Eagles' Offense Hasn't Been This Bad Since Doug Pederson Was QB

Eagles' Offense Hasn't Been This Bad Since Doug Pederson Was QB

Okay, that headline might be a slight exaggeration, but by at least one measure, it's absolutely true. Unfortunately for the Eagles, that one measure happens to be second only to "wins" in importance: scoring.

By virtue of their not playing this week, the Cowboys slipped ahead of Philadelphia in the points category, leaving the Birds in their dust at 16 points per game. That's 31st in the NFL, ahead of only the Blaine Gabbert-led Jaguars.

Reuben Frank uncovered a statistic, as he tends to do, that should help put that 16 PPG in perspective. It's the worst by any Eagles squad through five games since Andy Reid's first season as head coach way back in 1999.

Way back in 1999 when Doug Pederson was the starting quarterback.

Pederson, a first-time starter at 31, was more or less hand-picked by Reid to help ease second-overall draft pick Donovan McNabb into the job. Prior to '99, Pederson had attempted 32 career passes.

The Eagles predictably got off to a 1-4 start, while the offense averaged 11.4 points per game. To put that in perspective, that's even worse than 2012 Jacksonville at 13 PPG.

Pederson finished '99 with a 2-7 record as the starter, and a passer rating of 62.9. The Birds went 5-11.

Michael Vick currently has Philly at 3-2, but with a passer rating of 77.8 -- and 11 turnovers especially -- it's tough to envision that number staying above .500 without some drastic improvement.

The major difference between now and then: an offense featuring Pro Bowlers Michael Vick, DeSean Jackson, and LeSean McCoy is supposed to be good, if not great. Nobody expected the rebuilding Eagles to field an offensive juggernaut 14 years ago.

Yet amazingly, they have regressed back to the Pederson days. Is it merely coincidence he took over as the club's quarterbacks coach last year? Yes, yes it almost certainly is, but what's happening should feel a bit like deja vu.

Shortening overtime in the NFL is stupid

Shortening overtime in the NFL is stupid

Like when sporting events finish in a tie? Of course you do. That’s why the NHL scrapped ties in favor of a skills competition back in 2005, or why Major League Baseball awarded home-field advantage in the World Series to the winning side of an exhibition game for 14 years. Yeah, folks love ties.

Well, if you’re the type who enjoys a good tie or a long smooch with your sister, the NFL has a rule change made just for you. Because the end result of reducing overtime from 15 minutes to 10 during the regular season will inevitably be more contests that end without deciding a winner.

Why? The league offered some hollow-sounding excuse built around player safety and competitive balance. Teams that play an additional five minutes in the extra period, then turn around and play again on a short week -- think Monday to Sunday, or worse, Sunday to Thursday -- are at a disadvantage, while the health of the players are at greater risk.

Whether there was any tangible evidence five more minutes can really have a serious effect on the following week is unclear. It sure doesn’t seem like that would make a world of difference. The only thing we can say for certain is the end result will be more ties.

Even under the previous rule, the NFL managed to have two games end in ties in 2016, which are two more than anybody would prefer. Yet, four more games went deeper than 10 minutes into overtime, according to Jonathan Jones for Sports Illustrated, and while not all were necessarily guaranteed to finish in a tie under the change, the likelihood obviously increases.

For the sake of argument, let’s just say there were two more ties in ’16, bringing the total to four. That still isn’t a huge number, but even two is atypical. Most years, there are one, or none at all. Now, the frequency is guaranteed to increase.

Does that matter? Maybe not. A few extra ties are unlikely to turn off viewers. In fact, a case can be made overtime will be more exciting with the clock coming into play more often. Ties also lead to some interesting situations in the standings, and can inject slightly more intrigue into playoff races late in the year.

None of which is going to change the fact that ties are inherently a bad thing and people despise them. The NHL and MLB both came up with rule changes that would avoid ties, each of which had a major impact on the very landscape of the sports. Yet, while competitors are getting away from ties, the NFL has decided to invite more.

Again, it’s worth pointing out the reasoning seems bogus. If competitive balance and player safety are issues, teams wouldn’t have to turn around and play on Thursday four days after a Sunday game in the first place.

The NFL’s overtime rules were already imperfect. Shortening the length of the period is unlikely to fix inherent problems with the sudden-death system -- namely a team winning the game on the possession immediately following the coin flip. Instead, we simply have another round of valid complaints to look forward to on the horizon.

Howie Kendrick (oblique) finally ready to begin rehab assignment tonight

Howie Kendrick (oblique) finally ready to begin rehab assignment tonight

Phillies corner outfielder/infielder Howie Kendrick is finally nearing a return. He'll begin a rehab assignment tonight with Triple A Lehigh Valley.

Kendrick has been out since April 15 with an oblique strain. He did defensive work during the Phillies' road trip and has been taking outdoor batting practice at home this week.

Kendrick was off to a hot start when the oblique injury sent him to the DL. In 10 games, he went 13 for 39 (.333) with four doubles, a triple and five RBIs. He batted second all 10 games.

The Phillies are in a bad offensive funk and could use Kendrick's bat over Michael Saunders' right now. The Phils' 1-2 hitters were among the most productive in the majors in April, hitting close to .350 for the month. They're down to .282 on the season as Cesar Hernandez and Odubel Herrera have slumped in May.

With Clay Buchholz likely out for the season and Saunders providing little offense so far, the Phillies' trio of offseason veteran additions has not panned out through two months.