A week after Carson Wentz reunited with the Eagles, or more accurately reunited with the Eagles defensive line, the Eagles will see another reunion when Doug Pederson comes to town. Hopefully this is not news to you.
This Doug Pederson guy is pretty good
Under Shahid Khan’s ownership the Jacksonville Jaguars have been an NPC franchise, existing so that other teams have someone to play against. Since Khan bought the team ahead of the 2012 season they have had just one season without double digit losses. Two head coaches under Khan never made it to their second season. They play in London every year because they play in such a small market. Their marketing consists of screaming the name of the county the team plays in as a rallying cry. A joke of a franchise.
Not this year. So far this season the Jaguars, coming off the most embarrassing season in franchise history, have been one of the best teams in the league with Doug Pederson at the helm.
Pederson got flak for hiring a bunch of assistant coaches that he previously worked with, which was one of the reasons he was fired by the Eagles. On one hand the complaint was fair, having spent his entire NFL assistant coaching career under Andy Reid his social circle of coaches is fairly small. On the other hand that’s how coaches get hired. That’s how he got the Eagles job in the first place, he had played and coached for them before! Nick Sirianni got his because he worked under Frank Reich, who coached for the Eagles. Bill Belichick, Andy Reid, Sean McDermott, Mike Vrabel, Zac Taylor, Josh McDaniels, Brian Daboll, and Kevin O’Connell all previously worked for the guy who hired them, and Todd Bowles and Dennis Allen were promoted from within. That’s how it goes in the NFL.
Anyway, this is working really well for the Jaguars. The Jags offense, coached by Pederson and former punching bags Press Taylor, Mike McCoy, and Jim Bob Cooter, have the 4th best offensive DVOA. Trevor Lawrence, in danger of getting ruined by Urban Meyer, looks like the franchise QB in the making he was supposed to be. James Robinson, left for dead by Meyer, is 10th among RBs in yards from scrimmage and 1st in TDs. The signing of Christian Kirk drew scorn in March, he was one of the most productive WRs in September. Mike Caldwell, who played and coached alongside Pederson in Philly, runs the defense along with a staff full of coaches who either played or coached with Pederson or Caldwell, they have the 5th best defensive DVOA, with 1st round picks Travon Walker and Devin Lloyd looking like studs.
History is repeating itself a bit for Pederson. In his first season Pederson had the Eagles off to a good start before injuries took their toll on a team with no depth. The Jaguars feel similar, they’re in first place in their division with the second best point differential in the league in September, which feels both a little too good to be true but it is also unfair to say they’ve been lucky.
Yeah this Doug Pederson guy, turns out he’s a pretty good coach. Of course, we knew that already. It’s good to see the rest of the NFL is realizing that too.
How Many Punts Will We See?
The Eagles have forced 11 punts, the Jaguars 6. Using maths, the teams are forcing an average of 5.7 punts a game, so an over/under of total punts on Sunday would be 5.5.
But this isn’t just any game. Nick Sirianni was one of the most aggressive coaches on 4th down last year and has even more reason to go for it this year with better talent around him. Doug Pederson is the man who brought the 4th down revolution to the NFL. And both coaches have offenses that enter the game playing at a high level. Both coaches also have defenses that are playing at a high level. And both have punt return units that are playing poorly, the Eagles are 23rd in yards per punt return, the Jaguars are 30th; the Eagles are 32nd in punt return DVOA, the Jaguars are 18th. Both have sufficient reason to trust their offenses will convert. Both have sufficient reason to trust their defense will hold with a boost from the other team’s punt return putting them at a disadvantage. There’s a potential game within the game on Sunday.
I think that gives Sirianni and Pederson further incentive to go for it when given the chance, so I’m taking the under that I just made up.
Stat of the Month That May Only Interest Me
Just to put September’s passing offense in perspective…
Jalen Hurts is on pace for over 5000 passing yards. The Eagles record is 4039.
AJ Brown is on pace for over 1700 receiving yards. Devonta Smith is on pace for 1411. The Eagles record is 1409.
Yeah, that is every bit as ridiculous as it feels.
Top 5 Players From Jacksonville who Played for the Eagles
1. Brian Dawkins
Could just list him five times and call it a day.
2. Harold Carmichael
Could also just list him five times and call it day.
3. Lito Sheppard
#3 on the list, #26 in your program, #1 in your heart that night.
4. Tom Sullivan
Who? Led the league in rushing TDs in 1974.
5. Tim Tebow
It’s a weak list. It’s a weak city.