Elliott Harrison of NFL.com put together his annual head coach rankings. The list was not kind to Doug Pederson. In fact, the Eagles' head coach ranks dead last compared to his coaching peers.
32) Doug Pederson, Philadelphia Eagles - This isn't fair. Pederson hasn't so much as coached one game yet. But yeah, he offers no NFL head-coaching experience, like some other guys at the bottom of this list. Pederson got off to a rather inauspicious start with the Sam Bradford Start-gate. Of course, you can blame Pederson's assistants for the confusion regarding whether Bradford is the clear No. 1 or will have to compete for the top job. It does get more confusing, however, when the organization signs Pederson's guy, Chase Daniel, to big-time backup money. Seven mil per season is high for a dude who is supposed to be carrying a play chart on Sundays. It should be mentioned here that the front office put Pederson in a difficult position by moving up to draft Carson Wentz, given the two quarterbacks signed this offseason (one apparently told he was the starter, the other a favorite of the coach). We'll see how it goes.
Harrison's list isn't the only one to feature Pederson ranked near the bottom of the league. Earlier this offseason, Rotoworld also ranked Pederson last.
Andy Reid made the playoffs nine times in 14 years in Philadelphia. It wasn’t enough. Chip Kelly won 10 games twice in three seasons. It wasn’t enough. The Eagles scrapped the old guard for the wiz kid before deciding they missed their old ways. In steps Doug Pederson, a 48-year-old coordinator with limited play-calling experience. Pederson has been a head man before … at "Calvary Baptist Academy," a Louisiana high school. That’s a long way of saying, Pederson isn’t exactly a fireworks hire. The good news is, he’s inheriting a situation similar to the one he had in Kansas City. With Reid leading the way, Pederson oversaw a conservative, run-heavy offense, one that had to make do with limited weapons. All of that applies to the Eagles, who are simply searching for normalcy after Kelly’s wild ride ended with him nuking the roster and alienating all of his best players. There’s a pretty decent chance Pederson gives it to them.
Meanwhile, ESPN stated Pederson was the worst coaching hire made this offseason. Poor Doug.
Pederson spent most of his 10 NFL seasons as a backup quarterback (3-14 as a starter) before becoming a high school coach and then an assistant in Philly under Andy Reid, who brought him along to Kansas City. Pederson has spent only three years in the league as a coordinator, all under a head coach who is a dominant offensive voice. Maybe Pederson has the "emotional intelligence" that owner Jeffrey Lurie is looking for and that Chip Kelly allegedly lacked, and maybe not. But after Coughlin pulled out of the chase and McAdoo canceled his second interview, Lurie didn't have much to choose from and figured Pederson might bring a little Andy Reid football back to the Linc. It feels like a reach.
It's easy to under the skepticism surrounding Pederson. He's an unproven commodity in the NFL. He's never been the primary play-caller on game day until now.
Maybe he's bad. It's not like any other teams were chasing after Pederson and giving him head coaching interviews. He's been a little awkward in his press conferences, which might not matter much, but it doesn't exactly inspire confidence.
Then again, maybe Pederson is good. As Eagles fans are well aware, there have been some quality coaches to come from the Andy Reid coaching tree (John Harbaugh, Ron Rivera, etc.)
In any case, Pederson has a lot to prove in his first season with Philadelphia. Expectations are somewhat tempered given the fact the team is coming off a 7-9 performance in 2015 and lacks great offensive talent. With that said, the Eagles have made it clear they expect to compete in a weak NFC East this season. That was the whole point of re-signing Sam Bradford.
Beyond this year, Pederson's role in developing Carson Wentz will be critical to the success of the franchise. To be determined if the former NFL quarterback is the right guy for the job.
Elsewhere in Harrison's rankings, Jason Garrett of the Dallas Cowboys ranks as the best head coach in the NFC East. He's listed at No. 17, which is too high. Washington's Jay Gruden is second at No. 24. New York Giants head coach Ben McAdoo, whom the Eagles reportedly favored, rounds out the division at No. 28.
Former Eagles head coach Chip Kelly ranks 12 spots higher than Pederson at No. 20. Kelly ranked 13th overall at this time last offseason. I argued that ranking was too low for him. Whoops.