Doug Pederson hasn't coached a game yet, but he's already made a significant mistake.
Prior to the end of spring practices, the Eagles' head coach told reporters about how he plans to call plays on game day. The system, as he explained it, involves him giving the play call to offensive coordinator Frank Reich, who then relays it to the quarterback on the field. Sounds simple enough, but why the need for the middle man? Why doesn't Pederson just relay it the quarterback directly?
"You're only allowed two channels on your headset, so if you're a head coach and you have offense, defense, quarterback, you have one that's got to go," Pederson said via The Inquirer. "So you can't go directly to the quarterback if you have offense, defense. You have to go through someone to get it, or you just turn it over to your coordinator and let him call it."
Given the restrictions, Pederson was planning to pick one channel for offense and one to stay in communication with Jim Schwartz on defense. But it turns out there isn't a two channel limit. Pederson was mistaken. Jeff McLane recently noted that two anonymous NFL head coaches said that all three channels are available.
"That was a misunderstanding on my part," Pederson said. "I didn’t have all the information at the time, and I just misunderstood what the rule was, or is. But I can have the third one, which is nice."
"I’m still in the process once we get into these preseason games of deciding how I want to go about the natural mechanics of calling the game. Preseason we’re going to try it. It’s not 100 percent. I would probably lean towards me calling directly to the quarterback. It just cuts down a middle man, it cuts down time, it cuts down any communication errors at that point."
On one hand, Pederson's mistake is forgivable because it didn't really cost the Eagles anything. It's better that he realized his error now as opposed to later this summer.
At the same time, this kind of blunder doesn't do much to assuage concerns about the rookie head coach. Shouldn't he know about a seemingly simple thing like this? (As Schwartz would say: "Learn the rules!") Pederson's inexperience could certainly prove to be an issue.
It's also weird that he seemed so intent on his initial play call relay system, which is how Andy Reid does things, and now he's potentially ready to do a 180 on it just like that.
The Pederson hire was met with a lot of skepticism. The rookie head coach has a lot to prove.