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MAQB: Impact of Eagles’ loss to Dolphins, why Jaguars are starting Minshew

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Doug Pederson, Gardner Minshew, Jacoby Brissett

Hard to believe there are only four weeks left in this NFL season…

• If Doug Pederson sounded a little furious over the Eagles’ play on WIP radio on Monday morning, he didn’t leave much doubt as to why he’d feel that way.

“I’m disgusted, I’m mad, I’m angry, and I’m probably more so mad at myself,” the Philly coach said. “They wanted this a little more than we did and they made the plays and we didn’t.” 

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That’s as strong a public indictment as you’ll hear from a coach on his team, and it’s well-placed, given the situation the Eagles are in now. So what tangible change will it lead to moving forward? That remains to be seen. I’m told in the short term, there won’t be staff changes, but the longer term could be a different story. Rumblings in midseason in 2018 held that the Eagles weren’t happy with the offensive staff following the departures of Frank Reich and John DeFilippo, and that changes could come. Then, Philly won five of six, and advanced a round in the playoffs, and coordinator Mike Groh and the rest of the offensive coaches made it through, in part, thanks to Nick Foles helping to rally the team again. We’ll see if the idea of change is revisited at the end of this year. Obviously, much will ride on how the next four weeks play out.

• Why did the Colts collapse in November? The easiest thing to point to is the lack of big plays on offense, and a sudden propensity for allowing them on defense. It was stark in the Thursday night loss a couple weeks back to Houston, highlighting the team’s injury woes at receiver (T.Y. Hilton, Parris Campbell, Devin Funchess, and now Chester Rogers all have had significant nicks) and holes in the pass defense. Add Jacoby Brissett’s two-game absence, and his sluggish performance Sunday against the Titans, and there’s the slump.

• I loved the story that Bill O’Brien offered up after his Texans beat the Patriots. He revealed that the reverse speed-option play (I think that’s what he termed it), on which DeAndre Hopkins served as the option QB and Deshaun Watson scores as the pitch man, was drawn up during the bye week by the players themselves.

“I think they drew it up in the dirt over the bye week,” O’Brien said. “They brought it in, had it on a piece of notebook paper, handed it to me. We’ve been working on that for a while. The timing was right. Wasn’t the exact look we thought we were going to get, and they made it work.”

Watson later explained that he and backup quarterback A.J. McCarron saw the Bears run the play, showed it to Hopkins, and took it to coordinator Tim Kelly. From there, the group spent a month working on it, then put it into action Sunday night. This gives the players some investment in designing the offense, and adds some fun things to what can be monotonous work during the season. Of course, it wouldn’t be so cool if it hadn’t worked—so making that happen, it’s fair to say, is the real key here.

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