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Eagles, Wentz, Edge Redskins in Opener: The Morning After

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Welcome back campers!

 

I am so thrilled to be back with you for another year of The Morning After, at your #1 source for all things Philly: Philly2Philly.com.

 

Before I get to getting, I want to just extend my best wishes and thoughts and prayers to all those affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Godspeed to all affected.

TMA

Ok, let's get to getting on the trivial stuff (AKA our beloved Birds).

 

Facebook Silence?

 

I surely did not intend this, but I was conspicuous by absence on Facebook during the game. I received several messages inquiring as to Where's Steve? It was not any conscious choice, I assure you. Lord knows there was enough to talk about/post about.

 

Here's a couple of Facebook gems from yesterday. Those with names are from friends of mine. Others are random comments I liked from FB.

 

Bob Campbell: "Not liking this game at all. Sloppy play all around. Maybe they actually needed to play the starters in the pre-season. Poor tackling odd play calling, spotty O-Line play, Smallwood can't block a lick, and Cousins has all day to throw."

 

Jerry DeRosa: "Play calling vacillates between painfully obvious and WTF."

 

Anonymous: "Great game overall. This team has the potential to run with anybody in this league. Only thing that'll hold us back is our HC, Doug Pederson. That right there, isn't good. Now I see why Jim Schwartz is reportedly 'walking around like he's the HC.'"

 

Anonymous: "Pederson's play calling is terrible and he needs to ditch that horrible bubble screen, that's a high school play and real NFL defenses know it's coming.To me they won in spite of Pederson."

 

Anonymous: "Rough game, but any divisional game is. Not quite sure what all the hate is about Pederson though, some odd calls, but every coach has them, so don't dig a hole for him yet...at least he isn't Chip."

 

I can tell you a lot of these same comments came up during text messages between myself and my brother, Michael, and a few buddies. My brother, in particular, said exactly the same thing re: the Eagles in spite of Doug Pederson.

 

And you know what? He and the anonymous poster are 100% correct. To the poster who wrote "Not quite sure what all the hate is about Pederson though, some odd calls, but every coach has them..." No, they don't. Every coach does not make the same damned odd call over and over again. If it doesn't work, it doesn't work. Burn it. Don't go back to it.

 

The best comment I got, however, goes to my aforementioned brother, Michael, who texted me: "I would not be surprised that since KC played on Thursday that Andy (Reid) is actually on the other end of the headset and is calling the plays."

 

Sure seemed like it, didn't it?

 

Trying to Make Some Wentz Out of ItPhoto: BleedingGreenNation.com

 

Let me state categorically that I am a huge Carson Wentz fan. I really am. I was all for the Eagles trading up multiple times to get him. He was their guy and they went and got him. He absolutely has all the physical tools and traits to be an above-average NFL quarterback.

 

Elite? That's to be determined.

 

His ability to prolong plays and run is proof as to just how strong he is (see Nelson Agholor's TD catch). Furthermore, his improvised scramble and pass to Zach Ertz along the sideline is an example of how calm he is in the pocket.

 

And yes, he didn't get many favors from his O-Line….. again.

 

But... he has got a long way to go to reach elite status. The overthrow to a wide open Torrey Smith that would have sealed the game in the 4Q is a microcosm of his faults to an extent. Not just the long ball, but he struggles on throws that require finesse as well.

 

The Battle Lines

 

On Saturday, NFL Hall of Famer Ray Didinger alluded to the fact that the team that controls the lines of scrimmage will win the game. Not exactly hall-of-fame caliber insight, but even though it's obvious to many, it is still vital for success.

 

And once again, the team that controlled the lines more than the other won the game. Yes, a complete over-simplification, but that's the point. Don't over complicate it. If you can protect your QB, allow him to step up in the pocket to throw. And when you can create running lanes, you will win.

 

Conversely on defense—when you can get to the opposing QB and clog those running lanes, you will win.

 

The Eagles won because their lines played better more often than the Redskins' lines. The problem is, not every team is the Redskins. In other words, if the Eagles plan on winning more than losing, they need to get more consistent play from both lines. But in particular, their offensive line.

 

For a change, not many penalties on the group yesterday, but many missed assignments.

 

That Other Lombardi

 

For those who don't know Mike Lombardi, he’s "an American football executive and media analyst,” according to Wikipedia. Until 2016, he was an assistant to the coaching staff of the New England Patriots, and is a former analyst for the NFL Network and sportswriter at NFL.com. Lombardi also previously served as an NFL executive with the San Francisco 49ers, Cleveland Browns, Philadelphia Eagles, and Oakland Raiders.He currently works for Bill Simmons' website The Ringer.

 

It is on that website where he made these now famous comments about one Douglas Pederson.

 

“Everybody knows Pederson isn’t a head coach. He might be less qualified to coach a team than anyone I’ve ever seen. When will the Eagles admit their mistake? Will they throw away 2017 by stubbornly sticking to the Pederson Principle?”

 

 

 

Lombardi was making a play on words with "The Pederson Principle" and The Peter Principle.

 

For those not familiar with The Peter Principle, here’s an explanation, courtesy of investopedia.com:

 

"The Peter Principle is an observation that the tendency in most organizational hierarchies, such as that of a corporation, is for every employee to rise in the hierarchy through promotion until they reach the levels of their respective incompetence. The Peter Principle is based on the logical idea that competent employees will continue to be promoted, but at some point will be promoted into positions for which they are incompetent, and they will then remain in those positions because of the fact that they do not demonstrate any further competence that would get them recognized for additional promotion. According to the Peter Principle, every position in a given hierarchy will eventually be filled by employees who are incompetent to fulfill the job duties of their respective positions."

 

In other words, Pederson was fine as an offensive coordinator, but has no business being a head coach, according to Lombardi.

 

The interesting backstory to all this is that Lombardi and Eagles Defensive Coordinator Jim Schwartz are good friends. In fact, Eagles beat writer Jeff McLane openly questioned Lombardi's motivation in firing off such damning comments toward Pederson.

 

In a piece titled Lombardi's criticism of Pederson raises the question: Is Schwartz angling for a promotion?  McLane writes that Lombardi's comments "have only fueled the belief from some in the NovaCare Complex that Schwartz has designs on Pederson’s job."

 

McLane went on to add that "one Eagles staffer said the only coach who probably doesn’t think Schwartz is trying to undercut Pederson is Pederson."

 

Now, I have no idea (nor do you or McLane) what exactly is going on within the confines of The Linc, but it would not be a surprise to see yet another "power struggle" ensue— much as we saw with Chip Kelly vs. Howie Roseman. The difference this time would be that Howie and the head coach are aligned, which theoretically would not give Schwartz much leverage. Unless he has the backing of a lot of the players.

 

Stay tuned.

 

And as always.

 

Time's yours.

 

Food's mine.

 

Leave a comment or tweet me @steveolenski

 

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Contact Steve Olenski at solenski@philly2philly.com

 

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Wentz photo: Photo: BleedingGreenNation.com