Updated: 10:40 a.m.
If it seemed like the Eagles got away from the run game too early during Sunday's 30-17 win over Washington, it's probably because the Eagles got away from the run game too early in Sunday's 30-17 win over Washington.
Even Doug Pederson agreed.
"You know, it's funny because in the middle part of the game, it felt like we were going backwards a little bit," Pederson said Monday. "We had some sacks, we had negative rushing plays, we had penalties in there, so it felt like, a little bit yeah, we were getting away from it. But at the same time, we have to do better on first and second down to stay positive so that we can continue to run the ball."
For all of the talk of offensive balance this offseason, it was more of the same from Pederson and the Eagles on Sunday. Carson Wentz threw the ball 39 times and Pederson dialed up a run play just 20 times. That two-to-one ratio doesn't fit the bill for a balanced offense. And Reuben Frank says it's hard to win that way (see story).
It seemed like the Eagles struggled to run the ball early and then Pederson fell back into old habits. But he's right about the 3rd-and-longs. On their 14 third downs on Sunday, the average distance to go was 8.14 yards. Of those 14 third downs, 10 were 3rd-and-6 or longer.
Surprisingly, the Eagles were really good on third downs Sunday, though. They converted on 8 of 14, but all eight came through the air. In the first quarter, the Eagles failed to convert on a 3rd-and-1 when LeGarrette Blount lost two yards and it seemed like Pederson gave up on the ground game.
Blount was the Eagles' most productive back on Sunday and he had just 46 yards on 14 carries. Meanwhile, Wendell Smallwood and Darren Sproles averaged 1.0 yard per carry.
Pederson said the blame belongs with both the offensive line and his running backs, but thinks his team is close to figuring it out. Perhaps he just has to give them the chance in the future.
"Obviously at the end of the day, it's not good enough," Pederson said. "The running game is not good enough."
Ready for Rasul
Eagles third-round pick Rasul Douglas spent his first NFL game watching in street clothes from the sideline. The Eagles decided to keep just three cornerbacks (and safety Jaylen Watkins) active on Sunday, so Douglas was inactive.
That might change now, thanks to Ronald Darby's dislocated ankle, which will reportedly keep Darby out for four to six weeks (see story). In the game on Sunday, Watkins came in to replace him, but Pederson said using Douglas is one possibility.
Pederson said he and defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz will talk about the options this week before next Sunday's game in Kansas City.
"[Douglas has] put himself in a good position," Pederson said. "He came out of camp better than ... he improved from OTAs to training camp. He improved. Got a lot of confidence in him if that's the direction we go on defense."
Good with Schwartz
After the Eagles' win on Sunday, Pederson got a Gatorade shower from his players. Probably a little early in the season for a Gatorade shower, but his players clearly wanted to show their support for their coach.
It was a rough week for Pederson. First, former NFL GM Mike Lombardi said Pederson was the most unqualified NFL head coach he had ever seen, and then a Philadelphia Inquirer report said Schwartz, a former head coach, is "trying to undercut" the head coach and basically is aiming for Pederson's job.
Pederson was asked point-blank on Monday if he felt the need to talk to Schwartz after the report surfaced.
"No, I did not," Pederson answered. "Jim and I have always had a great relationship, and it was — I don't know what to tell you. Jim and I have always had a great relationship, and even yesterday, the communication is always there. We talk quite a bit, actually, during the week, and I love his enthusiasm. I love his swagger. I think our defensive guys feed off of that. Most D-coordinators I've been around have that, and he's no different and that's one of the things I like about Jim is the fact that he has it and the guys feed off of that and that's the way they play."
Practice squad move
The Eagles on Tuesday signed offensive tackle Victor Salako to the practice squad and released cornerback C.J. Smith from the practice squad.