In the NFL they call them four-point plays.
Taking a field goal when a touchdown is likely — in the red zone and opting to leave four (potential) points off the board.
The Eagles have not been a good four-point play team. They haven’t been a good red zone team either.
The Birds rank 25th of 32 teams in red zone touchdown percentage at 46.9 percent — nearly 30 percentage points lower than the NFL leading Ttians.
Philly brought in 6-foot-4 wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham to help cure just that weakness (the Eagles had a 55 percent red zone percentage in 2015) as a big body who can be effective near the end zone. But he’s proven not to be the weapon Doug Pederson hoped he would be.
“Those are situational things where as coaches and myself we need to make sure they’re working those things in practice, those types of routes in practice, whether it be a back shoulder throw or a fade over-the-top throw,” Pederson said Wednesday when asked about the four incomplete passes Carson Wentz threw to DBG in the end zone last Sunday,”putting our guys in those unique situations to be able to handle that during the game.”
The Eagles faltered repeatedly on their own side of the field in a 28-23 setback against the Giants that saw them go for it four times on fourth down, succeeding only once. But Philly has been able move the ball pretty well — compiling four red zone attempts per game, the sixth most in the NFL.
Pederson’s offense is creating opportunities. But Wentz, when it matters most, isn’t coming through.
“I thinkhe’s learning situational football a little bit,” Pederson said,”where maybe in college you don’t have to consider as much of that, where here it’s everything. It can really, really affect you offensively. So, he’s learning about situations.”
Dropping four of their last five games, the Eagles’ woes can be summed up simply by that edict: they haven’t been successful when they had to play situational football. Consequential late-game turnovers, questionable play calling and lapses in judgment — in situations with a clear right answer — are why the Eagles are 4-4 and in last in the NFC East.
Still, Pederson holds that the Eagles are a good team and Wentz is improving as a starting quarterback.
“The one thing he has done well is the things that we’ve asked him to do from managing our offense during the game, he’s handled extremely well,” the coach said. “So, from that standpoint, [we are] very comfortable going forward with the things he’s learned and the things we’ve been able to give him going forward the next eight weeks.”