The Philadelphia Eagles are winning thanks to Doug Pederson

(Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
(Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /

As the rest of league struggles with instability, the Philadelphia Eagles are flying high with an 8-1 record, thanks to head coach Doug Pederson.

Going into the 2017 season, there were many doubts surrounding Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson, and rightfully so.

During his first season as an NFL head coach, Pederson did nothing to prove that he would be a good coach at this level, with the city of Philadelphia believing that Pederson was never the team’s first choice to be their head coach when they hired him in 2016 and that they ended up settling for a lesser Andy Reid clone.

And none of those doubts were laid to rest when Mike Lombardi came out and said one week prior to the season that Pederson was the least qualified coach in the entire league. Even after a 1-1 start to the season, many still questioned Doug’s ability; mainly due to his reluctance to call run plays against the Chiefs.

The narrative going into the season was going to be that Carson Wentz‘s level of development was going to directly determine Pederson’s success. If Wentz were to struggle, it would likely cost Pederson his job time, but if the second-year quarterback took the next step in his progression as a player, then Pederson would get the opportunity to see this thing out.

Now, sitting nine weeks into the NFL season the Eagles are 8-1. While Wentz’s emergence as a legitimate MVP candidate has been huge for the team, one can not discredit the Eagles’ head coach for the team’s success.

Ever since their loss to Kansas City in Week 2, the play calling has been completely different and a whole lot better. There has been both balance and unpredictability in Pederson’s playcalling, and he has really catered to his roster’s strengths.

Pederson has made adjustments on the fly; after seeing that abandoning the run and throwing too many screens was not going to work, he doubled down on the run and it’s propelled this offense to new heights.

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While play calling and situational football is a huge responsibility for a head coach, there are many other factors that can make a team and their coach successful.

Throughout the course of a football season, teams are going to face adversity and distractions. From injuries to off-the-field issues, adversity is almost unavoidable in pro football. In a year where so many teams have crumbled when adversity hits, the Eagles seem to be getting stronger with each bump in the road.

Just look at the 2015 Eagles team that pretty much quit on head coach Chip Kelly, eventually leading to his dismissal. After a tight loss to Miami and losing Sam Bradford to injury, that team more or less gave up and laid consecutive eggs in back-to-back weeks.

The 2017 Eagles have not made their journey unscathed. They have lost an abundance of players to injuries, and some of them have been very significant. Losing impact players like Jason Peters and Jordan Hicks can absolutely derail a season, but it looks like the Eagles have not missed a beat.

There have been games where the Eagles have missed vital players and still managed to become out on top. Just look no further than the team’s Week 9 win over the Denver Broncos, when Zach Ertz was ruled inactive. The Eagles offense was able to fill that void and have a huge day offensively, showing how they’ve continued to embrace their next man up mentality.

Simply put, this is a team that has avoided controversy.

In an NFL locker room with so many different personalities, it can be very difficult to get all of the players to come together for a shared cause, but Pederson has established himself as an emotional leader in the locker room and is a huge reason why this team’s energy is so high each week. This is a team that you can just tell really loves playing for each other and loves playing for Doug.

Looking back at the first 25 games of Pederson’s career as a head coach, and the returns are very positive.

Pederson, like any young player, has gone through his rough patches, but he didn’t let that adversity bring him down. The head coach and his quarterback have established a great relationship and they’ve worked together to scheming one of the league’s most complete offense. Where another team will live or die by their star players, this season’s Eagles squad truly encapsulates what it means to be a team.

Next: Wentz Weekly: Eagles quarterback shines against elite Broncos’ defense

The Eagles have given Pederson and Wentz an opportunity to grow and learn together, and it looks like that decision has been a good one. The apparent “least qualified head coach ever” headlines now look totally off-base, and the Eagles apparent consolation prize head coach has turned out to be the perfect fit for this Eagles team.