Missanelli: In Doug We Trust?
Doug Pederson and Jeffrey Lurie were fashionably late to the press conference that would announce Pederson as the latest “Eagle fixer.” After hearing Pederson speak, I imagined that backstage he had been kicking a screaming and saying things like, “Please Jeff, don’t let me face that smelly mob!”
Pederson didn’t slay the presser. He appeared nervous, he talked in clichés and he unfurled a terribly panicky response to a question about his time management in last week’s Kansas City Chiefs playoff game, where they lost to the New England Patriots. The Chiefs were slow on their attack because they “didn’t want to give the ball back to Tom Brady?” Uh, Skip, you were down 14 points. Seems to me that you want to score as quickly as possible, and preserve more time on the clock for perhaps another offensive series that could get a touchdown to tie the game. But that’s just me.
Lurie said he had identified 25 candidates (he and his posse of selectors, which apparently included Bill Polian and Ron Jaworski; Jaworski said there were only 22 candidates, which means perhaps that Lurie rounded up to make himself look better). How Pederson emerged as the best of 25 candidates is a mystery to me, considering that just a few years ago, he was coaching Calvary Baptist High in Louisiana.
Now, a bland press conference doesn’t mean one can’t be a coach in the NFL. Pederson has been busy assembling an experienced staff, led by defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, which is a very savvy hire. I’m not so sure about Frank Reich as offensive coordinator, but Pederson announced at his press conference that he, Pederson, will be calling the offensive plays. So Reich probably won’t have much impact – much like Pat Shurmur didn’t under Chip Kelly.
But it is clear to me that Pederson is the coach of the Eagles because he was safe. Andy Reid liked him and promoted him, and Lurie, embarrassed by the Chip Kelly fiasco, obviously wanted to re-connect to the solid Reid days. Hopefully, that works out. (Note to self: Get psychiatric help for your absolute loathing of Lurie and anything he says publicly.)
Is success for the Eagles under Pederson a long-term plan? In other words, will the Birds try to start all over by letting Sam Bradford walk and start either Mark Sanchez, or someone they may draft with their 13th pick in the upcoming NFL draft, like maybe Carson Wentz of FCS champs North Dakota State? In this division, I think that would be foolhardy.
I say keep Bradford, pay him the going rate of about $18 million a year in a multi-year contract, and bite the bullet. I think with Bradford, the Eagles would be good enough to contend in a very weak NFC East Division with perhaps a 9-7 record. And then you keep adding to that. In retrospect, isn’t that what we would have taken with Kelly, before he started unloading good players?
Or is it that I just don’t trust Doug Pederson, apparently the best man on Lurie’s list of 25, to re-build this whole thing.