Philadelphia Eagles: Doug Pederson was 2016’s best head coaching hire

( Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
( Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /

Once considered a consolation prize, Doug Pederson has turned the Philadelphia Eagles around and looks like the cream of a rather weak 2016 coaching class.

It looks like the Philadelphia Eagles made the right call back in the spring of 2016.

After unceremoniously firing highly touted head coach, and pseudo general manager Chip Kelly days before the team’s final game of the 2015 season, the then 7-9 Eagles were in a tough spot as a franchise.

With Sam Bradford at quarterback, a roster recovering from Kelly’s personnel decisions, and a pair of vacancies at two of the organizations most important positions, head coach, and general manager, Jeffrey Lurie had some serious decisions to make going into the new year.

And while reinstating former general manager Howie Roseman to his old role, while supplementing the position with quality additions like vice president of player personnel Joe Douglas, the decision on who would lead the team on the field was far less obvious.

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After firing fan favorite Andy Reid following a disappointing 4-12 season in 2012, made worse by the untimely passing of his son, Garrett, during the team’s training camp, Lurie and his panel of advisors went out and hired the flashiest name in the 2013 head coaching crop, the aforementioned Kelly. And while Kelly did have some initial success with the team, like making the 2013 NFL playoffs, his tenure with the team was largely marred by a simple, gimmicky play calling, a near negligible mismanagement of talent, and a stubbornness towards adapting his scheme to fit the professional game.

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While the team obviously didn’t want to make another high risk, high reward signing like they did a few seasons prior, few fans expected the team to bring in former Eagles’ backup quarterback Doug Pederson as their newest head coach.

With the team being linked to names like Ben McAdoo, Tom Coughlin, and white whale Jon Gruden, who ironically just agreed to a 10-year, $100 million deal with the Oakland Raiders, early on, the idea of Lurie and company bringing in a coach who didn’t even call plays with any regularity as the Kansas City Chiefs‘ offensive coordinator seemed like a total mistake.

Sure, he came from the Reid coaching tree that’s also produced quality coaches like Ron Rivera, and more recently Sean McDermott, but a discount Reid-lite surely wasn’t going to bring the team any closer to a Super Bowl, was he?

Well at this point we all know the story, the team traded up in the draft to select Carson Wentz, hired former Lions head coach Jim Schwartz to run the defense, and now sit atop the NFC with a league-best 13-3 record and a number one seed in the 2018 NFL playoffs.

And the vast majority of that success can directly be linked to Pederson.

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Currently the owner of a 20-12 record, Pederson’s 62.5 winning percentage is by far the best mark of any member of the 2016 head coaching class, with only Dolphins‘ head coach Adam Gase, and Titan‘s head coach Mike Mularkey, who technically took over for Ken Whisenhunt during the 2015 season, having even reached the .500 mark over the last two seasons.

With two of the coaches, Ben McAdoo and our old friend Chip Kelly, already out of their jobs, and Hue Jackson likely on the way out in Cleveland following an 0-16 record in 2017, the decision to bypass names like McAdoo and Coughlin for Pederson now seems like a stroke of genius, and could define the next chapter in Eagles history.

Whether it be putting together an incredibly quarterback-friendly system that’s vaulted their second year quarterback into a second-team All-Pro, Pro Bowler, and would be MVP candidate, to his willingness to make adjustments to a gameplan that isn’t working on the spot, Pederson has shown that he possesses everything necessary to build a dynasty in South Philly in the same way  Reid did before him

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Though initially an unpopular signing, Pederson has proven himself to be not only a capable NFL head coach but the perfect head coach for the Philadelphia Eagles moving forward.