PHILADELPHIA ( — When it comes to sports Philadelphia can be a strange city, one that invents problems that really don't exist.

Take Eagles coach Doug Pederson, the steward of the NFL's best team at the midway point of the NFL season.

People are starting to recognize how good the Eagles are with Carson Wentz turning into a legitimate MVP candidate and many are speculating the road to Super Bowl LII will run through the City of Brotherly Love. One outcome that hasn't gotten much traction, however, is the realization that if the Eagles continue on at a similar pace in the second half of the season there is going to be some additional hardware delivered to the city, namely the league's Coach of the Year award for Pederson.

Yes the same guy who was described as “less qualified to coach a team than anyone I’ve ever seen” by former league executive Mike Lombardi has generally outsmarted the "qualified" people on a weekly basis.

Lombardi himself has turned into "The Fonz," admittedly a dated reference but one any television historian will quickly understand after reading Lombardi's latest take on the Eagles' coach:

"I think Carson Wentz is playing way better than I expected," Lombardi said on his "GM Street" podcast. "Now if you want to give Doug Pederson credit for that--go ahead. I think their defense under Jim Schwartz is doing a hell of a job. I'm not being stubborn about this, I just don't see it with Doug Pederson."

Lombardi, like the coolest cat in Milwaukee during those "Happy Days," also can never bring himself to admit he was wrong.

This Pederson paranoia goes far beyond Lombardi, however, and has infiltrated a fan base that has been indoctrinated to believe that Philadelphia settled for Pederson only after being turned down by Adam Gase and Ben McAdoo.

And that part of this story is true but that's where executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman should be breathing a sigh of relief when it comes to being lucky versus being good judging by what's going on in Miami and North Jersey right now.

Mix in some early press-conference flubs, which painted Pederson as the East Coast version of Jim Tomsula versus what Philadelphia was used to with the well-spoken Chip Kelly and you have the narrative, not a substantive one mind you but an easy one.

Last season's unexpected 3-0 start raised expectations and the rocky road to the finish line obscured the fact that Pederson actually overachieved in some very difficult circumstances -- namely the Sam Bradford trade eight days before the regular season that sped up Wentz's career arc, the Lane Johnson PED suspension, and a receiving corps that was probably the worst in football.

And then you have the part of this that many in Philly simply can't comprehend after watching Andy Reid and Kelly for so many years. Pederson was hired to be a traditional NFL coach asked to maximize the talent given to him by Roseman.

That's a stark contrast and one that differs greatly from what people are used to around here. But, as Kelly proved during his disastrous year in full control of the team's personnel, that's not necessarily a bad thing.

Roseman hired a coach in Kelly who did not respect him and ultimately staged a coup and sent the executive into exile. After regaining Jeffrey Lurie's ear blaming Roseman for not repeating that mistake seems specious as does the assumption that a first-time coach in his second season should be pushing for more personnel power.

"Quite honestly, I'm not looking at personnel around the league," Pederson said Friday when discussing the decision to bring in Jay Ajayi. "I'm focused in on obviously game planning and getting the team ready for each week, and this week in particular."

If you want to frame that as negative, have at it but at least include the context.

"Every team is in the same situation and every department, personnel department, is looking around the league to see if there's a player that can help you," the coach explained. "Like I said earlier in the week, somebody that, number one, fits your need, fits your role, fits your mentality as a team, all of that, you want to make sure it's the right fit. This is when the conversations began with Howie and I as it got a little bit closer on players."

In-season even the most powerful coaches, like Bill Belichick and Pete Carroll, delegate to others when it comes to personnel,

Here, it's Howie's job to get Pederson players that have the potential to excel in the current offensive and defensive schemes with sound and patient coaching.

"{Personne;] is not our role right now," Pederson admitted. "Our role is to get our team prepared. My role is to get our team prepared for Sunday. We're not looking like they're [Roseman and Joe Douglas] looking at personnel."

Portraying Pederson as weak or ineffectual because he neither has or strives for personnel control fails to learn from the mistakes that sunk Kelly in Philadelphia.

Long term the key to any good coach-GM relationship is trust, not who is in charge of the final 53.

-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for You can reach him at or on Twitter @JFMcMullen


More From 97.3 ESPN