarterbacks and receivers equate Sunday's with the comfort of their Sleep Number mattresses.
Consider that there have already been five 400-yard passers this week, a record, and 14 overall so far, also a new standard at this point of any season.
Ponder that Joe Montana, the four-time Super Bowl winner who retired with the highest passer rating of all-time, would be ranked below average by the numbers of the day.
Yet the myopic populate every NFL city and the failure to add context to any team's "problems" by comparing them to the rest of the NFL always promotes a glass-is-half-empty mentality.
For the most part, the Eagles are getting gouged outside the numbers with Corey Davis serving as the third receivers in four games to crack the 100-yard mark with 161 and the game-winning score over Avonte Maddox in Nashville. That follows Julio Jones (169) and DeSean Jackson (129) in Weeks 1 and 2.
Mills has been the most obvious culprit whether it's falling for double moved or drawing a costly pass-interference flag.
“Until we can address it and fix it and get better at it and practice, as you guys know, teams will continue to do it,” Eagles coach Doug Pederson said Monday when talking about the team's pass defense. “It's like if a team can't stop the run, keep running. And that's just where we are right now.”
The talented Sidney Jones has been playing inside in the slot but the assumption is that his future is on the outside so why not make the move sooner than later and speed up the process?
"We have to be careful that we are not just on a whim swapping people out,” Pederson explained. “If you start doing that, it starts moving other people around as well. We’re going to take these next couple of days and really evaluate everybody, evaluate us as coaches, too, and see if there's a change to be made, we'll make it. If not, then we'll leave it alone."
Last season the Eagles benched the struggling Issac Seumalo at left guard for Chance Warmack before Stefen Wisniewski ultimately took the job and the Philadelphia O-Line took off.
This time the moving parts could include Jones, Mills, Maddox and Rasul Douglas in order to get the best people on the field in an effort to find the best combination in the wake of Rodney McLeod's knee surgery.
“We evaluate our players based on how they play and so there's always these conversations each week, on Mondays and Tuesdays, and making decisions that way," Pederson said. "But again, we as a team offense, defense, special teams, need to be more efficient and so, again, it is not just a knee-jerk reaction, but these conversations do go on.”
Mills have up explosive plays of 28 yards and 51 yards to Davis and also got caught for PI again after being flagged twice against the Colts in Week 3.
Pederson even admitted the LSU product, who went from overmatched former seventh-round pick as a rookie to Pro Bowl alternate as a sophomore, is being targeted by opposing offenses.
“These corners are on islands a lot,” the coach said. “I think I look at it from an offensive perspective. When you see a guy that maybe you can attack, you try to attack and that is what offenses are doing right now."
Mills is on notice with perhaps the league's best receiving duo on deck, Minnesota's Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs.
"[Mills] is working through it," Pederson said. "He'll get better and we'll get better as a team."
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen