Eagles: Pederson should consider handing play calling duties to someone else

The Eagles offense has been a dumpster fire through three weeks in 2020. They rank near the bottom of the league in total yards per game (336.3), passing yards per game (218.7), points per game (19.7) and they’re dead last in turnover differential (-7).

The play of Carson Wentz has hindered Doug Pederson’s offense throughout the year — that’s been well documented at this point. But Pederson’s play calling has been suspect as well, lacking any kind of creativity or identity.

When the organization brought in all these offensive minds to join the coaching staff this offseason, I thought we may be onto something special here. With Rich Scangarello and Marty Mornhinweg, one with a background in the Shanahan offense and the other from Andy Reid’s west coast tree, the mixture of these two schemes seemed like a perfect mix.

And most importantly, a mix of these offenses felt like the perfect offense for Carson Wentz, who’s always been at his best outside of the pocket.

But, what we’ve seen from this offense thus far is pretty much the worst case scenario. Wentz is having the worst year of his career so far and Doug has lost his play calling edge. The lack of a true offensive coordinator has backfired on Pederson.

Moving forward this year, the team can do one of two things to try and revitalize this offense. One, they could bench Wentz and throw Jalen Hurts in there, but Doug has already shot down that idea. And truthfully, throwing a rookie second round pick in there won’t solve these issues. Wentz is still the best option for this team in 2020.

And two, Doug hands playing calling duties to someone else so he can focus more on game management and decision making. On Monday, Doug revealed that he probably would have done something different at the end of the Bengals if he could go back, rather than just punt the ball away and play for a tie. This isn’t the first time Doug has said something like that either. Giving play calling duties to someone else would allow Doug to really think about some of these game defining decisions, instead of making an impulse decision without truly thinking about it.

Although Pederson said he won’t give up calling the plays, a fresh set of eyes could at the very least breathe some new life into his sputtering offense.

So if Doug did hand off play calling duties, who is the best candidate for the task?

He absolutely loves Press Taylor, the quarterbacks coach/passing game coordinator, so that may be the obvious choice. After seeing the steady regression of Wentz, Taylor would probably be my last choice for this job. Whether we want to admit it or not, Wentz’s progression/regression is directly tied to Taylor. The issues we see in Wentz’s game right now — poor footwork, inability to diagnose coverages, accuracy — weren’t huge concerns at all when John DeFilippo was the quarterbacks coach. As far as I’m concerned, Press Taylor is a huge reason why Wentz has regressed like this. So no, I don’t want this guy calling plays, he hasn’t earned it.

That leaves us with Marty Mornhinweg and Duce Staley, two really solid choices. Mornhinweg has been a play caller throughout his coaching career. He’s always been innovative and aggressive when calling the shots, two things this offense desperately needs right now. In 2006, when Marty was the offensive coordinator under Reid, the team was 4-4 entering the bye week. Andy decided to give Marty an opportunity to call plays, and it ended up working out perfectly. The team went 6-2 the rest of the way with Jeff Garcia at QB and won a playoff game.

With his experience, Mornhinweg would be the safest choice here, but I’d love to see Duce get a crack at calling plays. The assistant head coach and long time running backs coach deserves this chance. He ran the show when Doug was quarantining after testing positive for COVID-19 early in training camp, so Pederson obviously already trusts him.

I’d be really interested to see what kind of wrinkles Duce would employ. He’d undoubtedly stay balanced with his attack, and I doubt he’d go away from the running game when it’s working — something Doug has done time and time again.

At the end of the day, I’d be comfortable with either Mornhinweg or Duce calling plays moving forward. At 0-2-1, it’s time to try something different. Whatever Doug has been trying to do clearly isn’t working. This offense needs an injection of freshness in the worst way. Letting someone else call plays probably won’t turn this thing around over night, but it would certainly help this offense be more productive.

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