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Doug Pederson finishes top five in 2020 NFL head coach rankings

One of the best in the business.

Philadelphia Eagles v Buffalo Bills Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images

Patrick Daugherty’s annual head coach and general manager rankings over at Rotoworld are always some worthwhile offseason content to digest. He’s yet to put out his GM rankings but you can check out his head coach list right here.

For the third year in a row, Doug Pederson finished in the top five.

5. Doug Pederson

Career Record: 38-26 (.594)

With The Eagles Since: 2016

Last Year’s Ranking: 4

Doug Pederson quickly gained a reputation as the league’s analytics prince, but his recent seasons have been more MacGyver than mathematics. If you need to win a playoff game with your backup quarterback, Pederson is your man. A 4-0 finish to steal the division after starting 5-7? Pederson will get it done. Craving normalcy? Pederson hasn’t really had it since Carson Wentz’s 2017 ACL tear. That’s when things got weird and have stayed so. A huge part of it has been personnel. The Eagles routinely don’t have it in the secondary, while the injuries got so bad on offense last year that “Greg Ward” spent time as the No. 1 receiver. Pederson continues to make lemonade out of lemons, which can obscure his continued devotion to cold, hard logic. Even at 9-7, the Eagles remained one of the league’s most efficient offenses last season, as well as one of the most aggressive on fourth down. Pederson knows what he’s doing, and it will look even better if his team can get just a little bit healthier with a little bit better roster.

Pederson did drop one spot but it’s hard to find fault with his ranking considering the four guys ahead of him include Bill Belichick, Andy Reid, Sean Payton, and John Harbaugh. They’re obviously all Super Bowl winning head coaches with extensive track records of sustained success. It’s great company be in.

As Daugherty alluded to, resiliency has definitely been a defining hallmark of Pederson’s tenure. The Eagles are 12-3 from Week 15 on over the last three seasons. Pederson has the Eagles playing their best football when it matters the most; his players simply don’t quit on him.

Of course, it’d be preferable if Pederson’s teams didn’t have to be in a spot where their backs are up against wall. The Eagles need to stop digging holes for themselves from which they must climb out of.

One can hope the changes the Eagles have made this offseason will address some of the issues in previous seasons. The new coaching hires — including the addition of senior offensive assistant Rich Scangarello — should bring some fresh new ideas to the table. Howie Roseman putting an emphasis on adding speed could give the offense the explosive ability it’s sorely lacked.

Pederson’s status as one of the best coaches in the league inspires confidence when it comes to the Eagles’ outlook. Their floor should be making the playoffs. Their ceiling should be as high as winning the Super Bowl again. The question isn’t whether Pederson can maximize the talent he has to work with as much as it is if he’s truly been given enough to produce a championship winner.

I think it’s safe to say Daughter isn’t alone in feeling good about Pederson heading into 2020:


Rotoworld ranked Doug Pederson as the NFL’s fifth best head coach. Too high, too low, or just right?

This poll is closed

  • 5%
    Too high
    (172 votes)
  • 16%
    Too low
    (499 votes)
  • 77%
    Just right
    (2373 votes)
3044 votes total Vote Now

Some other observations from these rankings:

  • Sean McVay finished seventh this year. He was ranked third last year, one spot ahead of Pederson. I’m glad to see national media coverage coming to realize that Dougie P is the better coach.
  • Former Eagles offensive coordinator and current Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich finished 13th for the second year in a row.
  • None of the other NFC East head coaches are ranked since Daughtery doesn’t rank brand new hires. Their write-ups ...

Joe Judge, Giants

Career Record: — —

With the Sean McVay coaching tree in a bear market, teams have retreated to the safety of Bill Belichick bonds. The Giants dug deeper than most, unearthing 38-year-old special teams coordinator Joe Judge. Working on the third unit since arriving in New England in 2012, Judge added WRs coach to his résumé in 2019. Before that, he was a “special teams assistant” for Nick Saban at Alabama. Judge began his Giants tenure by literally refusing to say the names of his players, let alone confirm their depth chart standing. It was the kind of FootballMan™ gambit that anyone other than Belichick has trouble pulling off. We know nothing about Judge except for the coaches he’s worked for. What we do know is that your former boss is rarely predictive when it comes to NFL success.

Mike McCarthy, Cowboys

Career Record: 125-77-2 (.618)

The Cowboys wanted a culture change after a decade of clapping through Jason Garrett’s underachievement. Mike McCarthy’s grim intensity is certainly that, but the Packers changed McCarthy’s stale culture into a 13-3 NFC Championship Game appearance last season. McCarthy, for his part, has claimed he learned from his final few years of Packers failures. One manifestation of this was his retainment of Kellen Moore as offensive coordinator, a surprising delegation of powers from an offensive micro-manager. Anyone who remembers McCarthy’s 2018 play-calling will agree it was a wise decision. Like most coaches, McCarthy won in Green Bay when a strong overall roster overlapped with a star quarterback. He will have both in Dallas. Will McCarthy be the reason the Cowboys win? No. Can they win with him? Yes.

Ron Rivera, Redskins

Career Record: 76-63-1 (.546)

Ron Rivera is the Redskins’ eighth full-time coach since Daniel Snyder purchased the team in 1999. Like Marty Schottenheimer, Joe Gibbs and Mike Shanahan before him, he arrives with a winning record. Those have never lasted long in Snyder’s Washington. Snyder’s teams have won 10 games three times in 21 years. That includes 1999, a group Snyder had nothing to do with. Rivera won at least 10 games three times in nine years in Carolina, though all six of his other squads finished below .500. Rivera was low-floor, high-ceiling with magnetic talent Cam Newton at quarterback. There is no such cornerstone in Washington, though Dwayne Haskins can’t be written off just yet. Like Jack Del Rio in Oakland, Rivera arrives as a stabilizing force. Like Del Rio in Oakland, the pathway to more might not be there. Rivera is a decent man without a decent team. This project will take many years to come to fruition. “Many years” is not a phrase that exists in Snyder’s lexicon. Even if Rivera lays the foundation, it will almost certainly be someone else putting on the roof.

A common thought is that the Eagles will have a leg up on their division rivals since Philly isn’t implementing a whole new system in an offseason shortened by the COVID-19 pandemic. We’ll just have to see if that perceived edge manifests into a real one.

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