Doug Pederson

Rating Doug Pederson’s Zoom background

Rating Doug Pederson’s Zoom background

Doug Pederson had plenty of interesting things to say during his 25-minute media session with reporters on Tuesday. 

But let’s not allow that to take away from the star of the show: Pederson’s Zoom background. 

While some of the other items from the background are cool, the star of the show were his two replica Lombardi Trophies. One came from Super Bowl LII, which he won as a head coach with the Eagles. The other is from Super Bowl XXXI as a player with the Packers. 

You never know when you gotta pull those out from time to time just to remind people what we’ve accomplished in Philadelphia and places I’ve been,” Pederson said on the WIP Morning Show Wednesday. “They’re all in the past and we’re moving forward and hopefully we can get us another one.

That might not be a bad reminder for his players, especially his young ones, when Pederson addresses the team. 

Aside from the Lombardi Trophies, there were plenty of other items to enjoy in his background too. Pederson gave credit to his wife Jeannie for doing a lot of the work.  

“I can’t hide anything from you, man,” he said. “My wife did a lot of the interior design. Some of my trophies and game balls I’ve had over my career as a player and as a coach. We just set those up. I had them up for the draft and just decided to keep everything the way it is.”

Also visible in his shot were some mini helmets, a few game balls, an autographed banner, a giant paperweight (?) with “Philly Philly” and, my personal favorite, a sign that reads, “ANY MAN CAN BE A FATHER IT TAKES SOMEONE SPECIAL TO BE A DAD” 

Perhaps the only downside of Pederson’s Zoom situation was the backlighting from the window. It sometimes made him look like a divine being. 

In the last few months, seeing into people’s homes has become commonplace. Everyone on Zoom calls or FaceTime has been strategically figuring out what they want to present to those watching. I talked with Shaun Bradley before he was drafted about conducting Zoom calls with NFL teams; he made sure to set up a Temple helmet at some game books. 

There’s a popular Twitter handle, @ratemyskyperoom, that has been rating home backgrounds. They haven’t given Pederson a rating yet, so I figured I’d give it a go: 

Backlight isn’t great. And Pederson has authored an autobiography that should probably be prominently featured. But the combination of memorabilia and perfect framing as the meat in a Lombardi sandwich is tremendous — 8/10. 

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Doug Pederson says Jalen Hurts not ready to be Carson Wentz’s backup

Doug Pederson says Jalen Hurts not ready to be Carson Wentz’s backup

So much for competition for the No. 2 quarterback spot. 

Doug Pederson said Nate Sudfeld already has the job.

“I fully expect Nate to come in and be aggressive and do the things that he's capable of doing and become the backup to Carson,” Pederson said Tuesday. 

That means Jalen Hurts, the 53rd pick in this year’s draft, will start the season as the Eagles' No. 3 quarterback.

Which is how Sudfeld finished last season.

When last year began, Sudfeld was No. 2, but when he broke his wrist in the summer, the Eagles signed Josh McCown. And even when Sudfeld was healthy, McCown remained No. 2 and wound up playing most of the playoff loss to Seattle.

McCown is no longer around, and the Eagles’ quarterback room includes Wentz, Sudfeld, Hurts and former Giants 4th-round pick Kyle Lauletta.

Sudfeld is going into his fifth NFL season and fourth with the Eagles, so even though he’s played sparingly - and never taken a meaningful snap - it makes sense that he’d be ahead of Hurts.

Especially during an offseason with no OTAs.

Pederson compared this offseason to 2011, when the lockout wiped out all offseason workouts and limited the amount young players were able to learn and prepare for the season.

Seeing this pandemic and thinking back to when we came out of the lockout year, I think early on in this season, football teams are going to have to rely on their veteran players, and Nate is one of those guys for us,” Pederson said. “He's been on our roster the last couple of seasons and he knows exactly what we are doing. I have a ton of confidence in Nate to become the backup quarterback. Nothing is ever handed to anybody I always try to create competition at every position, and quarterback, as you guys know, is not exempt from that.

Sudfeld has completed 21 of 25 career passes for 80 percent, which makes him the most accurate quarterback in NFL History with a minimum of 25 attempts for those of you who care about meaningless stats.

His 106.0 career passer rating is 3rd-highest in NFL history among QBs who’ve thrown 25 passes, behind Craig Nall (123.8) and Pat Mahomes (108.9).

Sudfeld’s only career TD pass was a 22-yarder to Nelson Agholor at Washington on the final day of the 2018 season.

Hurts, who started his college career at Alabama and finished at Oklahoma, finished second in last year’s Heisman Trophy balloting, behind only LSU quarterback Joe Burrow.

Jalen is just learning and picking up our system, and he’s another one, another young player that we drafted who, there's a lot to learn,” Pederson said. “So are we going to take it a little bit slower maybe with him until he grasps the offense? You might have to. What I like about it is always the unknown, and the unknown is how well a guy I think can progress. And then once we get him on the grass, put him through drills, put him through practices, then we see exactly what these guys are all about. Right now, Jalen is doing an outstanding job of picking up the offense, spitting it back to [quarterbacks coach] Press [Taylor] and understanding what we are trying to get done.

Sudfeld, 26, is on a one-year contract and has expressed a desire to compete for a starting job after this season, which won’t happen here.

So Hurts in 2021 will be expected to be No. 2. 

But for now he’ll be the world’s most famous third-stringer, trying to make an impact as a gadget player as he learns an offense the Eagles hope he doesn’t have to run for a long time.

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How much will the Eagles’ offense really change in 2020?

How much will the Eagles’ offense really change in 2020?

If Doug Pederson wanted to make his point any clearer, he could have simply reached behind him and brought forward one of the two life-size replica Lombardi Trophies sparkling in his Zoom background. 

After all, it was his offense that a couple years ago scored 41 points to win the first Super Bowl in Eagles history. 

But make no mistake: Changes are coming to the Eagles’ offense this offseason, even if Pederson downplayed how drastic they’ll be. 

I don't think, from the naked eye, you're going to see a ton of different concepts, different ideas, different things from the naked eye,” Pederson said on a Zoom call with reporters on Tuesday. “What you're going to see from our standpoint is subtleties within what we do as an offense: protections, the play action game, screens, even the run game. But those are all things that we're going to work on in training camp. 

“But I think overall, you are not going to see big, wholesale changes. We didn't overhaul the entire offense, and keep in mind, this offense won a World Championship a couple seasons ago, so we are just finding ways to make it better at this time.

Something tells me Pederson is slightly understating how different the offense will be in 2020. Maybe it’s to maintain a competitive advantage; maybe it’s out of pride because he’s the leader of the offense that need changing. 

But why would the Eagles go through the trouble of revamping the coaching staff and adding a bunch of speed to the roster if the offense wasn’t going to change enough to notice it with the naked eye? 

At least a discerning eye ought to be able to see changes, right? 

The fact is that Pederson is an offensive head coach in an offensive league and the Eagles’ offense hasn’t been good enough. Pederson brought up the Super Bowl season, but that year the Eagles averaged 28.6 points per game, good for third in the NFL. In his three other seasons at the helm, that average dips to 23.3 and they haven’t been in the top 10 in any other year. 

Last season, the Eagles were 12th in the NFL in scoring and 14th in yards per game. When they lost DeSean Jackson the offense become plodding. Other times it was predictable. Other times it was just flat-out not good enough. 

That led to the following changes after the 2019 season ended: 

• Former offensive coordinator Mike Groh was fired
• Press Taylor was promoted to pass game coordinator
• Rich Scangarello was hired as senior offensive assistant
• Andrew Breiner was hired as pass game analyst 
• Marty Mornhinweg was hired as senior offensive consultant
• Aaron Moorehead was hired to replace Carson Walch as WRs coach

Again, why make those changes if the offense won’t change at least somewhat significantly? Sure, Pederson is still in charge but these guys should have influence too. 

The most noteworthy addition to the coaching staff was the hire of Scangarello, a Kyle Shanahan disciple who spent last season as the Broncos’ offensive coordinator. While Scangarello was hired to do many things, the main reason he was brought aboard was to help Carson Wentz excel in an area where he has already been very good: Quarterback movement. 

Even in an unusual offseason, the good news is that this process is already underway. 

Before we were able to break and before we had to shut our building down, as the offensive and defensive staff, we were able to meet quite a bit, even with the new coaches and get a sense, get a feel for offensively with Rich and Aaron in particular,” Pederson said. 

“And really now, during these virtual meetings, you see the dialogue that, say, Carson and Rich have, Rich and Press have, myself, Rich and Press have from a passing game side. Even Andrew who is new to the staff and seeing his input.

The relationship between Wentz and Scangarello will be an extremely important one if the Eagles are going to maximize that hire for the reason they brought him in. Think about it: Wentz is 27, he has been a Pro Bowler and has signed a $100 million contract. Now, he has a new coach coming in and trying to work with him without a preexisting relationship and without the two even able to meet in the same room. 

If those two work well together, we could see an improved offense in 2020. 

“To see the conversations evolve and how detailed the conversations are and what Rich has been able to bring to us as a staff,” Pederson said, “and what he has been able to bring to the players.”

Maybe we’ll all be able to see those changes in September, even with the naked eye. 

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