Eagles Wake-Up Call: The Difference With Pederson

Photo courtesy: USA Today Sports Images

Photo courtesy: USA Today Sports Images

The Eagles weren’t blown away by Doug Pederson, and there’s really no getting around that.

The story will come out nice and clean once it makes its way through the spin cycle: the team’s interest in other candidates was overstated; they had an eye towards Pederson the whole time; and in the end, they landed the guy that felt like the best fit. It will serve as a nice touch-up marker for an organization attempting to project an image of stability and success as they emerge from this turbulent multi-week coaching search.

Wash though they may, it’ll be tough to scrub away these facts:

1) Pederson went into this process as one of the Eagles’ top targets.
2) The Eagles sat down with Pederson at the beginning of the week
3) After that interview, they made a push to sign Ben McAdoo and, once denied, intensified talks with Tom Coughlin in hopes of working something out.

Those are not the actions of a team that had their socks knocked off by Pederson during their five hours together in Kansas City. If that was the case, they would have sat tight, made the offer and waited until the Chiefs were done before making their official announcement. Instead, they scrambled to try and secure other options.

Is that the end of the world? Not necessarily. Just because you weren’t the first choice or a knockout during an interview scheduled smack in the middle of a postseason run doesn’t mean that it won’t work out. Regardless of perception, we don’t know what type of head coach he will be until he does it and does it for an extended period of time.

But it is important in terms of evaluating the organization’s performance during this process. From that perspective, they settled.

The Eagles misread the market, and just as importantly, their value in it. Jeffrey Lurie didn’t want any surprises this time. Feeling burned by what went down with Chip Kelly, he chose a more methodical approach. They were going to take their time to  ensure that they found someone who was a match in terms of personality, power structure and so on.

And so they watched as one of their top candidates, Adam Gase, inked a deal in Miami, then saw McAdoo sign in New York. With two of their top targets off the board the Eagles turned their attention to Coughlin, who basically said “thanks but no thanks.” That left Pederson and in-house candidates Pat Shurmur and Duce Staley as the remaining options among those interviewed.

“They wanted to make sure that they got to know their candidates well,” said Adam Schefter. “And in this particular case, the NFL world doesn’t stop. These other teams move. So if you like Gase, he’s not going to be there. You like McAdoo, he’s not going to be there. If you want to get one of these guys, you’ve gotta move quick. And that conflicted with what they wanted to do in terms of a patient approach.”

With an overall thin crop, did they realize that desirable coaches were going to be plucked quick? Did they think they had the sway to overcome supply and demand? If the plan was to be more methodical and they knew coaches would get snatched up at a rapid rate, why didn’t they conduct a more expansive search to increase the chances of unearthing a gem?

Pederson is a Reid disciple and the hope is, like Reid, Pederson will rise from relative obscurity to become one of the better head coaches in the National Football League. And he may do just that. But we’re not talking about mirror situations here.

Reid might not have been the public’s favorite but he left a mark on the search committee that all but forced them to hire the ol’ quarterbacks coach out of Green Bay. Here, it’s different. Here, the Eagles were so impressed that they went out and pursued two other men for the job.

That’s not everything, but it’s not nothing, either.


Former and current players weigh in on the hiring with Birds 24/7.

A roundup of reaction from around the web.

More on the hiring of Pederson and possible pieces of his coaching staff.

Former Eagles head coach Chip Kelly was hired as the 49ers’ new head coach Thursday.


Jeff McLane provides more insight into the coaching search:

Gase, the former Bears offensive coordinator who signed with the Dolphins on Saturday, knew he could have had the Eagles’ job, but he has chosen a situation and a quarterback in Ryan Tannehill that he felt made Miami more equipped to win now, two sources familiar with his thinking said…

The Eagles then interviewed McAdoo, followed by Pederson on Sunday. However the latter meeting went, the team then narrowed its focus on the former. The Eagles were prepared to offer the job to McAdoo, three independent sources said.

But the New York Giants swooped in once the Eagles’ interest was reported – an obvious pressure tactic by McAdoo’s camp – and promoted their offensive coordinator to head coach.

“Howie totally got left at the altar,” one source said.

Dave Zangaro cautions that just because the Pederson choice is unpopular doesn’t mean it won’t work.

Pederson isn’t exactly the sexiest choice. OK, who am I kidding? He’s a zero on the sexy scale; he’s the absence of sexy. He’s the Plain Jane of NFL coaches, a guy who used the word “gosh”unironically just a day ago.  

But by all accounts, he’s a pretty good coach, well-liked by his players, well-like by his fellow coaches. And he’s learned from some impressive people, including Don Shula, Mike Holmgren and former Eagles head coach Andy Reid.

If Eagles owner Jeff Lurie wanted to get back to the glory days under Reid, he’s taken a logical step by hiring someone Reid holds in high regard.


More reaction to the Eagles head coaching hire.