We’ve always known Doug Pederson is a naturally aggressive play caller.
Pederson is a laid-back guy off the field but as aggressive as any coach in NFL history on the field.
But where does that come from? How did such a chill dude become such a fearless play caller?
Pederson spoke Tuesday morning about how the way he was raised as a kid in Bellingham, Washington, defined his personality as a coach.
“Growing up with my parents, my dad has some military background, he was in the Air Force, and the way he led our household and raised us as kids … I don’t want to say it was strict but it was a rigid household growing up, so I think I got a little bit of that from my dad,” he said during an appearance with Angelo Cataldi and the 94 WIP Morning Show.
“His aggressive nature in the way he coached us and the way we raised us to stand on our own two feet.
“And listen, I was never really touted as a top athlete, quarterback, whatever, whether I was going into college or coming out of college, so for me there was a little bit of built-up underdog mentality. So for me, that’s where a little bit of this stems from.
“I made up my mind two years ago that really going into this opportunity being a head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles or wherever it might be that you only get one chance and one opportunity to do this so I want to make sure I do it right.”
The Eagles led the NFL with 17 fourth-down conversions last season, and in his two years coaching the Eagles they’ve attempted eight more fourth downs than any other team (53 to the Packers’ 45).
And that doesn’t even include the postseason, where the Eagles were 3-for-3 last year on fourth down, including two of the most celebrated conversions in Super Bowl history.
Including the regular season and postseason, the Eagles’ 20 total fourth-down conversions last year are second-most since the NFL began tracking fourth downs in 1991 (the Jaguars had 22 in 2007).
“It’s calculated,” Pederson said. “It’s not on a whim. It’s not just gut feel. For me, it was trusting my players, trusting my coaches. Out here on this grass, out here on this practice field, putting our players in those situations so when I make the decision during a game there’s no hesitation.
“So when you see Nick Foles come to the sideline and suggest 'Philly Philly,' there’s no hesitation. That’s the play. That’s the one we need. That’s the spark that’s going to help us win this football game, and that’s the collaboration process that we talk about a lot.”
And when a fourth-down attempt fails?
You don’t second-guess yourself. You just put it in the hands of the defense and move on.
“You can’t,” he said. “You don’t. You can’t second guess. You can’t go, ‘Oh man, did I make the right decision?' If you do that, yeah, you’re probably going to be a 50-50 type of team.
“Listen, these decisions are not just fly by the seat of my pants. These are calculated. I listen to some of the analytics, some of the numbers we talk about during the week, the different situation and scenarios that pop up in games.
“These are things that we study and these are things that I study during the week so I can prepare not only myself for the call but I can prepare the team for that situation.”