1. Why The Eagles Selected Doug Pederson
The search for a new head coach was a thorough, time-consuming one for Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Lurie, president Don Smolenski and executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman, but it ultimately led them to the right person for the job, Doug Pederson.
The process began by compiling and reviewing research on a number of candidates as the 2015 season came to a close. After going through folders full of information, the initial list of about 25 was narrowed down to 10-11 top targets, six of whom the search committee interviewed. Those individuals also turned to current NFL head coaches and personnel for advice and guidance.
Once the meetings were complete, Lurie said the call was easy.
“The main features with Doug that really impressed all of us, and certainly myself, were first, real smart, strategic thinker,” Lurie said. “Things we noticed early on in his career but really blossomed over the last decade of coaching. As a player and a coach, he worked under coaches that really knew how to do it right. Whether it’s Don Shula, Mike Holmgren or Andy Reid, these were well-organized coaches that were absolutely at the forefront and are at the forefront of their profession. As a player, how he worked with our quarterbacks that he was playing with and coaching them as well, terrific, just terrific. Communication skills, unparalleled.
“What Doug brings also is an understanding of the passion of our fans in Philadelphia. This wasn’t a requirement of the job, but he understands how dedicated, obsessed we all are to bring a Super Bowl to Philadelphia. He’s talked about it for years and years and years. He continues to talk about it and understands a lot of the issues of what we all want to bring to the best city in terms of football fans imaginable.”
2. Pederson's Staff Begins To Take Shape
During Pederson's opening remarks, he revealed that former Detroit Lions head coach and Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz to run the Eagles' defense.
"I'm excited to have him, his track record and his defenses that have led the National Football League," Pederson said. "I've had a chance to coach against him and I'm glad he's on our team now. So I'm honored to have him to be a part of my staff."
Click here for more details regarding Schwartz's addition.
Pederson also announced that he is retaining at least two members of Chip Kelly's former staff - special teams coordinator Dave Fipp and offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland.
This may be Pederson's first NFL head coaching gig, but he's learned from some of the all-time greats. During his 12-year playing career, Pederson worked with Pro Football Hall of Fame coach Don Shula (it was Pederson who provided a record-breaking win), won a Super Bowl as part of Mike Holmgren's Packers and both played for and coached with Andy Reid.
Pederson has a blueprint for success, but he's going to be his own man and chart his own course with the Eagles.
"I'm also here to tell you that this is not an Andy Reid football team and it's not a Doug Pederson football team, this is a Philadelphia Eagle football team," Pederson said. "So I’m going to bring my spin on it, I'm going to bring my personality to it, and we're going to make it our team going forward."
There are plenty of things that Pederson has learned from over the years that he will bring to Philadelphia. One core principle is accountability. A second is there is no substitute for hard work.
"It starts with me. I've got to hold myself accountable and then I've got to hold my assistant coaches accountable. The message has to be one message. One thing that I (learned from) Coach Reid over the years, being with him, is his consistency and his message of family first, of trusting one another and you can't sacrifice hard work," Pederson said. "And listen, we cranked through Training Camps. Our Training Camps were tough. Our practices were tough. But he never wavered from that and I think that consistency has made him a successful football coach in the National Football League and those are the things that I want to bring here: the things that I learned from him that I can use here in my journey."
Pederson was raised in the West Coast offense in the NFL, but don't assume that's what he'll bring to the Eagles.
"I think the best way to answer that is, I don't think - I don't think you can come in and say, ‘We're going to be this.’ I think what you do is you come in and you evaluate your personnel and you use your personnel that best fits them, and then you structure your offense and defense based on that," Pederson said.
A great example is this past season in Kansas City where Pederson had to change the offense after losing star running back Jamaal Charles to a knee injury five games into the season. He took over play-calling duties for the second half of games starting in Week 7 against Pittsburgh. The Chiefs won their final 10 games after a 1-5 start.
The current state of the roster was another area Pederson addressed when speaking on Tuesday, and as it stand right now, he is pleased with the structure of the team. The head coach believes in the talent of the players here and feels that when put into the correct positions, this Eagles team has the potential to “win the NFC East” and “go deep into the postseason.”
“Got some guys over there that I'm very familiar with, you know,” Pederson said. “
Pederson spoke of quarterback
“Looking at the quarterback position here, I think Sam's a quality quarterback. I think he's a top-notch quarterback,” Pederson said. “Look what he did the last half of the season and the numbers that he was able to put up. I feel like he's an individual, he's a quarterback that would fit perfectly into a system that I'm going to bring. And so, you know, as we evaluate, as I evaluate that position, those decisions will be made as we go.”