10 weeks into the 2020 NFL season, I did not think I’d be asking myself this question: Is Doug Pederson beginning to lose the Eagles locker room?
Fans have thrown this idea out there throughout the past few seasons, but more often than not it’s just hyperbole, and I never bought into it. Because we’ve seen this team fight their asses off under Pederson’s watch. Each of the past two seasons, the Eagles rallied in the final weeks of the season en route to a playoff berth.
This season, although the Eagles lead their division over halfway into the year, they look as deflated and uninterested as they ever have. The lack of effort isn’t apparent, yet, but it’s clear this team lacks any attention to detail.
After his latest loss this Sunday to the New York Giants, a 2-7 football team that hadn’t beaten the Eagles in 1,470 days, Pederson let this fan base know where his head’s at. On his routine call into 94 WIP’s morning show with Angelo Cataldi on Monday, he wasn’t shy about what’s on his mind.
He threatened to hang up almost as soon as the call started, since the show led into the conversations stating that their poll showed 72% of fans blamed coaching for Sunday’s loss. “Thanks for the lead-in. That was awesome. Listen, that just puts me in a great mood today. I’m already in a good mood, appreciate it,” Pederson said to Cataldi. “I’m pissed off at myself. I’m pissed off at the way we played. It frustrates me to no end… Blame it on me all you want. I’m a big guy, I can handle it, that’s fine. But we’re still self-inflicting ourselves. We’re killing ourselves, shooting ourselves in the foot. All of those cliche little statements are still showing up and it’s frustrating.”
Here’s the full audio if you want to give it a listen:
There are a lot of problems with the Eagles right now. Their once MVP, franchise quarterback is playing like one of the worst signal callers in football, their team is built around aging veterans with overpriced contracts, and they don’t have a legitimate offensive coordinator that Doug can turn to. This isn’t all Pederson’s fault, but it’s fair to speculate whether his message is growing stale within his locker room.
The organization clearly loves him. After the anti-social, standoffish Chip Kelly was shown the door, finding his antithesis was the clear goal during that coaching search. And they found it in Doug Pederson, who’s charismatic and brings life to a room every time he walks in it.
But his X’s and O’s, along with some of his questionable gameday decision making has to be taking its toll on his team at least a little bit. Just look at this sequence of plays as Brian Baldinger breaks it down. This is the type of stuff bad teams, and teams that have lost a little faith in their coach, do.
Bad snaps from Jason Kelce, hanging their heads after a bone-headed false start, and then just throwing up a prayer on third-and-long. What the hell is that? That’s not the type of football we’re used to seeing out of a Doug Pederson coached team. They just look like they have no direction at this point, the same way they looked at the end of the Chip Kelly tenure. Sorry, is it too soon to start making that comparison?
The team hasn’t quote on quote ‘given up’ just yet, but the early indications are there. It starts small and festers, and with five straight games against potential playoff teams on the docket, this could get ugly really fast. If this team fails to win any of these next five games and end up at 3-10-1 by Christmas, do we start seriously questioning Pederson’s job security?
If it comes to that, yeah, it may be time to start questioning it.
Jeffrey Lurie has been down this road before, he knows what a dead team looks like. If he thinks it’s time for a change, then it’s definitely time for a change. But it’s impossible to know where his head’s at right now.
Coming off a Super Bowl victory just three seasons ago, this scenario felt unimaginable. Life in the NFL comes at you fast.