Friday, January 15, 2016

Can You Doug It?

First things first, I would like to apologize for the title of this blog.  I wanted to avoid anything "teach me how to Dougie" related (RIP Cali Swag District) so I chose to paraphrase the early 1980s classic "The Warriors" instead.  Corny, but I can live with it.  Now let's get down to business.  The tumultuous offseason for the Eagles gained a bit of stability this week as Doug Pederson has been reported to have accepted the head coaching position for next season.  Plenty of Eagles fans are already up in arms about this decision, as well as the selection process itself.  While I can empathize with them about how the process went, I think the hiring of Pederson is as good as any other candidate available, with the possible exception of Tom Coughlin.

The biggest reason that Eagles fans are skeptical of this hiring in my opinion, is because of the absolute disarray that the Eagles front office is in.  In a traditional front office, the team Owner and the General Manager make most of the decisions regarding hirings.  Not so in the Eagles front office, because they don't have a GM.  They have Executive VP of Football Operations Howie Roseman, who was stifled during Chip Kelly's reign and is power hungry again, and Director of Player Personnel Tom Donahoe.  These two men worked with owner Jeffrey Lurie during the hiring process, which probably led several coaches to wonder who was really calling the shots for the team.  Howie Roseman's difficulty working with others has also been well documented over the years.  I guarantee you several coaches saw this corporate structure in their interviews and said no way (Adam Gase, Ben McAdoo, Tom Coughlin) or decided to ignore the Eagles requests altogether (Hue Jackson).  This is a major problem going forward for more than just coaching.  It will no doubt affect the NFL draft as well as free agency.  The organization is not reputable from a front office stand point, and this led to a mangled coaching search.  This is why the fans are really angry in my opinion.  If the front office was better organized, the team would have been able to pick exactly the coach they wanted.  It appears that Pederson might have been the only guy left by the time they made their decision.  Going forward Jeffrey Lurie will have to make some tough decisions regarding the front office, including making sure his ego isn't getting in the way.

With that complete indictment of the Eagles front office aside, I for one don't think we got ourselves too bad of a head coach.  Fans are upset that Doug Pederson wasn't a "hot" candidate, and that no other team was interested in him.  I can think of several coaches that were hired under the same circumstances that turned out to be great.  Andy Reid was one.  Two seasons ago, nobody was lining up to interview a coach by the name of Bruce Arians, and where is he now?  John Harbaugh had never coached above special teams before taking the Ravens job.  Meanwhile, what ever happened to the sexy coaching candidates like Mike McCoy, Charlie Weis (that is the only time in history that the words sexy and Charlie Weis will be used in the same sentence), Steve Spagnuolo etc.?  The point is that a lot of different things go into being a good coach at any level, with player personnel being a huge factor, and you never know who will be a good coach and who won't.  So give Doug a chance for crying out loud.

Three paragraphs in and I haven't given one reason why I dig Doug.  Well, here it is.  He is a former quarterback.  Like it or not, the NFL has become completely quarterback driven.  Look at the teams still alive in the playoffs and you will see the following players at quarterback: Ben Roethlisberger, Tom Brady, Russ Wilson, Carson Palmer, Cam Newton, Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning, Alex Smith.  Alex Smith is probably the only one you could argue who is not an elite quarterback.  With this importance placed on quarterbacks, I think it will be great to have Doug Pederson in charge because he can groom young quarterbacks, like he did with Donovan McNabb when they were both on the Eagles, and knows what it takes for a quarterback to succeed in the NFL.  Any stability a coach has had in the NFL is most likely based not so much upon his coaching prowess as it is the talent of his quarterback.  Therefore, I think Doug Pederson will be invaluable in finding the correct quarterback for the Eagles and building from there.  It's a pretty sad state of affairs that quarterbacks are the only thing that matters in the NFL, but if you look at almost every Super Bowl team in the last 25 years you will find that they had a great quarterback.  Trent Dilfer and Brad Johnson were probably the two exceptions, but both of those teams had once in a lifetime defenses.

The hiring of Doug Pederson might not have been the most popular move, but in my opinion it will turn out to be a good one.  The success of the Eagles will start at the quarterback position, and Doug Pederson should be able to help the organization figure that position out.  Let's give him some time before instead of burying him right out of the gate.  Eagles fans, I only have one question for you...

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