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.

Eagles Mailbag: Predicting several positions for 2019 team

Eagles Mailbag: Predicting several positions for 2019 team

I’ll be heading to the annual NFL Scouting Combine on Tuesday, so look forward to my coverage from Indianapolis. But until then, I put out a call for mailbag questions and you guys came through. 

We had so many that we split them into three parts. 

You can read Part 1 here

And Part 2 here. 

Now, let’s get to Part 3 today: 

RB1: Not on roster yet 

WR1: Alshon Jeffery 

QB2: Nate Sudfeld

I don’t know who the Eagles’ top running back will be, but I don’t think he’s on their roster right now. That means the Eagles will either sign a free agent or draft a running back — or very possibly both. If I had to guess, I’d say Tevin Coleman as a free agent and David Montgomery as a draft pick. 

Unless the Eagles trade for Antonio Brown (unlikely), Jeffery is going to be their top receiver in 2019. 

Some folks think the Eagles should get a veteran backup behind Carson Wentz, but I don’t think they’re going to. I think they’re going to offer Sudfeld a second-round tender and keep him on the team in 2019 as Wentz’s backup. He’s young, they like him and he’s been in the system. 

I’m guessing this question is because of something I have said plenty over the last few weeks: that the Eagles need a feature back. I wouldn’t bet on that being Clement. Could he develop into that one day? Perhaps. But I can’t go into a season expecting it, especially after his season ended with a serious knee injury. 

I did see enough of him as a rookie to think he can be a part of a rotation, but in Year 2, when he had a chance to take over, he was too banged up to do it. Haven’t seen enough from Clement to think he can be a No. 1. 

Nah, it’s not that great of a need. I’m not sure why so many national types keep mocking corners to the Eagles at 25. I guess it’s possible the Eagles could take a corner in the first round if that player is clearly the BPA, but there are more pressing needs. The Eagles still have Rasul Douglas, Jalen Mills, Avonte Maddox, Sidney Jones and Cre’Von LeBlanc under contract. My money is still on OL or DL in the first round. If a top CB fell to 25 and he was clearly (and I mean clearly) the best player available, then the Eagles could draft him. 

That’s a possibility. I’m not sure Johnson would develop into that true feature back, but as a change-of-pace guy, sure, especially if Darren Sproles retires or isn’t back with the Eagles in 2019. I think getting a guy like Johnson would allow the Eagles to then draft a running back to pair with him. Not sure if they’d sign Johnson and another decent running back in the free agent market. 

Johnson has never had more that 379 yards rushing in a season, but he’s a skilled receiver out of the backfield and the Eagles could certainly find a use for him. 

I like Humphries, but he’s a slot receiver and if Nelson Agholor is back in 2019, he should be in the slot. The Eagles need to bring in outside speed at receiver and the 5-11 Humphries doesn’t have exactly what they need. 

A list of some under-the-radar names I think are viable: RB Spencer Ware, WR Cordarrelle Patterson, S Blake Countess, S Terrence Brooks, DE Margus Hunt 

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Eagles release popular special teamer Chris Maragos

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Eagles release popular special teamer Chris Maragos

Chris Maragos, the popular special teams ace whose career has been derailed by a serious knee injury, was released Friday by the Eagles.

Maragos, 32, played in 47 of 48 games from 2014 through 2016, mainly on special teams but a significant amount at safety in 2015. But he suffered a career-threatening knee injury against the Panthers in Charlotte on Oct. 12, 2017, and hasn’t played since.

Maragos, who won a Super Bowl ring with the Seahawks in 2013 in addition to one with the Eagles in 2017, made all the road trips with the Eagles this past season even though he had no chance of playing simply because he was so respected in the locker room and such an effective leader.

“I’m really more of a coach and cheerleader these days than anything else,” he said with a smile before one game this past season.

Maragos went undrafted out of Wisconsin in 2010 and after a season with the 49ers played three years with the Seahawks before signing with the Eagles before the 2014 season.

He was signed through 2019 and will count $250,000 in dead money against the Eagles’ salary cap, which gives the Eagles a $2 million cap savings.

Maragos earned over $10 million in his career, including over $7 million from the Eagles, according to Spotrac. His career earnings high of $2.5 million came in 2016.

Maragos has had two knee operations since originally getting hurt against the Panthers, most recently this past fall. 

Even healthy, Maragos probably wouldn’t have fit in the Eagles’ plans this coming season.

Since re-signing Rodney McLeod to a contract restructure that lowered his 2019 cap figure from $.9 million to $4.84 million, the Eagles have safeties Malcolm Jenkins, McLeod and Tre’ Sullivan under contract, along with Avonte Maddox, who can play either safety or cornerback. 

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