Football Team

Doug Pederson still studies Ron Rivera closely

Football Team

NFL coaching trees are vast and have multiple branches, especially when you consider Andy Reid's long list of assistant coaches that have received promotions across the league. 

Two of Reid's former pupils are set to face off in their first division bout Sunday in Week 1. The Eagles' Doug Pederson and newly anointed Washington head coach Ron Rivera. 

The two coaches go way back, 21 years if you want to be exact. Pederson was a backup quarterback on the Eagles in 1999 while Rivera served as Reid's linebackers coach. They've kept in touch over the years despite operating in different circles, but that hasn't stopped Pederson from keeping an eye on how Rivera operates. 

"[Rivera] is one of those coaches that I sort of look to and study and see how he's approached things with his team, whether I listen to a press conference or talk to him at league meetings, whatever it might be," Pederson said. "I have a lot of respect for him and what he's done. He's been an outstanding coach in this league, obviously taking a team to the Super Bowl, so he knows how to do it and he does it the right way. I've got a lot of respect for him."

Even though Pederson has already captured a Super Bowl title himself, something Rivera has yet to do and hopes to accomplish in Washington, it's telling how high the fifth-year head coach holds Rivera. 

In case Washington players had any other reason to buy what Rivera's selling, just look at how a Super Bowl champion coach is taking notes on what he does. 

 

Pederson and his Eagles team won't be the only thing Rivera has to worry about this week. Following his cancer diagnosis in late August, Rivera missed his first practice this week for treatment. Embarking on your first season with a new team is challenging enough, but undergoing cancer treatment at the same time is another level. 

Still, Pederson is confident in Rivera's ability to do what he has to to get back 100% healthy. 

"I know it's got to be tough on him to be able to lead the team, but I know he's going to do his best to continue to stay out in front, do what he needs to do to stay healthy and be back out on that sideline," he said. "Expect to see him Sunday and hopefully I get a chance to visit with him if possible and continue to pray for him and hope he recovers and heals 100 percent."