Unpopularity doesn't make Doug Pederson hiring bad


Unpopularity doesn't make Doug Pederson hiring bad

Back away from the ledge, Eagles fans.

It really might not be that bad.

Based on the mentions that came flooding into my Twitter account early Thursday evening in the wake of the big news breaking, it seems you guys aren’t too happy about your favorite team’s decision to hire Doug Pederson as the next head coach.

And I get it.

I really do.

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.

Remember, Reid thought enough of Pederson to bring him in as a player in 1999 to guide a young rookie named Donovan McNabb. He thought enough of Pederson to add him to the Eagles’ coaching staff in 2009 and eventually make him the quarterbacks coach. He thought enough of him to bring him to Kansas City, make him the offensive coordinator and hand over some of the play-calling duties.

And he thought enough of him to recently talk him up to Lurie.  

That still means something. And you better believe Lurie was listening.

“I have full trust in turning the whole game over to Doug and letting him call it,” Reid said in a release from the Eagles, sent Sunday when they interviewed Pederson. “It's something I enjoy doing, but I have trust in him doing it, and that's a comfortable feeling.”

I’m not saying Pederson will be a good head coach. I don’t know that.

All I’m saying is that no one really knows if he’ll be a good head coach or not. We won’t know for another couple years at the earliest.  

Sure, it’s a little concerning, the appearance that the Eagles were more interested in some other candidates and lost out. But their losing out on those candidates says more about the shortcoming of the team’s dysfunctional front office than it does of Pederson.

Adam Gase and Ben McAdoo emerged as two very sexy names. They’re two much younger coordinators (37 and 38, respectively) who had talk radio shows abuzz over the last couple weeks. But how do we know Gase or McAdoo will be more successful than Pederson?

We don’t.

They all have the exact same level of NFL head coaching experience. Pederson, 47, has logged 19 years in the league as a player and a coach. And he has been coaching in the NFL for seven years, the same amount of time Reid had coached in the league before the Eagles hired him. That worked out pretty well.

Another thing Pederson clearly has working against him in the eyes of Philadelphia public perception is 1999. That was the year he began the season as the Eagles’ starter and played the quarterback position about as badly as anyone ever has in an Eagles uniform.

That stink is tough to get out.

But it’s important to remember that Pederson wasn’t brought to Philadelphia in 1999 to be the team’s franchise quarterback. He was a stop-gap and a mentor to McNabb, who went on to be arguably the best QB in team history.

Really, though, even if Pederson had been a great quarterback for the Eagles, it shouldn’t matter. Either way, it wouldn’t mean he’d be a good or a bad head coach.

The Eagles can’t officially hire Pederson until the Chiefs are knocked out of the playoffs, which could come as early as this weekend. So if the news is hard to digest, you’ll have at least a few days before the official announcement.

But as soon as the Chiefs fall, Doug Pederson will be named as the next Eagles head coach. 

And it might not be that bad.

Roob's 10 mid-March Eagles observations

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Roob's 10 mid-March Eagles observations

We're deep into free agency, the draft is rapidly approaching and the 2017 Super Bowl champion Eagles are being reshaped into a new team.

Which means it's a perfect time for a Roob's 10 Observations.

1. As the Eagles move on from LeGarrette Blount and reshape the running back position, it’s intriguing to ponder just how good Corey Clement can be. From what I saw last year? I think the kid can be a stud. His touches were limited until late in the season, but how many rookies have had 300 rushing yards, 200 receiving yards and averaged at least 4.4 yards per carry and 13 yards per catch? Would you believe three in the last 40 years? A guy named Jesse Clark with the Packers in 1983, a guy named Adrian Peterson with the Vikings in 2007 and a guy named Corey Clement. It’s tough to project, but he can run, he can block, he can catch, he’s got a real flair for making big plays and a terrific knack in the red zone. Can’t wait to see him in an expanded role.

2. As for Blount, you can’t understate his value to the Eagles last year, both as a running back and a leader. For a guy with his resume to come into that locker room and not once complain about his workload – even when he had no carries against the Chiefs – was remarkable. His selfless attitude really resonated with the young guys in the locker room. And I know a lot of fans were upset to see him go, but as incredible as his Super Bowl performance was, you can’t forget that in the seven games leading up to the Super Bowl he averaged 2.9 yards per carry. And he’s 31 years old. If the reported numbers are correct, Blount’s $4.5 million 2018 salary makes him the 12th-highest-paid running back in the league. Good for him. I wish him well. He was a huge part of that 2017 team. But it made no sense for the Eagles to bring him back.

3. It’s amazing how much money teams keep throwing at Sam Bradford. He’s got 34 wins in eight seasons, he’s never had a winning record, he’s never made a postseason, and on the rare occasions when he’s been healthy, he’s won only 43 percent of his starts. Oh, and he’s missed 42 games since 2013. “He’s our guy!”

4. Speaks volumes that both Blount and Torrey Smith singled out Duce Staley in their tweets or Instagram posts saying goodbye to Philly after joining new teams. Staley wasn’t even Smith’s position coach, and he still singled him out. Blount wrote: “To my main man Coach Duce Staley – You have impacted my life on and off the field and pushed me to be the best version of me I can be and for that I thank you!” Staley is such a natural leader and such a big part of what the Eagles accomplished in 2017. He’s going to be a head coach one day.

5. The Eagles lost Vinny Curry, but they have Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett, Michael Bennett and Chris Long. They lost Trey Burton and Brent Celek, but they have Zach Ertz. They lost Smith, but they have Alshon Jeffery, Nelson Agholor and Mack Hollins. They lost Blount, but they have Jay Ajayi and Clement. They lost Patrick Robinson, but they have Sidney Jones, Jalen Mills, Rasul Douglas, Ronald Darby and Daryl Worley. They’ve lost a lot, but they’re still stocked at every position where they lost someone. Pretty darn good roster planning.

6. I feel like in the wake of Nick Foles’ brilliant postseason, people are forgetting exactly how good Carson Wentz was before he got hurt. So here’s a list of every quarterback in NFL history with 33 or more touchdown passes and seven or fewer interceptions in a season before his 30th birthday: Carson Wentz.

7. I wonder how much Haloti Ngata has left. He’s 34, he’s coming off a torn biceps, and he’s five years removed from his last Pro Bowl. Beau Allen was quietly a solid backup defensive tackle and played a big role in that D-line rotation the second half of the season after Tim Jernigan hurt his ankle. I don’t mind the signing. Ngata comes cheap and there’s really nothing to lose. But it’s been a while since he’s been a dominant player, so it’ll be interesting to see how he fits in.

8. If you’ve never been to Canton, Ohio, plan your trip now. The Pro Football Hall of Fame is a great place to visit any time. But the weekend of Brian Dawkins’ induction is going to be unforgettable. Dawk’s speech is going to be epic.

9. The Philly Special may be the greatest play in Eagles history, but where does the fourth-quarter fourth-down conversion rank? The Eagles trailed with 5½ minutes left and faced a 4th-and-1 inside midfield when Foles converted a short completion to Ertz. If they don’t convert, they lose. That’s gotta be a top-10 all-time play. Maybe top-five.

10. Tight ends with more catches than Ertz in their first five NFL seasons: Kellen Winslow Sr., Jimmy Graham, Jason Witten and Antonio Gates.

Torrey Smith says Carson Wentz is going to get PAID

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Torrey Smith says Carson Wentz is going to get PAID

We all know just how good Carson Wentz is. Heck, the entire NFL knows just how good Wentz is after the Eagles' QB put together a remarkable season with 3,296 passing yards and 33 TD tosses … in just 13 games.

But we and the entire league also know what that means: Wentz is going to get a lot more zeros added to his paycheck soon.

Wideout Torrey Smith, recently traded by the Eagles to the Panthers, knows full well what Wentz's worth is and isn't shy to talk about it, as he did at his charity basketball event in Maryland Saturday evening.

"When Carson's time comes, they're going to need a Brinks truck the size of this arena," Smith, who caught 33 balls for 692 yards and two TDs from Wentz last season, told ESPN's Jamison Hensley while noting the Eagles are taking full advantage of Wentz's discounted rookie deal right now.

Wentz is in the middle of a four-year, $26.6 million deal signed after he was drafted No. 2 overall in 2016. The deal expires after the 2019 season, but obviously, Howie Roseman and crew know this all is looming. And they also know recent QB contract numbers have continued to skyrocket.

San Francisco recently made Jimmy Garrapollo, he of seven career starts but also of five straight wins to end last season after his trade from New England, the richest QB in league history with a five-year, $137.5 million deal. Detroit gave Matthew Stafford a five-year, $135 million deal prior to last season, a few months after Oakland gave Derek Carr a five-year, $125 million extension. Those three are the top-paid QBs in the league.

Long story short: With the way Wentz has performed with 7,049 passing yards and 49 TDs in 29 career starts, he's going to get paid.

And Roseman's acts of salary cap magic are going to have to continue because Wentz is going to get paid sooner than later, and the whole league knows it.