How Doug Pederson could change NFL

USA Today Images

How Doug Pederson could change NFL

It wasn’t long ago when Doug Pederson was an afterthought in the league. People all over the country doubted him. 

Now he’s changing the NFL. 

After using his aggressive style and forward-thinking approach to take the Eagles to the Super Bowl and take down Tom Brady and the Patriots, the rest of the NFL isn’t doubting him anymore. Instead, they’re going to try to copy him. 

“What I do here, and listen, it happens every day, whoever wins the big game, they’re going to look at what made you successful,” Pederson said earlier this week at the NFL owners meetings. “We do that. We do that with New England. We do that with Atlanta. We do that with Green Bay. We do that with teams that make it there, so I know teams are studying our offense to try to figure out what we were doing, whether it was RPO or play-action pass and try to figure that kind of stuff out. 

“The only two guys that I know right now that want to maintain the aggressiveness are Frank Reich and John DeFilippo.”

That’s because he helped create them. 

While Pederson and a ton of other notable coaches in the NFL are branches from the Andy Reid coaching tree, Pederson is already starting to create a coaching tree of his own. Call it a sapling for now. 

Reich is now the head coach in Indianapolis. DeFilippo is the offensive coordinator in Minnesota and probably isn’t far from getting a team of his own. And back in Philly, Pederson is grooming coaches like Mike Groh and Press Taylor in the same way Reid once groomed him. 

Coming off two years as the Eagles’ offensive coordinator under Pederson, Reich was asked this week what lessons he learned from his former boss. 

“As a play-caller, really continuing to put it on the players,” Reich said. “That’s what this game is about. Everyone knows how aggressive we were on fourth down, in situational football, having no fear, taking your shots down the field. I think those are some of the key things. 

“And then just being around Doug as a leader. These are things I always knew about him and things you always hope you see in your own game, so to speak. Just the consistency of his leadership. I just think Doug’s top notch in every way, as a leader, as a play-caller, offensively. I just think he’s the best."

Of course, not all of Pederson’s aggressiveness comes from intuition. A lot of it is based on analytics. The Eagles have been open to the use of analytics for many years and owner Jeff Lurie pushed hard to make sure the next coach was open to them too. 

Pederson took things a step further, by having analytics voices in his ear during games. While the mathematics isn’t the final decision-maker, Pederson clearly listened to what the numbers tell him. He said he wants to have every bit of information he can before making a decision to go for it on fourth down or in a certain situation. 

There are at least a couple coaches in the league we know will copy that aggressiveness. 

“There’s no question there was a byproduct of working in Philly and seeing how sometimes conventional football wisdom can sometimes be challenged and it needs to be updated in ways,” Reich said. “And seeing how that played out in Philly in two years is certainly something I learned in the last two years."

Between the use of analytics and Pederson’s sometimes unconventional aggressiveness, he’s created his own style. And it’s going to be emulated.

The Giants are in disarray (so are the Redskins and Cowboys)

USA Today Images

The Giants are in disarray (so are the Redskins and Cowboys)

While we await confirmation Nick Foles will become an unrestricted free agent (more on that here and here), let’s check in with the rest of the NFC East. Good news, Eagles fans — the club may not get anything in return for their Super Bowl-winning quarterback, but their offseason is still off to a better start than their division rivals’.

The Giants are a mess

The headlines have not been kind to the organization over the past week. Odell Beckham Jr.? Possibly on the move. Landon Collins? As good as gone. And the Giants still don’t know what they’re doing about a quarterback for 2019.

The mere possibility the Giants could trade their best player and one of the top receivers in the NFL should be concerning to any QB who might take the job. Beckham was reportedly on the block last season too, and the organization ultimately decided not to pull the trigger, yet league insider Jay Glazer boldly predicted a swap is coming this offseason. The key word there is predicts, not reports, but Glazer is connected and wouldn’t throw that out there on a whim.

While Beckham’s fate is unclear, Collins seems certain his time in New York is over. The three-time Pro Bowl selection cleaned out his locker on Wednesday, then took to social media so there was no mistaking how the action relates to his impending free agency.

The Giants appear poised to get weaker on defense, perhaps on both sides of the ball, yet ideally would find a signal caller to replace Eli Manning. Sounds like their front office has a great sales pitch!

But Colin Cowherd says Ciara wants to live in New York, so I’m sure the Seahawks plan on shipping Russell Wilson — a top-10 franchise quarterback — over to the Giants any day now.

Washington, also a mess

Similar to the Giants, Washington needs a quarterback and may lose a key cog on defense.

It was no secret Alex Smith would miss 2019 with an injury, and general manager Doug Williams more or less confirmed the club is searching for a solution. I believe Washington has a better team, more aggressive management and thus is a more likely landing spot for Foles than New York, so this a situation to monitor in free agency. For now, the offense is in a bind.

Washington is not expected to use the franchise tag on Preston Smith, either. The 26-year-old outside linebacker is headed toward free agency with 24.5 sacks in four NFL seasons.

The Cowboys are a mess, too

Jason Garrett is officially a lame-duck head coach in the final year of his contract. Nobody knows who will be calling the plays for the Cowboys offense in 2019 — Garrett or new offensive coordinator Kellen Moore, who was the team’s backup quarterback less than two years ago — but the staff in place led the best players in the conference to seven points in the Pro Bowl in January. What could possibly go wrong?

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Eagles

Would Giants really let Landon Collins become a free agent?

USA Today Images

Would Giants really let Landon Collins become a free agent?

Landon Collins is arguably the Giants’ best defensive player and he’s just 25 years old. 

So would the Giants really let him walk? 

It would be hard to believe, but apparently, this happened today: 

After that tweet, Paul Schwartz from the New York Post reported Collins had, in fact, not cleaned out his locker. 

Well, who would know if Collins cleaned out his locker today? Collins might have an idea. 

It certainly seems like the situation between player and team has reached a boiling point of sorts. 

A few days ago, I wrote the Giants simply couldn’t afford to let Collins walk, so if they couldn’t reach a long-term deal, they would need to slap a franchise tag on him. And it seems very possible the source of this contention could be over the chance the Giants slap a franchise tag on Collins. 

Here’s what NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo had to say about the situation: 

That all seems to make sense. According to other recent reports before today, there wasn’t much movement between Collins and the Giants on contract talks. Collins has made it clear he doesn’t want to be franchise tagged, which could set up a situation where the Giants tag him (the safety tag will be about $12 million in 2019) and there’s a standoff. 

Collins has been named to the Pro Bowl in each of the last three seasons and was an All-Pro in 2016. 

I still think the Giants really can’t afford to let Collins leave. He’s too good and too young and they’d miss him too much. In my list of the top pending free agents from the division, I ranked Collins behind just DeMarcus Lawrence and Nick Foles (see story)

If Collins does end up as a free agent, that’s great news for the Eagles because while they probably wouldn’t be in the market for his services, at least he’d likely be leaving the division. 

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Eagles