Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Pederson Class of New NFL Coaches

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Pederson Class of New NFL Coaches

Article excerpt

By Rob Maaddi

Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA | Doug Pederson was too close to Andy Reid to get fan approval when the Philadelphia Eagles hired him to replace Chip Kelly.

Pederson was Reid's first starting quarterback in Philadelphia back in 1999 when he groomed rookie Donovan McNabb. Then Pederson served as an assistant coach under Reid for seven seasons with the Eagles and Chiefs.

Because Reid never won the Big One - he's the winningest coach in franchise history and led Philadelphia to five NFC title games and a Super Bowl loss in 14 seasons between 1999u2012 - fans didn't want his protege.

Adam Gase and Ben McAdoo were popular choices during the 2016 coaching search, but Gase went to Miami and McAdoo stayed with the Giants. The Eagles even considered Tom Coughlin, but chose Pederson instead.

Gase is 16u17 in two seasons in Miami. McAdoo was fired already. Other coaches hired that year: Hue Jackson is 1u31 in Cleveland; Dirk Koetter is 14u18 in Tampa Bay; Tennessee fired Mike Mularkey on Monday; and San Francisco fired Chip Kelly after one season.

Even longtime NFL executive Mike Lombardi was critical of Pederson after he led the Eagles to a 7u9 record in his first season.

"Everybody knows Pederson isn't a head coach," Lombardi said before this season started. "He might be less qualified to coach a team than anyone I've ever seen in my 30uplus years in the NFL."

Lombardi finally admitted he was wrong, but it wasn't until Pederson guided the Eagles to a 15u10 victory over Atlanta in the divisional playoff game.

"I'm wrong," Lombardi said on his podcast afterward. "Doug Pederson was way better than I thought he was going to be in terms of his ability to lead that team. .... For me, when you win a playoff game and you beat a team you're an underdog to, and you beat Matt Ryan and Nick Foles played well, I think you deserve it. I think I was wrong on how far I went with Doug. I'm not sure if he's a great coach, but I was wrong in terms of how far I went with it."

Pederson lost MVP candidate Carson Wentz, nineutime Pro Bowl left tackle Jason Peters, playmaking linebacker Jordan Hicks, return specialist Darren Sproles, and specialuteams captain Chris Maragos. …

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