Eagles Wake-Up Call: Stepping From the Shadow
It was a clever line. Almost certainly practiced and prepared, but still, clever.
Doug Pederson must have known the Andy Reid questions would come early and often, so he stepped in front of reporters last week at his introductory press conference with a line sure to be quoted and used as a sound bite.
“This is not an Andy Reid football team and it’s not a Doug Pederson football team,” he said, “this is a Philadelphia Eagle football team.”
Pederson added that he’ll put his own “spin” on things by entering his personality into the mix, but the parallels between him and his mentor will surely surface. All seven of Pederson’s years as an NFL coach have been under Reid, and Reid was Pederson’s quarterbacks coach for two seasons.
Of course, Reid also played a significant role in getting his pupil his old position.
“It was one of many influences on the decision, but the detail of Andy’s analysis of Doug over the years and especially in the last few weeks was important, because it was so thorough,” Jeffrey Lurie said after introducing Pederson. “The experiences of Doug as a coach and how he deals with players was detailed. It was extremely valuable in terms of understanding the core of Doug Pederson.
“It’s something you can’t get from an interview, but somebody who has literally had probably 800 interviews with Doug every day on the field and classrooms and all that. It’s important.”
You know why Lurie would listen to Reid. Four consecutive NFC Championship games. A Super Bowl appearance. And at least one of his current players said the team should get back to that era.
Then there’s the Chip Kelly factor. Lurie repeatedly emphasized leadership when discussing what he would look for in the coaching search, and Pederson mentioned the “family first” philosophy he learned from Reid.
But you also know how that Super Bowl 11 years ago ended. You remember Reid’s final seasons in Philadelphia, and the Chiefs’ last drive against the Patriots reminded you why an Andy Reid clone isn’t ideal.
That’s the big question facing Pederson: which of Reid’s qualities will you apply in Philadelphia, and which will you leave behind in Kansas City?
“I think it’s always going to be a connection,” Pederson told a group of reporters after his press conference ended. “Listen, he’s been a great mentor of mine, and always will be. We’re always going to have that friendship, that bond. I played for him. There’s always going to be those comments; they’re going to be sometimes directed that way.
“But like I said earlier, this is not an Andy Reid team, this is not a Doug Pederson team. This is a Philadelphia Eagles team.”
WHAT YOU MISSED
“An incredibly talented guy, obviously.” Howie Roseman on Carson Wentz and Sam Bradford.
The Eagles and Brent Celek agreed to a three-year deal on Tuesday.
A mailbag on a potential offensive line fix, and the odd men out in Jim Schwartz‘s scheme.
A minivan, Mardi Gras, and Mobile, Alabama. Tim is live from the Senior Bowl.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Jimmy Kempski of Philly Voice writes that the Eagles have made signing Vinny Curry their top offseason priority.
This shouldn’t come as a big surprise, but Vinny Curry is the Eagles’ top immediate priority to get signed to a new contract among their free agent crop, per a source.
Curry’s chances of being wanted back by the Eagles went up considerably when Chip Kelly was fired, as the Eagles are certain to have a defensive scheme that will better suit Curry’s skill set in 2016 under Jim Schwartz. Curry is arguably the Eagles’ best pure pass rusher, and he needs to see the field more. The Eagles want to lock up Curry to a long-term deal before they have competition in March if Curry hits the open market.
Tommy Lawlor has some news and notes from the Senior Bowl over at Iggles Blitz.
A scout spoke to OL Joe Dahl on Monday as well. Dahl now has a second meeting with the Eagles. He thinks it is with the offensive staff. Dahl played LT at Washington State this year. He played OG in the past. I asked him if moving was an issue. He said he’s glad to play wherever an NFL team wants him. I watched Dahl prior to coming to Mobile. The thing that stood out to me was how he battled on every snap. He isn’t a gifted athlete, but he is a tough guy and he makes the most of his ability. Real interesting mid-round OG prospect.
What about Cody Whitehair, who some think could be a target at pick 13? The Eagles have a meeting set up with him on Wednesday. He mentioned coaches, but wasn’t sure of who exactly. Whitehair played LT at Kansas State in 2015, but is slated by most to move inside at the next level. Whitehair actually thinks he can play LT or OG. He’s confident, but not cocky. I enjoyed speaking with him.
Tim will have more from the Senior Bowl.