‘Back to the Future,’ Eagles Land Pederson
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - Kansas City offensive coordinator and Andy Reid disciple Doug Pederson will be the Eagles next head coach, landing the job after a tortured search which saw Philadelphia play footsie with Adam Gase, Ben McAdoo and perhaps Tom Coughlin.
The official announcement will have to wait until the end of the season for the Chiefs, who will face the New England Patriots in the divisional round of the playoffs Saturday.
Reports from El Paso, Texas also claim that the Eagles have hired Ken Flajole, who had been set to become the defensive coordinator at UTEP. Pederson and Flajole have a relationship dating back to when Pederson was the backup quarterback in Green Bay and Flajole was a defensive assistant with the Packers.
Gase, the Eagles' first interview in the process, took the 75-degree weather and favorable tax situation in Miami as Philadelphia dragged its feet, while the New York Giants elevated McAdoo from offensive coordinator when rumors swirled that the Eagles were preparing to proffer an offer.
(Listen to John McMullen discuss the Doug Pederson hire)
Then McAdoo's former boss in North Jersey, the 69-year-old Coughlin begged off Thursday when reports surfaced Philadelphia was moving forward with him, ostensibly because the veteran coach did not feel he could put together the staff he wanted.
With plans A, B and C gone awry, the Eagles went back to the comfortable old shoe in Pederson, who was originally brought to Philadelphia by Reid as the bridge and mentor for Donovan McNabb in '99.
Like Reid back then, 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.
"(Andy is) a great mentor of mine, obviously," Pederson told the Philadelphia Inquirer. "I worked for him there in Philadelphia so I understand that market, that climate, and that structure there."
The Eagles, meanwhile, imploded into an atmosphere of dysfunction as Reid’s successor, Chip Kelly, refused to play nicely with Howie Roseman. Jeffrey 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 this weekend having won 11 consecutive games, the longest streak in club history and longest active run in NFL.
Pederson was one of six candidates interviewed by the team’s search committee of Lurie, Roseman and Don Smolenski, joining in-house options Duce Staley and Pat Shurmur, as well as Gase, McAdoo and Coughlin.
“I think it’s great, man,” Reid said last 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.”
As a first-time head coach Pederson is wisely looking at experience with his coordinators.
Ex-Lions coach Jim Schwartz and former Cleveland boss Mike Pettine have been mentioned as potential defensive coordinators, while former Minnesota coach Brad Childress, who was a former Eagles offensive coordinator under Reid and the Chiefs' current spread-game analyst, as well as Shurmur could be in line for OC.
(Doug Pederson talks about the game vs New England and Eagles interview')
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973ESPN.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen