Eagles coaches miss obvious challenge chance

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Eagles coaches miss obvious challenge chance
November 12, 2013, 1:45 pm
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Pat Shurmur said the Eagles did not have access to replay "in a timely way" on Jarrett Boykin's 36-yard catch Sunday. (AP)

You knew on Sunday that Packers wide receiver Jarrett Boykin was out of bounds. The Eagles didn’t. It took the coaching staff until Tuesday to acknowledge their mistake of not challenging the play.

“He was out,” defensive coordinator Bill Davis admitted at the NovaCare Complex. “We missed it.”

Early in the second quarter, Green Bay quarterback Scott Tolzien threw a deep pass down the sideline on 3rd-and-9. Boykin fell across the sideline as he made the catch. It was clear from the television feed that Boykin was out of bounds. The Eagles didn’t challenge the play, and Boykin ended up with a 36-yard grab that should have been called back.

It should be noted that the drive ultimately ended with Tolzien throwing an interception to Eagles cornerback Brandon Boykin, but the Eagles couldn’t have predicted that at the time. In retrospect, do the coaches wish they challenged the play?

“Absolutely,” said offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur. “In a timely way, if we had gotten the information that you all saw, where you’re saying, ‘What the heck are they doing?’ Yeah, of course we would have challenged.”

Timely is a word Shurmur used often on Tuesday. Shurmur is Chip Kelly’s point person for replays. If the other coaches in the booth see something that should be reviewed, they tell Shurmur, who then relays it to Kelly.

On the Jarrett Boykin play, Shurmur said the coaches initially thought he was inbounds. But Shurmur also said that they got “a feed of some sort” that wasn’t beamed into the box quickly enough for their liking.

“Now, had we had the benefit of the broadcast when they were able to cut it up, certainly we would have challenged,” Shurmur said. “But we don’t get that. We do get some replays at times, but there are times when they’re not that timely."

NFL rules stipulate that the network feed is sent directly from the television truck to the coaches’ booth so there’s no delay. Approximately one minute passed between the Jarrett Boykin play and the next play because the officials were conferring on a defensive offside penalty. That should have been plenty of time for the Eagles’ coaches to see what everyone else saw on TV.

“I appreciate the update on the rules,” Shurmur said when someone mentioned that to him in Tuesday’s press conference. “I know the rules. But all I can tell you, in this instance, we didn’t get it in a timely fashion. Now, I’m not saying there’s any conspiracy here. It just didn’t happen.”

Despite Shurmur implying that there was something wrong with the Eagles’ replay feed, the offensive coordinator said the team didn’t file a complaint with the league office. So either the feed was broken and the Eagles decided to let it go, or the feed was fine and the Eagles, as Davis said, missed an obvious challenge. Either way, something didn’t go the way it should have on Sunday.

Perhaps, one reporter joked, Shurmur’s son should have texted him and said, "Hey, dad, you’ve got to challenge this."

“Why didn’t you guys text me?” Shurmur quipped. “Right? You guys get it on Twitter.”

Shumur thought about that for a moment, then reconsidered.

“I’m sure … Yeah, don’t do that,” he said.

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