Doug Pederson to continue as play-caller, but will evaluate his season

Doug Pederson to continue as play-caller, but will evaluate his season

After Sunday’s season finale against the Cowboys finished up, head coach Doug Pederson revealed a little bit of news. 

He’ll be calling the offensive plays again in 2017. 

“I will, yes,” he said. “I will for sure.”

This past season was the first for Pederson as a full-time play-caller. He was given some play-calling responsibility in Kansas City in 2015 with Andy Reid, but wasn’t the only guy. In his first year as head coach, it was pretty much all on him, although he made sure to point out on Sunday that he had plenty of help. 

And before the season started, Pederson changed his first convoluted system for getting the play calls into Wentz, which would have gone from him to offensive coordinator Frank Reich and then to Wentz. Pederson was confused by the number of channels he would be allowed on his headset. 

Once he was set straight, Pederson streamlined the process and called the plays directly into Wentz himself, which seemed to work. That’s the way the Eagles plan on doing things going forward. 

Wentz thought Pederson’s play-calling and his approach to play-calling was similar all year. But that wasn’t what he really liked about Pederson’s play-calling. 

“One thing I always appreciated with Coach Pederson was he valued my input, even as a rookie,” Wentz said. “He valued my opinion on things. I thought that was awesome, I thought that was awesome for me. And I thought he did a good job.” 

While Wentz thought Pederson did a good job calling the plays during the 2016 season, fans weren’t so forgiving. At times, Pederson’s calls were brought into question. 

But he was pretty consistent throughout the year, remaining very aggressive. 

“Again, as I mentioned during the week, I'll evaluate my play-calling,” Pederson said Sunday. “I've got to balance between managing the game offense, defense, special teams to actually calling the offense. I get a lot of help. It's not like I'm doing this by myself. Frank has done a great job with me. He's constantly in my ear. He's constantly throwing ideas.

“(Offensive line coach) Jeff Stoutland is constantly throwing the run game at me, so it's not like I'm doing this by myself. I've got a great staff on offense, and we're constantly dialoguing. Even though I'm the one calling the actual play, there's a lot of dialogue on the sideline as to what we need to be calling.”

NFL owners mull cut of regular-season overtime to 10 minutes

NFL owners mull cut of regular-season overtime to 10 minutes

NEW YORK -- NFL owners will consider proposals next week to cut regular-season overtime from 15 minutes to 10; eliminate players leaping over the line on kick plays; and expansion of coaches' challenges and what can be reviewed by officials.

In what promises to be a busy annual meeting next week in Phoenix that will include discussing the Raiders' potential relocation from Oakland to Las Vegas, the 32 owners also will vote on changing the mechanics on replay reviews and other items intended to reduce downtime during games.

The Eagles proposed four rules changes, including abolishing the leaping techniques that league football operations director Troy Vincent said Thursday "don't belong in the game."

Seattle and Buffalo co-authored a proposal allowing a coach to challenge any officiating decision, whether a foul is called or not.

"That is a significant change to our current replay rule and it is something that will be on the floor and will be debated next week," NFL officiating chief Dean Blandino said.

Another major change would be the reduction of overtime in-season; the extra period in the playoffs would remain at 15 minutes. The powerful competition committee, of which Vincent and Blandino are members, believed it's a player safety issue, noting that number of snaps for games going to OT -- especially deep into the overtime -- is excessive. Especially if a team has a quick turnaround.

"We don't know where a team is going to be playing the next week, it could be four days later," said committee chairman Rich McKay, president of the Atlanta Falcons. "We felt we should put an end to it. We don't think it will lead to more ties. Could it? It could, but we are not concerned with that."

As for changing the format of overtime to ensure both teams always get a possession -- a popular topic after how the Super Bowl ended -- Blandino said the league's wants to keep the element of sudden death in the extra period.

The "leaper rule" has taken some priority among competition committee members, the players' union and coaches. Vincent said coaches have begun scheming how to defense it, which can "create a real safety issue."

"It is really in the best interest of the game" to outlaw leaping on kicks," Vincent added.

McKay noted that the NCAA is in the process of passing a similar ban on the technique.

During the meetings that run from Sunday to Wednesday, the teams will be shown plays the competition committee believes should result in suspensions or ejections. Game officials already have had the leeway to eject players, but it rarely has happened; there were three in 2016.

"They don't happen very often, let's give the players credit," McKay said. "We have 40,000 plays in a year. We'll show a tape that will have four or five plays that would warrant suspension. This is not a widespread situation."

Added Vincent, a former NFL defensive back: "When you see the plays, they are catastrophic. We had two players who did not return for the season. They are high-impact plays that belong out of the game. It will be a real point of emphasis this season."

Eagles pre-2017 draft depth chart: How it stands and what it means

Eagles pre-2017 draft depth chart: How it stands and what it means

We're still a little over a month away from the NFL draft in Philly and the Eagles have some pretty notable holes, while some positions seem good to go.

The Eagles added three players through free agency -- Alshon Jeffery, Torrey Smith, Chance Warmack -- and re-signed several of their own players, while several others walked as free agents.

Right now, there are 72 players on the roster -- 40 on offense, 28 on defense and four special teamers. (If you're wondering, they have $9,751,328 in cap space, according to the NFLPA.) The Eagles will be able to bring 90 guys to training camp.

We're still months and months away from the season, but here's an updated look at the team's depth chart before the draft:

QB: Carson Wentz, Nick Foles
Chase Daniel and his ridiculous backup salary are gone and replaced by Nick Foles and a still-pricey, but not-as-crazy salary. Foles was once the starter in Philly, but there's no QB controversy here; Wentz is the franchise quarterback and it's just Foles' job to help him out over at least the next two seasons.

Last year, the Eagles didn't carry a third quarterback on the active roster, instead keeping Aaron Murray on the practice squad. Murray is now with the Rams, and the Eagles don't have a third. There's a chance they could look for a QB late in the draft or bring in some kind of developmental QB to stash on the practice squad this year.

RB: Darren Sproles, Wendell Smallwood, Byron Marshall, Terrell Watson, Ryan Mathews
You'll notice Ryan Mathews at the tail end of this list. That's because it still seems likely the Eagles will cut him and save $4 million in cap space once he heals from that nasty neck injury he suffered late in the 2016 season. That doesn't appear to be happening anytime soon, though. There's, perhaps, a slight chance Mathews returns, but it still seems unlikely.

That would leave an aging Sproles, a second-year guy in Smallwood and two undrafted rookies from a year ago. So the Eagles will need some help. It would be surprising if they don't draft a running back, although that doesn't mean they'll use a first-round pick on one. Remember, the franchise has had success drafting running backs in later rounds and just last year vice president of player personnel Joe Douglas, while with the Bears, took Pro Bowler Jordan Howard in the fifth round.

FB: Andrew Bonnet
In his first season as head coach, Doug Pederson elected to not use a roster spot on a fullback. He had Ryan Mueller in camp briefly in the spring and then Bonnet was on the practice squad for a little during the season. Pederson elected to use Beau Allen and Isaac Seumalo as lead blockers. It will be interesting to see if that continues or if he'll put more stock into keeping a fullback around.

TE: Zach Ertz, Brent Celek, Trey Burton, Anthony Denham
The top three guys are back after the Eagles slapped a second-round tender on Burton, who was a restricted free agent. Basically, the second-round value on his tender means that he'll be back in 2017 and the team likely will continue trying to sign him to a long-term contract like it did during the 2016 season. Denham was on the practice squad, which is his best bet again.

LT: Jason Peters, Matt Tobin, Dillon Gordon
LG: Chance Warmack, Allen Barbre, Darrell Greene, Josh LeRibeus
C: Jason Kelce, Stefen Wisniewski, Josh Andrews, Aaron Neary
RG: Brandon Brooks, Isaac Seumalo, Dallas Thomas
RT: Lane Johnson, Halapoulivaati Vaitai, Taylor Hart


The Eagles list 10 players who can play guard on their roster. To put that in perspective, they kept just 11 total offensive linemen on their initial 53-man roster last season. Something has to give, right? Maybe Jason Kelce eventually will be traded or maybe the team will change its mind and decide to move on from Allen Barbre. But for now, the Birds are extremely deep on the interior of their line.

The tackle spots are a little different. After Jason Peters and Lane Johnson, the depth isn't great. Big V had an OK rookie season, and Matt Tobin kind of is what he is. Barbre and Seumalo offer the flexibility to play tackle, but it's not their strength. The team lists Dillon Gordon as a guard, but his best fit is probably at tackle. Though, Gordon is a converted tight end and is still raw. The wild card right now is Taylor Hart, who is converting from defensive tackle to offensive tackle. No one really knows if he can play there yet.

WR1: Alshon Jeffery, Dorial Green-Beckham, Marcus Johnson, Rasheed Bailey
WR2: Torrey Smith, Nelson Agholor, Bryce Treggs, David Watford, Dom Williams
WR3: Jordan Matthews, Paul Turner

This looks a lot different than it did a month ago. Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith come in and immediately get penciled in as starters, and Jordan Matthews continues to hold down the slot. That means DGB and Nelson Agholor become role players instead of starters. Because of his salary, Agholor will be on the team in 2017; DGB isn't guaranteed. With extra outside receivers, it might also make some sense to see Agholor play some in the slot this season. Also, this depth chart includes training camp All-Stars Paul Turner and Rasheed Bailey -- everyone rejoice!

DE: Vinny Curry, Marcus Smith, Alex McCalister
DT: Fletcher Cox, Aziz Shittu, Justin Hamilton
DT: Beau Allen, Destiny Vaeao
DE: Brandon Graham, Steven Means


This defensive line lost two starters from last year's team. Connor Barwin was cut and Bennie Logan walked in free agency. Replacing them, respectively, are Vinny Curry and Beau Allen. Curry signed a big deal last offseason, so he'll get a chance to prove he's worth it. And unless the Eagles use a high pick to take a DT, Allen gets thrown into the starting lineup.

Marcus Smith and Steven Means are the top backups at end, and we'll see what Alex McCalister offers after a redshirt 2016 season. Undrafted rookies from a year ago, Destiny Vaeao and Aziz Shittu, provide the depth at interior tackle.

The Eagles clearly need to draft defensive linemen in April.

OLB: Nigel Bradham, Najee Goode
MLB: Jordan Hicks, Joe Walker, Don Cherry
OLB: Mychal Kendricks, Kamu Grugier-Hill


As of March 23, Mychal Kendricks is still an Eagle. That could change, though, if the Eagles find a trade partner for him. Kendricks has struggled in recent years, but he's still young and athletic and might bring back some kind of return. Jordan Hicks and Nigel Bradham both return after working well together in 2016. Bradham enters the final year of his two-year contract.

There's not much depth after the starters. Joe Walker returns after an ACL tear and a couple of special teamers are the top backups. The Eagles might look to bring in a draft pick to throw into the mix.

CB: Jalen Mills, C.J. Smith, Mitchell White
S: Malcolm Jenkins, Jaylen Watkins
S: Rodney McLeod, Chris Maragos, Terrence Brooks
CB: Ron Brooks, Aaron Grymes, Dwayne Gratz

The Eagles' biggest need is cornerback and it's not close. Not even close to being close. They can't go into the season without some changes to this part of the depth chart. It would be pretty shocking if they don't add a couple corners in this very deep draft class. Don't be surprised if they add a safety or a corner/safety either. While the starters are set, Chris Maragos is viewed by the Eagles as a special teamer (a great one, by the way) and Jaylen Watkins is a huge drop-off from Jenkins or McLeod.

K: Caleb Sturgis
P: Donnie Jones
LS: Jon Dorenbos, Rick Lovato

The top three guys are set. Sorry, Rick Lovato, you did well filling in last year, but this long-snapper job still belongs to the Magic Man.