Eagles’ Doug Pederson can’t continue to put Carson Wentz in bad positionsby Chris Franklin, nj.com
Eagles head coach Doug Pederson may have to save Carson Wentz from himself to keep their franchise quarterback upright and on the field.
In Sunday’s 27-17 loss to the Washington Football team, Wentz dropped back to pass 42 times without their starting right tackle, the right guard they had penciled in as the starter in Matt Pryor, and a left tackle who last week moved back to the position after playing right guard during training camp.
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When speaking after the game, Pederson said it didn’t matter if it were a pass or run, the offense has to have the expectation it will execute the play.
“This is a great front,” Pederson said of the Washington defensive line. “The way we started the game with the tempo, we felt comfortable there. We didn’t do our best in the run game. That’s an area we have to clean up and make the necessary corrections. Listen, I don’t necessarily know in-game if we are throwing or running. I just know that we are going to execute the play called and do our best to try to score.”
Even with the expectation of executing, if the offensive line continues to sustain the number of injuries it has over the course of the next few weeks, the play calling does not change, Carson Wentz could find himself listed on the injury sheet once again.
Some of the injuries Wentz has sustained include a back injury, concussion, and knee injury. He has come back from all of them, but the more hits he continues to take, the greater toll it will have on his body. The last thing the team needs to do is subject him to any additional hits.
Wentz is a gamer, and like any other football player, when he is in the moment, he will do whatever he can to try to make a play to move the team down the field and keep a play alive. Pederson may have to save Wentz from himself and make a concerted effort to establish the run.
By no means was the Eagles ground game a success Sunday. Pederson himself said the run game struggled, but it is hard to imagine that if the team stuck with it a little longer, it might have added some fatigue to the Washington front seven. It also could have given the offensive line more time to attack instead of constantly absorbing pass rush after pass rush. Also, the play-action pass game can be dangerous with receivers such as DeSean Jackson and Jalen Reagor because once the safeties have to commit to the run and respect it, it could bring them down in the box, removing the help up top they provide to the corners, depending on the defensive coverage.
Another thing the offense could do is get back to its West Coast Offense roots. The West Coast Offense comes in many forms and variations, but one of its main tenants is to get the ball out quickly with short passes and let your playmakers do their thing. This is not to say that the deep ball has to be eliminated, but with the line struggling to give Wentz five seconds to throw, constantly dropping back on seven-step drop plays is not the answer. Also, a staple of the offense are sprint outs and rollouts. These plays would allow Wentz to get outside the pocket and do what he seems comfortable doing, which is to throw on the run.
Pederson said that his instincts made him want to continue to put pressure on Washington. It makes sense that you want to be aggressive and take an opponents' spirit by jumping out to large leads. However, if the resources and players are not there to do so regularly, especially because of injuries, it may be time to be a little more conservative than usual, so the team could go max protect more if starting right tackle Lane Johnson is not available.
Given the uncertainty that now not only surrounds the right tackle position but at right guard after the Washington defensive line made their way through the Eagles offensive line, the Eagles will have to make some quick adjustments before Aaron Donald, and the Rams make their way into Lincoln Financial Field next Sunday.
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