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Giants vs. Eagles: Doug Pederson feels Ben McAdoo’s pain

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Like McAdoo, Pederson is an offensive coordinator turned head coach who still calls the plays

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Redskins Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

New York Giants fans haven’t been too patient with first-year head coach Ben McAdoo, specifically his play-calling. McAdoo was hired as the Giants’ offensive coordinator in 2014 to modernize Big Blue’s attack in today’s pass-first NFL. As coordinator, he had some success. Since taking the coaching reins from Tom Coughlin, it’s been a mixed bag.

Philadelphia Eagles’ HC Doug Pederson can relate. Like McAdoo, Pederson spent two seasons as a quarterbacks coach before graduating to offensive coordinator and calling plays. Like McAdoo, Pederson is in his first year as a head coach. And like McAdoo, Pederson has been crushed by Eagles fans for his game management. Some refer to him as “snack-sized Andy Reid.”

When asked about similarities between them on Wednesday, Pederson spoke about the difficulties of retaining play-calling duties as a head coach.

“It is a big adjustment because once you get done with an offensive series, you want to go back and talk to your players and talk to the quarterback and O-line and everybody, but you have to remember that the defense is out there or special teams is out there, so you can’t do that,” he said. “So you rely on your offensive coaches that are on the sideline with you more and just communicate as best you can throughout the game.

“It is a bit of an adjustment early on, but I have felt like we have handled it pretty well.”

Pundits and fans, of course, would argue otherwise. Bleeding Green Nation’s Adam Hermann took Pederson to task for punting to the Dallas Cowboys, instead of attempting a 55-yard field goal that could’ve put the game away late during last week’s loss to the Cowboys.

“Doug Pederson’s explanation (field position) for punting the ball away from the Dallas 36-yard line with 7:17 to play, up seven points, is excruciating ... the Eagles don’t have just any old kicker. They have Caleb Sturgis. It sounds funny to phrase it like that, but Sturgis has made 17 of 18 field goals this season, including three of three from 50+ yards. He’d made a 55-yarder just a couple hours earlier, on the same field, in the same arena, at the end of the first half.”

Fair criticism. Given Pederson’s breakdown of how play-calling has become strained, it may be time to relinquish the duties. If the Giants stumble out of the gate post-bye, McAdoo would be wise to do the same. More takeaways from Pederson’s media session below:

On whether recently arrested WR Josh Huff would play Sunday:

“Yes, he will be. Until I get more information, he will be available to play, yes.”

On rookie QB Carson Wentz’s ability to run the entire offense:

“He can handle everything that we put in each week. I haven’t held back anything. One thing I have to be careful of is really giving him too much. Sometimes we rely a little bit on his smarts, using his brain and all that, and sometimes that can bog any quarterback down, especially a rookie quarterback with the first few starts of the season. If anything, it is just a matter of limiting a lot of the extra things, checks, audible, things of that nature and just letting him play.

On Eli Manning’s experience being an advantage over his NFC East QB counterparts:

“I think it is huge. One, you have a veteran guy under center who has got a lot of time in the offense and a lot of time with his personnel and that is a big advantage, I think. Eli is always a guy that is always well prepared every week and knows how to utilize his weapons. I think he has three great receivers there and just utilizing that and just understanding the offense. Being in the same system for so many years has another advantage of just knowing where everyone is going to be at one given time.”