Pederson Emerges as Eagles Likely Choice
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - The due diligence phase of the Philadelphia Eagles coaching search has ended with Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator and Andy Reid disciple Doug Pederson as the clear leader in the clubhouse.
The ex-Eagles quarterback, who was originally brought to Philadelphia by Reid as the bridge and mentor for Donovan McNabb in 1999, was one of six candidates interviewed by the team's search committee of Jeffrey Lurie, Howie Roseman and Don Smolenski, joining in-house options Duce Staley and Pat Shurmur, as well as now Miami head coach Adam Gase, Giants offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo and former Giants head coach Tom Coughlin.
(Is Doug Pederson the Eagles top choice? We discussed with Soren Petro of 810-AM in KC)
Nothing is imminent, however, as Lurie is currently in Houston, attending the NFL owners meeting in an effort to settle the Los Angeles relocation issue, and Pederson still has plenty of work to do in his current job as the Chiefs are preparing to visit New England in the divisional round of the playoffs this weekend.
Two different NFL sources confirmed to 973espn.com, however, that the Eagles are leaning heavily toward Pederson, which some have labeled as a "Back to the Future" move for Philadelphia's brass.
“I think it’s great, man,” Reid said on Sunday, the same day Pederson was meeting with the Eagles in Kansas City. “He has an opportunity, and it’s a compliment to the hard work that he’s put in, and he’s done a nice job. He’s ready to do that, and if he has the opportunity, more power to him.”
Like Reid back in '99, the now 47-year-old Pederson doesn't have a ton of experience as a coach and he wasn't on anyone else's head-coaching radar but he was regarded as a bright offensive mind as a player and is very well-regarded by Reid, who spent 14 mostly successful years with the Eagles until his shelf life expired.
Reid is having similar success in Kansas City, taking the Chiefs to the playoffs in two of his first three seasons there and winning his 11th career playoff game last Saturday, a 30-0 whitewashing of Houston that ended a 22-year playoff drought for the franchise.
The Eagles, on the other hand, imploded into an atmosphere of dysfunction as Reid's successor, Chip Kelly, refused to play nicely with Roseman.
Lurie, meanwhile, looked like a indecisive bride-to-be, who couldn't chose between two suitors, first choosing Kelly and then moving back to the more familiar Roseman in less than a calendar year.
In an effort to reboot back to a stable franchise, Lurie is now looking toward a branch off the tree that was so successful for him.
Pederson's first NFL coaching job was with Reid in Philadelphia as the Eagles' offensive quality control coach from 2009-10 before he was promoted to quarterbacks coach for the next two seasons.
When Reid relocated to the Show Me State in 2013 he took Pederson with him and elevated the former signal caller to offensive coordinator.
“I’ve been through it before — that’s what happens,” Reid said. “There’s only 32 (head coaches) in the whole world, so when you have an opportunity to do it, it’s kind of a compliment to your hard work and endurance."
Kansas City's offense was ranked just 27th overall in the NFL this season and 30th in passing. It was, however, very productive running the football (No. 6) despite playing most of the season without star running back Jamaal Charles, and the team finished ninth in points per game, indicating production in key moments.
The Chiefs will also arrive in Foxborough having won 11 consecutive games, the longest streak in club history and longest active run in NFL.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973ESPN.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen