As you would expect, Doug Pederson was in a sour mood Monday when he addressed reporters after Sunday's disgraceful showing against the Giants. The result was a testy session with reporters, but when you look past the theatrics and whatever point Pederson was trying to make with his demeanor, you find some very concerning comments from the head coach.
We'll see some common issues with all the problematic statements Pederson made which we'll address at the end of this article, but for now let's just look at each one individually on its surface.
First, Pederson said he felt like he was in "rhythm" with the play calling on Sunday. The Eagles scored 17 points against a team that had been giving up 23.6 points per game and 24.6 points per game at home. They were 0-9 on third down. They averaged 5.5 yards per play and made just a single trip to the red zone. And they had a total of two plays go for 20+ yards: Boston Scott's 56-yard TD run and a 22-yard completion to Richard Rodgers. If Pederson considers that to be in "rhythm" it is a serious problem.
Next, Pederson said he thinks the Eagles have been "explosive" with Jalen Hurts. Hurts has been active in eight of the Eagles nine games. In Week 3, he rushed two times for eight yards. In Week 4, he rushed three times for 18 yards. In Week 5, he completed one pass for 18 yards. In Week 6, he rushed twice for 23 yards. In Week 7, he rushed twice for two yards. In Week 8, he completed one pass for nine yards. And on Sunday, he rushed twice for negative one yard. On the season, he is 2/2 passing for 27 yards and has 11 carries for 50 yards, an average of 4.5 YPC. Those numbers aren't very explosive.
This isn't a knock on Hurts. It's just to show that if Pederson is calling those numbers explosive, again something is very wrong.
Finally, Pederson made a sarcastic, and frankly rude, response to a reporter who asked why Carson Wentz stays on the field when Hurts comes in and if it wouldn't be better to bring in another WR instead. Pederson sarcastically answered, "Sure, that's a good idea." A couple problems here. First, it's uncalled for to be short or rude with the press. It wasn't the reporters who put out a flat performance coming off a bye week that resulted in an unacceptable loss. And second, that is a completely legitimate question and, despite Doug's sarcasm, a good idea.
The Hurts situation, from his second-round selection to the way he is being deployed by Pederson, can be an article all its own. For our purposes here we'll just note that currently when Hurts enters the game, everybody, literally everybody, knows what is coming. That's why in the last three games Hurts has rushed four times for one yard. Having Wentz line up at WR gives you nothing and basically leaves you playing 11-on-10. If the Eagles want Hurts to be a viable threat this season, or any season that he is sitting behind Wentz on the depth chart, they have to get more creative and they have to let him throw more than once every five games. Giving him another target when he's on the field actually makes a ton of sense. For Doug to dismiss the question so flippantly is yet another red flag.
There are only two possibilities regarding Doug's comments, and neither of them are good. Either he really believes the things he said or he is lying through his teeth. In the latter scenario, Pederson is either unwilling to take true accountability for what is happening with his football team or he is in complete denial about the team's circumstances. Again, neither is a position you want your head coach to take. On the other hand, if he absolutely believes the things he said, if he thinks he was in rhythm as a play-caller yesterday or that the Eagles have been explosive with Jalen Hurts, then you seriously have to question his connection to reality and his ability to assess, adjust, and lead this football team.
Pederson's comments on Monday point to a coach in disarray. People who are calm and in control don't lash out at reporters for legitimate questions, and the other comments from Pederson suggest either a disconnect from reality or a complete denial of it. Either way, it's a bad look for the team's head coach and extremely concerning for the team's future.