It wasn’t that long ago when Doug Pederson was a rookie head coach with a young quarterback so he remembers what it was like.
That gives him a unique perspective as he watches from afar as Nick Sirianni and Jalen Hurts go through their first season together.
Pederson, on the latest Takeoff with John Clark podcast, said he wants just one thing for both of them: The opportunity to grow.
“It’s like it was yesterday that I was going through that in 16 and 17,” Pederson said. “Some of it’s unfair. You gotta give [Sirianni] … and I don’t know him personally, just from a professional standpoint obviously, but just like players. Give him and opportunity to grow. Give him the opportunity to sink their feet and their teeth into the ground in Philadelphia and watch them blossom and grow.
“I think sometimes they get the added pressure put on them through the media or through the fans that can really affect guys. You have to be a strong-minded, strong-willed person to be able to handle the Philly media and the fans. I’ll tell you this: There’s no great place to be when you win in Philadelphia.”
Pederson was the Eagles’ first-year head coach back in 2016 and he had a rookie quarterback in Carson Wentz. They went through their ups and downs that first season together but in Year 2 was a Super Bowl.
It’s probably unfair to expect that result for the Eagles in 2022, but Pederson does see some similarities. And even though Hurts is technically a second-year quarterback, Pederson still considers him a rookie.
Speaking with Clark, Pederson thought back to his first season as Eagles head coach.
“We knew we had a rookie quarterback going in,” Pederson said. “There were going to be some times when it’s not going to look pretty and yet we’re trying to build something here. This is Coach Sirianni’s first year. He’s trying to build something there and he’s trying to build it around Jalen.
“Well, you know what, I know in this league we don’t give people time, whether it’s a coach or a player. We just don’t give enough time sometimes to develop. I think Jalen is one of those guys where if you watch him grow and let him develop, I think some great things can happen.”
Pederson said he’s been impressed by what he’s seen from Hurts this season but still allowed that, yes, Hurts still needs to improve as a passer. But Pederson thinks a lot of that will come through experience and he doesn’t doubt that Hurts has a growth mindset.
Back when the Eagles hired Sirianni, Pederson said he reached out to his successor to wish him well and tell him he’d be there if Sirianni ever needed anything. But Pederson understands that Sirianni has to find his own way.
In the 40+ minute podcast with Clark, Pederson talked about his life since getting fired by the Eagles, watching the team from afar and his hope to get back into coaching next season.