~By Tim Fernando~
So Eagles fans worldwide can now exhale.
The Eagles announced that Kansas City Offensive Co-Ordinator Doug Pederson is officially the new Head Coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, in a press conference Tuesday at the NovaCare Complex.
Alongside Doug Pederson stood Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie, who endorsed the former Eagles QB as ‘the right guy for the job’ highlighting Pederson’ smarts and ability to feel comfortable in his own skin.
In between all the cliché-scripted responses both Lurie and Pederson had their good and bad moments, below are some of the key takeaways from the unveiling of Doug Pederson.
1. Sam Bradford
Both Doug Pederson and Jeffrey Lurie addressed Sam Bradford on Tuesday, Pederson spoke highly of the Eagles quarterback, telling the media that Bradford is the perfect QB for his ‘west-coastish’ system and has all the tools. Pederson then went onto say ‘we wan’t to give the keys of the offence to the QB’ highlighting that Alex Smith had a lot to do with the success Kansas City had this season in the QB friendly offence. All in all a quality QB, a top notch QB.
Jeffrey Lurie took a totally different approach when asked about Bradford, stating that ‘Sam did some really nice things this year’ but at the end of the day it is up to our ‘personnel department’ on whether we get Sam back in the building. The one thing that struck me though was Lurie refused to comment on whether Bradford was a franchise Quarterback?
You have the coach full of praise for the teams most important piece and the owner seemingly sitting on the fence about retaining Sam Bradford for the new season.
2. Doug Pederson
I was personally left reasonably happy with how Doug Pederson held himself and addressed the media’s questions, from what I saw Pederson is a very honest person, something of which every Eagles fan struggled to say about former coach Chip Kelly. When asked about control of the roster, Pederson stated that it will be a ‘collaborative effort’ and that he has to go through the evaluation process before any decisions are made.
One thing that stood out to me was Doug Pederson will call the plays on the offensive side of the ball. Pederson revealed that he was calling the plays for the Chiefs final two quarters every game since playing Pittsburgh in week 7. Pederson then went on to hold himself accountable for the final drive the Chiefs had in their loss to the Patriots over the weekend.
Personally I think that there is a hint of taking the blame for mentor and friend Andy Reid in Pederson’ response but I guess we have to take his word for it.
3. The Fans
This is the most interesting one, as per usual when talking anything Philadelphia Eagles related. My feel from Eagles fans is one of uncertainty, many Eagles fans I have spoken with and seen express the lack of experience Pederson has had prior to being named a head coach worrying.
One quote that comes up a lot is ‘this guy ran an offence that couldn’t even get a receiver in the endzone two years ago’ and one thing I counter with that is look at the form of Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce? And if he can be apart of Kelce’s success there is potential to work with an even more talented tight end in Zach Ertz.
In saying that, I struggle to say any Eagles fan is overwhelmingly happy with the signing of Pederson, many are content with giving him a chance but many would have preferred a household name such as Gruden, Jackson or Coughlin.
4. Jim Schwartz
Love it, Love it, Love it, LOVE IT.
This was my highlight of the whole coaching search, Jim Schwartz former Detroit Lions head coach and former Bills Defensive Co-Ordinator has signed on as the Eagles Defensive Co-Ordinator for the 2016 season. This will probably mean the Eagles go back to a 4-3 defensive scheme which I personally think this defence is built for.
The Bills in 2014 were a top 5 defence, leading the league in sacks with one of the most disruptive defensive lines in the NFL.
Fletcher Cox, Vinny Curry and Kiko Alonso will all benefit from the shift to 4-3 and I think that this was one move the Eagles got correct when looking for personnel.
5. Jeffrey Lurie
My final takeaway was from the great Jeffrey Lurie, the main point Lurie tried to get across in the presser was ‘accountability’ everyone must be held accountable. It’s an intriguing statement because if Doug Pederson doesn’t work out who holds Jeffrey Lurie accountable? Firing a coach with a winning record to then hire a coach with only 8 years experience in the league certainly is a bold move.
One thing Lurie made clear was of the 25 candidates, that was then cut down to 10 through extensive detailed research, Doug Pederson in the end was an easy choice.
Hue Jackson, Adam Gase, Tom Coughlin, Ben McAdoo the list goes on of more experienced and highly respected coaches around the league but Doug Pederson is unanimously voted the ‘guy’ for the Philadelphia Eagles.
I hope Jeffrey Lurie is right, I really do — because he and all the other Eagles fans have one thing in common and that is bringing success to this fantastic organization.