Lurie Defends Pederson from ‘Unqualified’ Charge
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - Eagles owner Jeffery Lurie defended his head coach in an impromptu press conference Thursday.
Former NFL general manager Mike Lombardi, an Ocean City native who is now an analyst at The Ringer, recently said Pederson may be the most unqualified coach hired in his 30-plus years in the profession.
"Now, everybody knows Pederson isn't a head coach," Lombardi said on a podcast. "He might be less qualified to coach a team than anyone I've ever seen in my 30-plus years in the NFL. ...Look, the Eagles looked increasingly sloppy and unprepared as the 2016 season limped along. That ain't changing in '17."
Lurie, like many, dismissed the criticism.
"First of all, those comments...You guys call it clickbait or hot takes," Lurie chuckled. "That's how I saw that."
Not surprisingly Lurie went on to defend Pederson from there.
"I have a strong endorsement of Doug," the owner said.
"Doug took over a team that had some locker room issues with the previous head coach, lost his starting quarterback 10 days [actually eight days] before the start of the season and was asked to use our third-string quarterback," Lurie explained. "Had to put together a coaching staff, and my personnel opinion of the coaching staff he put together is outstanding. Really outstanding. Quarterback analysis, locker room chemistry and the ability to put together a top-notch coaching staff, those are three real key ingredients. And I think he aced them all."
A separate NFL source told 973espn.com, Lombardi's cheap shot comes from a different place.
"Lombardi is good friends with Jim Schwartz," the insider claimed. "He's talking out of school and wants to make Jim look good in case the Eagles decide to make a change."
Much of the hand-wringing surrounding Pederson had to do with the fact he wasn't the Eagles first choice to replace Chip Kelly and had only seven years of NFL coaching experience before getting the big chair in Philadelphia.
"There are going to be growing pains with any head coach," Lurie said. "We had it with Andy (Reid), we had it with Chip (Kelly). No matter who it is. I see (Pederson) as someone who can keep improving."
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen