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Doug Pederson’s 5th year fell well below expectations. That’s putting it nicely. With 5th year QB, Carson Wentz at the helm, the Eagles seemed poised to once again sit atop the NFC East. The expectation amongst the fanbase and the media were so. The Eagles were the only franchise in the NFC East with an already solidified cast, from top to bottom. The coach/QB combination mixed with postseason experience and the Eagles were all but in the driver seat at the beginning of the 2020 offseason.
However, from the beginning of the offseason until now, we’ve caught glimpses of the structural dynamics and power struggle that seems to have effectively been in place since the coaching tenure of Chip Kelly. Kelly had all, but pushed Roseman into a broom closet and forced Lurie to push the reset button, as all faith in the head coach had effectively dismantled his football team. Since then, it’s been pretty evident the organization wants no new Chip Kellys.
As the super bowl roster and coaching staff have moved on, the Eagles have steadily declined. They found themselves in 2018 and 2019 fighting for their playoff lives in the back halves of their seasons. Had it not been for sheer heroics, things might’ve spiraled out of control faster than they have, but Lurie and Roseman were eager to stabilize their organization and they wanted to send a message.
A day after Pederson swears safety for his comrades in Carson Walch and Mike Groh, they were fired. Every man and reporter in Philly knew Lurie had come down with the hammer, most likely in defense of Roseman. If you didn’t know they were close, Lurie had previously paid Roseman MORE money to sit behind a desk and do nothing while Chip Kelly ruled the world. That’s their relationship. But, exactly what message were they sending?
Clearly, someone had to take the fall for the regression of now multi-million dollar QB, Carson Wentz and the once-prolific offense that had grown weak and frail. The organization echoed the sentiment: “You brought in your guys and it didn’t work, so now it’s our turn.” It's that type of dysfunction that brews contempt within the power structure.
From that came 14 new offensive assistants, with no defined offensive coordinator and no hierarchy. Instead, the Eagles had begun a new unorthodox strategy with passing and rushing coordinators. Even Duce Staley became the new assistant coach. This news brought sweeping judgments, with many sources speculating if it has “too many cooks in the kitchen”.
With a current record of 4-10-1, despite the myriad of things to point the blame, it still feels safe to say this experiment failed miserably. Now, with Pederson solely in the limelight for the team’s failures and Wentz’s regression the Eagles should do one of two things: fire Pederson or give him more power.
It’s fairly easy to look at Pederson’s body of work and see the disappointing decline. A new coach could offer Wentz a new perspective or propel the team in a different direction entirely. If Lurie and Roseman can’t seem to make Pederson fit what they intend to piece together, they’re better off finding another piece.
However, it’s also fair to criticize Lurie and Roseman for meddling and muddying the waters for Pederson. In 2020, the same organization that paired Wentz with Doug Pederson, also went out and drafted Jalen Hurts in the 2nd round. If they feel strongly enough that Doug does not fit their equation in 2021, they also owe it to him to culminate an offseason to make significant changes to their coaching staff, roster, draft picks, etc., to truly decipher whether Doug is deserving of being the Eagles coach of the future.
Andy Reid had always been a great talent evaluator and brought young stars to his rosters. Given Roseman’s recent drafts, Lurie owes it to Doug to lean in his favor, in the offseason. The Eagles have been yearning for the same similar success and longevity Andy Reid had brought to the organization for 14 years. Doug cannot accurately prove himself if he’s being undermined and the Eagles should test that possibility because Super Bowl winning coaches, regardless of how they came by, do not grow on trees.
Photo Credit: Mark J. Rebilas USA Today Sports