Criticism of Pederson is Unfair
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - Talk about a tough crowd.
Before he's even piloted one NFL game, first-year Eagles mentor Doug Pederson has been labeled as the worst head coach in professional football by NFL Media's Elliott Harrison.
Of course Harrison's coaching power rankings are a ludicrous and fruitless exercise, something the writer himself admits with his explanation for putting Pederson at No. 32 on his list.
"This isn’t fair," Harrison writes. "Pederson hasn’t so much as coached one game yet. But yeah, he offers no NFL head-coaching experience, like some other guys at the bottom of this list.
"Pederson got off to a rather inauspicious start with the Sam Bradford Start-gate. Of course, you can blame Pederson’s assistants for the confusion regarding whether Bradford is the clear No. 1 or will have to compete for the top job. It does get more confusing, however, when the organization signs Pederson’s guy, Chase Daniel, to big-time backup money."
Sounds like Harrison has more of a problem with how Howie Roseman went about putting together the QB depth chart but even that is specious because it's not like the Eagles executive VP of football operations knew he would be able to climb in the draft and select Carson Wentz, the crux of all the issues with Bradford.
"It should be mentioned here that the front office put Pederson in a difficult position by moving up to draft Carson Wentz, given the two quarterbacks signed this offseason (one apparently told he was the starter, the other a favorite of the coach)," Harrison admitted. "We’ll see how it goes."
Rankings are an easy way to generate clicks in a competitive online environment but the more logical way to go about this would have been to give all the first-time head coaches incompletes and move on from there.
Instead the back end of the NFL.com rankings include not just Pederson but first-timers like Adam Gase, Dirk Koetter and Ben McAdoo. So, perhaps the most damning criticism of the Eagles' coach is the belief he doesn't have the upside of some pretty pedestrian names.
Tennessee's Mike Mularkey at No. 31 is rated as the worst coach with experience while ex-Eagles coach Chip Kelly comes in at No. 20 as he gets ready to take over the San Francisco 49ers.
In truth the offseason here in Philadelphia has been a breath of fresh air for the organization and a lot of that is due to the steady hand of Pederson, who handled the Bradford acrimony beautifully and has also traversed the Nelson Agholor allegations as deftly as anyone could under such circumstances.
Furthermore, he's also earned the respect of the veteran leaders on this team and cobbled together a very strong coaching staff which dwarfs the one that just exited with Kelly.
None of that is any guarantee that Pederson will excel when the Xs and Os really matter but it is a clear indication to not get all that upset over one man's opinion from 3,000 miles away.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @JFMcMullen.