#SalPalEaglesCamp: Doug Pederson Reveals the Two Things the Offense Needs to Improve

On the eve of the NFL season opener in South Philly, it’s important to peel back the layers of how the Eagles were so successful last season and see what they’re trying to do to get better.

Doug Pederson recently offered me a rare glimpse into the team’s finer practice points of emphasis, explaining that his top priority in training camp was to improve the Super Bowl champs on offense in two major areas: Second and long, and fourth down.

Pederson explained that his analytics team determined that his play calling on second and long was in the bottom of third of the NFL in terms of yardage production. That often put the Eagles in third and long way too often – a major no-no. So, watch what the Eagles do offensively, watch what plays he calls on second down to be more aggressive downfield, especially with his tights between the hash marks.

I realize this is what we like to call serious “inside baseball,” but it’s critical to understanding how a team that scored 26.8 points a game – third in the league – in 2017 can improve after losing so many key offensive players.

On fourth down, which Pederson likes to call “just another down,” it’s impossible to see how the Eagles could improve. Last season, Pederson made the correct call on fourth down six out of 15 times, or 40 percent – which led the league. By comparison, the Eagles opponent on Thursday night, the Atlanta Falcons, got it right on fourth down 18 percent of the time, which ranked 17th in the league last year.

As the title of his book suggests, Pederson was “fearless” on fourth down, and it paid off.


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