Eagles’ Pederson Takes a Look in the Mirror
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - Doug Pederson spends most of his time evaluating others but at his final Friday press conference of the season, the head coach looked at the man in the mirror.
The Eagles' rookie coach will complete his first season on Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys and took on the intimation that play-calling shouldn’t be in his future, while at the same time admitting he’d like to have a few mulligans and acknowledging there is room for improvement.
“[In terms of] crucial decisions, I feel like we've handled those well; I've handled those well,” the coach said. “Are there calls that I would do differently [when] looking back? Sure, there are a few plays this year that I would take back [and] call a different play. I think that's part of the learning process for me in my first year going through it and making myself better in the future.”
Considering the Eagles are 1-6 in games decided by one possession or less, like most teams, there are a handful of plays that could have shifted things dramatically for Philadelphia and Pederson has mulled those over.
Although hesitant to single out specific plays, Pederson did talk about fourth-down decisions, defending his aggressive mentality but admitting some of the calls could have been tweaked a bit.
As far as specifics the coach focused on a 4th-and-2 from the Giants' 23-yard line during a five-point loss to New York in early November at MetLife Stadium.
Pederson called a zone-read run for Wentz and the impressive Giants’ front easily snuffed it out, handing the football back to Eli Manning and the offense.
"Running Carson in that situation, that 4th-and- 2, I'd probably call a different play," Pederson admitted. "The decision to go for, I think, it was OK. The play design, not so much."
Under Pederson, the Eagles have been the most aggressive team in the NFL when it comes to going for it on fourth down and expect that to continue moving forward.
As for those who would like to see the coach give up the play calling and become more of a CEO on the sidelines don’t hold your breath. Pederson has enjoyed pitting his skills against opposing defenses this season.
“From a game-management standpoint, I don't think (calling the plays) has interfered with anything from a decision standpoint, because I'm also getting a lot of information from other coaches and guys in the box,” the coach said.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen