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Don’t Blame the New Coach


If Adam Gase, Ben McAdoo and Vince Lombardi’s ghost did indeed turn down the entreaties of the B-Movie Producer and Rose-Colored Howie, then Doug Pederson should feel a little worried about his status as Andy Reid 2.0. Either the Eagles’ executive wing couldn’t convince other candidates that the franchise was headed in the right direction—and that future drafts would not include firemen and former quarterbacks masquerading as defensive ends—or they weren’t able to close the deal before rival franchises did. What does it say about the home team that Gase chose Miami over the Midnight Green? It’s not like Bob Griese and Larry Csonka are playing for the Fish anymore.

It’s impossible to judge right now whether Pederson is going to be successful as the Eagles’ head coach, just as we weren’t able to predict back in 1999 whether Reid would be any good when Jeffrey Lurie hired him. When Reid landed in town, El Hombre was one of the first—if not the first—to get a full-fledged sit-down with the new guy. In fact, Reid’s hiring was so fresh that then Eagles PR director Ron Howard sat in the on the interview so he could tape it for his own use.

Or perhaps he wanted to make sure EH was going to quote Reid’s pearls accurately. Whatever the case, the former Green Bay QBs coach wasn’t so well known, and despite clock-management foibles (which he still hasn’t cured) and the inability to win the biggie, he did pretty well in Philadelphia. Score one—and only one—for Lurie.

Pederson comes from the Reid “coaching tree,” so you can expect West Coast offense concepts, a lack of information for the press and maybe even a habit of saying, “That’s on me” or “I have to do a better job.”

But no smoothies.

The scary thing about Pederson’s hiring is that Eagles fans may never know whether he can coach, because it’s questionable whether GM Howie Roseman will be able to assemble the necessary talent for Pederson—even if he’s as good as Lombardi or, for that matter, Reid. Every year, NFL teams fire their coaches because they need someone to take the blame for rotten talent. Do you think it was Mike Pettine’s fault the Browns didn’t have a legitimate quarterback, or that some genius in the personnel department thought it was a good idea to draft Johnny Trainwreck? Cleveland hasn’t had a good passer since Bernie Kosar, and the Browns have had nine coaches—not including their next victim, Hue Jackson—since Kosar left town in 1993.

If the Eagles don’t re-sign (or at least franchise) Sam Bradford, Pederson doesn’t have a chance. The NFL has abundant talent at every position but quarterback, and though Bradford was hardly a Pro Bowl caliber passer in 2015, he’s more competent than about 75 or so of the QBs who earned paychecks this season. Without him, the Eagles won’t be any better than the Clowns or the other 15 to 20 teams who have no chance to win because their QB situations are so bleak.

It’s not as if quarterback is the only issue facing the Birds right now. As has been well documented, the O-line, receivers, secondary and linebacking units are all in need of significant upgrades. Some help along the front four wouldn’t hurt, either. Can Roseman and his crew deliver the players Pederson needs to be successful? Good luck with that. Pederson may well be a future sideline standout, but until the Eagles get a front office capable of supplying him with enough talent, he doesn’t stand a chance.

Since there are only 32 head-coaching jobs in the NFL, it’s tough to fault Pederson for taking the Eagles’ head spot. He’d better hope his bosses give him a chance to be successful.

EL HOMBRE SEZ: The 12-1 Cardinal O’Hara girls’ basketball team is in the midst of yet another outstanding season. Although the Lions lost last Thursday, 35-34, to Delaware powerhouse Ursuline Academy, big things lie ahead for coach Linus McGinty’s squad, even if it is in the same league as mighty Neumann-Goretti. … Haverford School junior Tommy Toal was named first-team all-Inter-Ac as a quarterback this past season, but his best sport is baseball. He recently announced via Twitter that he has committed to play for La Salle University, beginning with the 2017-18 school year. 

Doug Pederson in Eagles green

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