Pederson Passes First Test
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) — Jenny Vrentas over at MMQB.com recently penned a great piece of the interview process coaches have to endure before being hired.
Some of it is the typical stuff you might expect, checking a candidate's references around the league, as well as his on-field resume and his demeanor in the actual interview.
Charley Casserly, the highly-regarded former Washington and Houston general manager who is currently on the NFL’s career development advisory panel, offered some very interesting insight to Vrentas. For instance, an offensive-minded coach who still wants to draw cards for Sunday's game is probably not ready to be the CEO of a team.
The longest part of nearly every NFL-coaching interview, though, is spent going over the candidate’s prospective staff and he is expected to provide a depth chart of potential assistants, along with an explanation of why they are right for the job.
No one will truly know if new Eagles coach Doug Pederson is ready to be an NFL coach until the real bullets start flying in September but he passed a big test Wednesday when the majority of his coaching staff was unveiled.
It was an impressive bunch, featuring two proven coordinators, the best of Chip Kelly's prior staff, and a few familiar names returning to the organization.
Because Pederson is an offensive-minded coach, his most important hire was the defensive leader and the first-year coach knocked it out of the park by luring highly-regarded defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz to town. The ex-head coach in Detroit seems rejuvenated after a year off and is known for cobbling together some of the best pass-rushing units in the league.
"He's one of the best two or three (defensive) coordinators in the game," a long-time NFL personnel executive told 973espn.com when talking about Schwartz. "(Fletcher) Cox is already good and watch him take off with Jim. They (the Eagles) have some talent up front and Jim will get the most out of it."
Pederson's picked former San Diego offensive coordinator Frank Reich to be his top lieutenant on the offensive side and Jim Kelly's ex-caddy will be responsible for doing much of the heavy-lifting during the week when it comes to game planning. Reich's work with Philip Rivers despite some really challenging circumstances due to injuries speaks for itself.
Before star receiver Keenan Allen's season-ending kidney injury, the Chargers owned the NFL's No. 1 offense through the first eight games of the 2015 season, averaging 423.3 yards per game.
The Kelly keepers on Pederson's staff were special teams coordinator Dave Fipp, along with running backs coach Duce Staley, offensive line mentor Jeff Stoutland, tight ends coach Justin Peelle, and defensive backs coach Cory Undlin. Also retained was offensive quality control assistant Press Taylor and special teams assistant Matthew Harper.
Coming from Kansas City with Pederson are Eugene Chung and Dino Vasso. Chung, who previously coached with the Eagles under Andy Reid as Howard Mudd's OL assistant, was brought in to help with the OL again, as well as the tight ends and the run game. Vasso, meanwhile, will be a defensive quality control coach and assist with the secondary.
Others newcomers include former Eagles Greg Lewis, who will coach the wide receivers, and Tim Hauck, who will assist Undlin with the defensive backs with a focus on the safeties.
Ken Flajole, a former defensive coordinator in St. Louis, will coach the linebackers and ex-Bears and Redskins defensive end Phillip Daniels got his first NFL coaching gig and will assist with the DL and also be a defensive quality control coach.
Pederson has yet to announce who his quarterbacks coach or defensive line coach will be, although former Browns offensive coordinator John DeFilippo is still expected to mentor the signal callers.
It's an impressive group and the headliners, specifically Schwartz, Reich and DeFilippo, shape up as a significant upgrade over Kelly's top three assistants, Bill Davis, Past Shurmur and Ryan Day.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973ESPN.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen