The Philadelphia Eagles will go only as far as Carson Wentz takes them but his growth and leadership fall on the shoulders and play-calling of Doug Pederson.
Pederson turned around the career of former No.1 pick Alex Smith when he arrived in Kansas City but Pederson must realize that Wentz is better than Smith. Pederson is a by-product of Andy Reid and Philly fans know Reid’s conservative play-calling all too well. But, the reason Reid was able to make such gusty calls was due to the ability of Donavan McNabb and his legs.[embedit snippet=”2″]
Reid was the master of the short plays but if the offense were to break down, McNabb had the ability to escape the pocket for 10+ yards. Pederson does not have that option with Wentz but what he does have is a QB with a rifle for an arm. The Eagles are not as bad at wide receiver as fans claim, they just haven’t had the opportunity to see what they can do in open space.
The Eagles rank 6th in the NFL in pass attempts with 541 (39 per) but only average 244 yards per game through the air. Wentz is durable to sling it but Pederson relies heavy on the 3-5 yards dinks. Those plays are great for eating the clock but when you’re behind because your defense is surrendering points left and right then those plays are pointless.
Pederson is like Reid, both are too stubborn to see the error in their ways and not smart enough to change. Reid lost his job due to this and Pederson has been in the hot season the majority of the season. The blame has been placed everywhere on the offense. From the rookie QB, the ground game, the offensive line to the wide receivers. The ground game is not the best but at one point in the season, it was the strength of the team. Injuries and suspensions have taken that option away but the pass protection is still strong.
Wentz is not perfect as he has made mistakes but it’s hard to stay hot when you are throwing 5 yards passes for three-quarters then the coach starts calling for go routes in the 4th. By that time, the Eagles are trailing and looking for quick strikes but the defense is now set up in dime packages with an extra DB, just waiting. This is when people criticize Wentz cause he makes a mistake. But it’s not his fault. He takes the throws but this is the situations he’s been in all season.
He’s a rookie and there will be mistakes but truth be told, Pederson is no rookie coach. He gets labeled that as a head coach but he’s been in these situations before under Reid. He knows what plays to call but he’s scared to take that risk. With Alex Smith is was okay, because many expected Smith to fail. But Wentz has shown what he can do when the offense is clicking.
All Pederson has to do is give him the opportunity to be himself.