Andy Reid

Doug Pederson doesn't want the power Andy Reid, Chip Kelly had

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Doug Pederson doesn't want the power Andy Reid, Chip Kelly had

It was Bill Parcells in the late-90s, relaying a message from a friend, who first coined the phrase that has become synonymous with coaches wanting more personnel power. 

You remember the line. 

"If they want you to cook the dinner," Parcells said, "at least they ought to let you shop for some of the groceries." 

It turns out, Doug Pederson is just fine being head chef at the NovaCare Complex. 

Just about a day before he and his team flew to Minnesota for the week of practices and obligations leading up to Super Bowl LII, Pederson was asked in a small media session if he'd ever want to gain more personnel control. Pederson thought about the question pretty briefly. 

"Right now, I kind of like the way it's going," he answered. "It's going to take you away from football. If you do more personnel, you can't coach football."

If there was ever a time for Pederson to ask for more power, it's now, fresh off a brilliant season that ended with the franchise's first-ever Super Bowl title. But there's something so simple about Pederson that just seems to work for him. He'll let Howie Roseman and the front office handle that other stuff. He's a football coach and he wants to coach football. 

Anything else would just get in the way of that. 

The Eagles, of course, have a history of muddling these waters. During Andy Reid's 14-year run in Philadelphia, he gained more and more personnel control. He basically became head coach and GM, which isn't all that uncommon in the NFL. Just look up a little North toward New England, where Bill Belichick runs the entire operation. But even Reid grew tired of all that power and when he went to Kansas City, he told his new owner he was looking forward to getting back to simply coaching. 

And then there was the Chip Kelly fiasco. Eagles owner Jeff Lurie has basically said that he gave Kelly personnel control because he thought it was the only way to maximize Kelly and it was the only way to place all the blame at his feet when it blew up. Of course, we're paraphrasing a little here, but that's basically what happened. And did it ever blow up. Kelly the personnel man was largely to blame for Kelly the coach getting fired. 

Which brings us to Pederson. It would have been laughable if a couple years ago Pederson had walked into the NovaCare Complex and told them he wanted any personnel control. Back then, he was a head coaching candidate whom the Eagles liked, but wasn't thought of very highly around the league. He had a thin resume and there had to be plenty of skeptics inside and outside of the building about his coaching ability. But now, those questions have been answered and it would no longer be laughable if Pederson marched up to Lurie and said he wanted to play a bigger role in the front office. 

It just doesn't seem like he wants that. 

"I wanted to coach football," Pederson said. "We hire professionals to do personnel, with our input, as coaches. I get that. The personnel department and Howie can make the final decision, and I get that, but not without having extensive conversations with us first." 

Those conversations are key. Because as much as Pederson doesn't have the power, he's still involved with the power. Roseman's personnel department has done a good job of keeping Pederson and his coaching staff (specifically Jim Schwartz) involved. The word "collaboration" is a favorite of Lurie's and for good reason. It really wouldn't make much sense for a front office to go out and get players the coaching staff didn't agree with. To keep Parcells' analogy going, the guy who buys the groceries better know what his chef's specialties are. If he's an Italian cook, maybe keep the soy sauce on the shelf. 

The working relationship between the front office, coaching staff and scouting staff is incredibly important for the future of the franchise. All three parts need to be on the same page and when they're not, they need to be able to dialogue about it. 

"Our communication is extremely good," Pederson said. "If he has something, he comes right down to my office, or vice-versa and I go down to his. It goes back to the players, if you're not communicating even with your personnel staff and staying abreast of everything, that's when things can kind of put a little chink in your armor, but it's been great so far."

Pederson is just entering Year 3 as the Eagles' head coach and that's enough for him right now. Will it be in another five years? There's not really a way to tell. Some of his mentors — Reid, Don Shula and Mike Holmgren — all ended up wading into the waters of personnel control. But for now, that doesn't seem to be Pederson's plan. 

He's happy just cooking the dinner. And he's pretty good at it too.

Brady's SB flaw, Pederson's staff, and more in Roob's observations

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Brady's SB flaw, Pederson's staff, and more in Roob's observations

A shocking lack of big Super Bowl plays by Tom Brady, Big V's resurgence, Doug's Pederson’s coaching staff vs. Andy Reid’s and one of the most mind-blowing Nick Foles stats you'll ever see.

It's all right here in Wednesday's edition of Roob's 10 random Eagles Super Bowl observations!

Only 11 more to go before kickoff!

1. The Eagles’ ability to virtually eliminate big plays by opposing offenses has been huge in their surge to the Super Bowl. The first four games of the season, the Eagles allowed eight plays of 35 yards or more. In 14 games since, they’ve allowed five, including just one in their last four games and none in the playoffs. They’re the only team in the playoffs that hasn’t allowed at least one 35-yard play. With the coverage the Eagles are getting from the corners and the pressure they’re getting up front, it’s just going to be very tough to put together a big play against this defense.  

2. Which brings us to this: Brady has thrown 309 passes in his seven Super Bowls, completing 207 of them, but he has only one career Super Bowl completion of 35 yards or more. That was a 52-yarder to Deion Branch against the Panthers in Super Bowl XXXVIII in Houston. His next-longest Super Bowl completion is a 33-yarder to Daniel Graham in the same game. And those are his only career Super Bowl completions of 30 yards. That's fascinating to me. Donovan McNabb in his one Super Bowl had more 35-yard completions (two) than Brady has in seven. Heck, Antwaan Randle El has just as many, and he was a wide receiver who threw one pass. Interesting. I don't know how many 75-yard drives you're going to manage against this Eagles defense without at least one chunk play. If the Patriots stay true to their Super Bowl history and Brady focuses on high-percentage, low-yardage plays, I think that's good news for the Eagles' defense.

3. If you re-watch the Vikings game again, keep an eye on Jalen Mills. We haven't talked about him much this week, but he was money Sunday night. He allowed just two completions for 15 yards — seven- and eight-yarders to Stefon Diggs in the second quarter. Other than that, he gave up nothing. This kid has come so far. Gotta root for a seventh-round pick who wasn't even supposed to make an NFL roster, who never backs down from any player or any situation.

4. Someone asked Malcolm Jenkins Wednesday who the most fun one or two guys on the team are, and Jenkins' answer was honest and moving and really sheds some light into just what makes this team tick: "There’s not one or two guys. Everybody by nature just enjoys being around here, enjoys each other, has a good time, and nobody’s asking them to change that. We understand that this season in the NFL is a grind and we put a lot of work in here, a lot of hours, so when we get the opportunity to play or spend time with each other outside this building, we’re going to have fun. We’re going to enjoy our time together. Because the fact of the matter is that at the end of the season, this team will never be the same. No team in the NFL will ever be the same. So in this finite moment that we have, we’re going to enjoy it.”

5. After his first couple games, a lot of fans out there decided Halapoulivaati Vaitai can't play. After the Raiders and Cowboys games, I got too many tweets to count suggesting that Nate Sudfeld should start against the Falcons because Foles was struggling so badly. Remember Patrick Robinson's summer? Fans wanted him cut before training camp was halfway over. Now all three are key guys on a Super Bowl team. I hope people remember this next time a guy is struggling: Players can and do get better. They grow more comfortable in the scheme. They improve their technique working with position coaches. Their confidence grows. They learn what it takes to be a pro. Sometimes something just clicks and you never know how long it's going to take. It's hard to be patient sometimes, but there are very few NFL players who are stars or even finished products right away. Just keep that in mind next time you're about to tweet to me that some rookie "CAN'T PLAY." Maybe not. But in a year or two? In a week or a month? He just may be starting on a Super Bowl team.

6. Which leads me to this: Vaitai played extremely well Sunday (see story). Did not allow a single pressure. Like Mills, another second-year pro who's come a remarkably long way. It was Big V's best game as pro.

7. We always talk about how important turnover ratio is, and it always is. But it’s magnified in the Super Bowl. The Eagles were able to beat the Falcons two weeks ago despite being minus-two, but that was the Falcons. In the Super Bowl, you're almost never going to get away with that. Consider this: Teams that are plus-one or better in turnover differential are 33-7 in Super Bowl history. Pretty strong odds.

8. Reid's original coaching staff included Jim Johnson, John Harbaugh, Brad Childress, Leslie Frazier, Pat Shurmur, Ron Rivera, Sean McDermott, Rod Dowhower, Juan Castillo and Steve Spagnuolo. And you can really make a case that Pederson's original coaching staff is every darn bit as good.

9. Somebody asked me this week how mad Carson Wentz must be that he's missing out on playing in a Super Bowl. But you know what? I don't think there's a jealous or envious bone in the dude's body. Knowing Wentz, I'll bet he's just happy for Foles and his other teammates. He's the ultimate team guy, and I'll bet he'll be just as happy if the Eagles win it without him as he would be if they won it with him.

10. Mind-blowing Foles Stat of the Day: Foles had four completions of 36 yards or more in the span of 11 passes spanning the second and third quarters Sunday. That's more than he had in his previous 361 pass attempts in parts of 17 games over three seasons for three teams (three).

History told Doug Pederson to not panic with Nick Foles

History told Doug Pederson to not panic with Nick Foles

When Nick Foles played a clunker of a game against the Raiders on Christmas Day, there were plenty of folks who doubted he would be able to lead the Eagles to a Super Bowl.

Doug Pederson wasn't one of them.

Maybe that's because Pederson knows him better than just about anybody else.

"Coach Pederson is the one who drafted me," Foles said after his ridiculous performance in the Eagles' 38-7 win in the NFC Championship Game. "He was the only coach who flew down to Texas and worked me out. I was only worked out by one team, and that was by Coach Pederson. Coach (Andy) Reid and the Philadelphia Eagles took a chance on me. To win this game for him and this organization is something very special."

After Pederson worked Foles out, the Eagles drafted him out of Arizona in the third round in 2012. He rose from third-stringer to backup to starter to Pro Bowler, got traded, got benched, got cut, thought about retiring, got re-signed, came back to Philly, became a backup, took over for Carson Wentz, and is now leading the Eagles into Super Bowl LII.

On Sunday night, after all that he's been through, Foles reminded Pederson where their relationship started. He reminded him that he was the only one to work him out privately leading up to the 2012 draft. He reminded Pederson he was the guy who took a chance on him.

"It goes a long way in his confidence and my confidence in him and understanding that dynamic," Pederson said.

It's hard to imagine the guy who completed 78 percent of his passes for 352 yards and three touchdowns was the same guy who had a passer rating of 48.2 over the last two weeks of the regular season. But Foles turned in an absolutely masterful performance against the Vikings (see story).

How did that happen?

Well, the Eagles had a bye week, which offered plenty of extra practice time. Thanks to a recommendation from the Eagles' players council, the Eagles put on the pads and had an intense practice during the bye week and again the next week. All those extra reps with the first-team offense, something he hadn't had before, helped Foles catch up.

"We needed time to work," Pederson said. "We needed time to get Nick kind of caught up. Again, going back to training camp, he missed a lot of training camp time. Reps with those guys during the regular season, Carson was taking all the snaps. It's just the way it is. So it's just a matter of him getting comfortable, playing the quarterback position, and being on the same page with our guys. So you've kind of slowly seen the progression of the success that he's had since that time. For us, internally, that's what it was about. Just getting time and being able to work together."

Foles said he knew his teammates never doubted him. He had played with several of his teammates before and even the ones who were new to him saw him look sharp in practice over the last couple of weeks.

When asked how he knew his teammates didn't have doubts, Foles said he just knew.

"When people doubt you, you can feel it," he said. "We're all human and I'm keeping it real. When someone doubts you, you know. These guys that I play with knew that I would eventually just keep working at it. They know me as a person and they know me as a player, and we just kept working."

No one knows him better than Pederson. No wonder he never had a doubt.