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When I was first asked what I thought of the Philadelphia Eagles hiring former QB and assistant Doug Pederson as Head Coach I had two immediate reactions…a) I was grateful it wasn’t Ben McAdoo, the assistant to Tom Coughlin with the New York Giants who Eli Manning got promoted to their HC job after kicking Coughlin to the curb and…b) Doug will blissfully already be totally prepared for what it is like to be booed here because he was as both a QB and an assistant. He knows the fans, he knows the media.
It’s like Andy Reid was a boxed jigsaw puzzle who Owner Jeff Lurie slowly took apart as Andy’s coaching era fell apart, eventually putting all the pieces back in the box and hiding it within his closet when Chip Kelly was hired. With Kelly now dispatched, Lurie hurriedly has taken the box from his closet, opened it up and is frantically trying to put the image of Reid back together again through the hiring of Doug Pederson.
Doug came to Philadelphia via Reid at the age of 31…after struggling mightily to stay in the NFL as an undrafted, unqualified quarterback. Even though the Eagles had drafted Donovan McNabb, Andy stubbornly declared Pederson the starter to help install the West Coast offense and mentor McNabb… and didn’t insert Donovan into the fray until the season was shot at 2-7 and Doug being unable to go out in public.
Pederson finished out his career as a journeyman QB and then spent several years as a high school HC (Calvary Baptist Academy in Shreveport) in Louisiana before Reid made him the Eagles offensive quality control coach in 2009. Two years later he became Philly’s QB coach. When Andy finally got terminated here, Doug followed him to Kansas City as an offensive coordinator.
Some of the legitimate questions Lurie will have to answer about this hire include why he hired a man no other teams seemed to be interested in interviewing, why he hired a man who has only ever worked with one HC…and why he hired a man who has never regularly called plays from the sidelines.
It has been rumored the Eagles most wanted McAdoo or Chicago Bears assistant Adam Gase, the new HC in Miami, before they settled on Pederson. A choice many fans might not make at all…now appearing as a choice being settled for…does not admittedly make for a great first impression.
Doug turns 48 on January 31st. I suspect once the Chiefs season is over and this announcement can be made formal he’s going to feel much older after his first few press conferences in Philadelphia.
But here’s the thing…if guys who have never been HC’s in the NFL like Gase, McAdoo and Pederson can motivate pro players and ensure the offensive and defensive coordinators on either side of them are solid, veteran coaches who know what the hell they’re doing anything is possible. At least Pederson has more life and football experience under his belt than those other two…guys who are much younger and have resumes barely one page long. That’s why I said what I said earlier about at least feeling better about Pederson than McAdoo (or Gase). I’m big on life experience.
The older you are the more crap you’ve seen. The older you are the more likely you have seen how many ways “employees” can “act out.” (In pro sports that’s a management skill set all its own…)
But most definitely this hire was not only made because Jeff Lurie hoped to run straight back to the warm comfort of Andy Reid’s era through Doug Pederson…it was made because of his re-promoting of best friend Howie Roseman to being in charge of personnel after Kelly decimated the roster with a series of stunningly bad decisions. It may be several prospects were turned off to interview with the Eagles because of the Lurie-Roseman personnel dynamic which will leave Pederson to coach – at least early on – more so who he’s given (and inherited, a key point here) instead of who he himself wants. Those other candidates may have wanted a significant say in personnel from the jump.
After Chip Kelly (who is headed to the Niners now), there was no way on God’s green turf that was going to happen in Philadelphia.
Oh…and by the way, players play…and coaches coach. The quality of one’s personnel tends to be in direct proportion to how “well” they coach. I see already our “Philly friends” up at ESPN have rated Pederson’s hire the worst so far. Really?
Good luck San Francisco.
Doug Pederson’s hire is absolutely, without question, the “safest” decision Lurie could have made without getting Reid back here himself.
Come on, don’t we all reach for our favorite “binky” when we’re under the weather? That familiar, fluffy blanket makes everything feel better.
So you’re reading this far in and have reached a conclusion I’m now about to put the hammer down on this hire and go nuclear?
History has shown time and again we don’t know how someone is going to perform as an NFL Head Coach until he gets his chance. Pederson’s arrival reminds me of Reid’s. That’s a good thing in that…consider some of the people in Andy Reid’s “coaching tree.” John Harbaugh won a Super Bowl, Ron Rivera lost one game while at the helm of Carolina this season…and this year Todd Bowles almost got the New York Jets into the post-season.
Reid stayed here too long…but while he was here had the Eagles in the post-season on almost a regular basis. And when he was hired…well, it sounds an awful lot like Pederson’s arrival.
After the shrill, obnoxious, Napoleon-like Chip Kelly experience this fan is going to give Doug Pederson a chance. First and foremost…Jeff, Howie and Doug need to solve the puzzle and piece together a solid roster after Kelly took a jigsaw to it.
Doug Pederson arrives very much behind the very large shadow of Andy Reid.
For the Philadelphia Eagles…what was old…is new again.