Two weeks ago, former NFL GM Mike Lombardi said that Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson, "might be less qualified to coach a team than anyone I've ever seen in my 30-plus years in the NFL."
I am here to say that I wholeheartedly agree with Mike Lombardi's assessment of Pederson.
I know this will bring out all the blind loyalist Eagles fans, who will claim that I'm "not a real fan", but honestly, how can you disagree with what Lombardi said. Anybody who has watched Pederson coach 18 games in the NFL now has to admit he is the worst coach in the entire NFL. And it's not even close.
Pederson just got out-coached by a man who I have repeatedly stated is the worst game-day coach in the history of the NFL; Andy Reid. Oh sure, Reid has racked up a lot of regular season wins in the NFL, but he's got so many playoff chokes now that he's going to make people forget about Donovan McNabb's choking in the playoffs. What's that Donnie? You didn't actually throw up on the field during Super Bowl XXXIX? Sure. Anyway, back to Pederson.
Pederson was literally the team's fourth choice as Eagles coach, when he was hired before the 2016 season. He was simply the only coach who would take a job in the NFL working for Eagles GM (that's what he is, so I'm not using his actual title) Howie Roseman and owner Jeffrey Lurie. No other team ever even interviewed Pederson for a coaching vacancy. His "qualifications" consisted of being an offensive coordinator for Reid and getting to call the plays for the second half of games over the second half of last season. Oh, and he was a head coach of a high school team too. If that doesn't scream, the Next Bill Belichick, I don't know what does, right? Bueller? Bueller?
So, there is no question that Lombardi was right in questioning Pederson's unbelievably limited credentials. Pederson was hired because Lurie wanted another Reid after the entire Chip Kelly debacle, so he got Andy Reid Lite (figuratively and literally). The problem is, Pederson has all of Reid's faults and none of his actual NFL coaching experience. Let's examine his track record, shall we?
Pederson had a rookie quarterback from a small college in Carson Wentz, who found out he was starting Week 1, eight days before last season started. Any reasonable coach would try to protect his QB with a weekly game-plan that includes lots of running plays, to ease the burden on his young QB. Not Pederson. Last season, Wentz attempted the most passes in Eagles franchise history (607) and set the all-time NFL record for completions by a rookie QB (379). Neither of those stats are a good thing, especially when you consider that Wentz only attempted 612 passes and completed 392 of them in his entire four year college career.
Just in case anyone thinks that Pederson should be given a break on that egregious error because he was a rookie himself, needs to check out the stats from this season so far.
I understand that everything Pederson knows about coaching in the NFL, he learned from his passaholic mentor, Andy Reid, but he's managed to make even Reid seem like a 3-yards-in-a-cloud-of-dust play-caller. On Sunday, against the Kansas City Chiefs and Reid, Pederson called 56 pass plays and only 13 running plays. (Note: Wentz attempted 46 passes, but he scrambled 4 times and was sacked 6 times on 10 other called passing plays) This was a game where the Eagles never trailed by more than one score until there was about 3 minutes left in the game. Heck, the game was actually tied in the fourth quarter. So any excuses that the Eagles were forced to throw constantly to catch up is completely false. No, Pederson is just a bad coach.
In two games this season, Pederson has called 97 passing plays and only 33 running plays. Wentz's 85 passing attempts are third in the NFL behind only a couple of guys named Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers. Letting a couple of sure-fire Hall of Famers throw the ball all over the field, while they are in the prime of their careers, is one thing, but letting a still-developing second-year QB do it is borderline criminal. At the very least it's downright stupid. Oh and those 85 pass attempts, projected out over a full season, would break the all-time number of pass attempts in an NFL season. Again, not what you want a relatively inexperienced second-year QB doing.
Calling pass plays on almost every down makes life pretty easy on defenses. There is nothing a defense likes better than hunting quarterbacks. And when a team completely abandons the run, like Pederson has shown the propensity to do throughout his short head coaching career, those pass rushers start to drool. It's much easier to get to the QB when you don't have to worry about defending the run. In essence, Pederson is making life easier for opposing defenses and much harder on his own QB. That's not exactly a recipe for success.
Pederson talked about the need to have a run-pass balance on offense before the season. He was asked about it repeatedly because I'm not the only one who noticed that Pederson called too many pass plays last season. After the Chiefs loss, he said he needs to (God help us) "do a better job" of having more balance in future games. Unfortunately, that won't happen. Just like Reid, Pederson will commit to the run against the Giants next week and then by the time they hit the second quarter against the Chargers in Week 4, Pederson will be back to completely ignoring the running game. I guarantee it. Pederson might have what Lurie called "Emotional intelligence", but he sure doesn't seem to have any coaching intelligence.
Now, I'm not completely ignoring the fact that the Eagles running backs are not very good at, you know, running with the football. And I can't ignore the fact that the Eagles offensive line appears to have been vastly overrated coming into this season. But that doesn't mean you don't at least try to run the ball to keep the defense guessing. Only calling 13 running plays in a game that was not out of reach until the very end simply doesn't make much sense. And doing so against a team with a pass rush as good as the Chiefs is just plain dumb.
I know LeGarrette Blount didn't look good against the Redskins in Week 1, but how does a guy who rushed for over 1,000 yards and led the NFL with 18 rushing TDs last season not get a single carry against the Chiefs? I understand that Pederson has zero say in personnel and that Roseman has done a poor job in finding a competent RB, other than the diminutive Darren Sproles, but you have to use what you have available on your roster. I understand that Pederson believed that the shiftier Sproles was a better option against the Chiefs defense. I don't even disagree with that. But you at least have to give your bruising between-the-tackles RB a couple of shots at attacking a defense.
If you want to say the running game isn't working because the offensive line isn't opening up any holes, then I'll counter that by saying that they aren't doing a very good job of protecting Wentz when he goes back to pass either. Wentz has been running for his life in both games so far this season. That should make it even more obvious that Pederson needs to call more running plays. Wentz has been sacked 8 times in 2 games and he's escaped at least a dozen other possible sacks with his athletic ability. Honestly, this is no way to treat the future of your franchise. You should try to protect your future, not expose him to the most possible harm on every single play. (Remember Wentz as a lead blocker on one run last year and Pederson defending his decision to call such a play?)
I know I will hear complaints about nitpicking on Pederson. The Eagles are 1-1 and appear to be a team going in the right direction. They also have a legitimate chance in a suddenly ordinary looking NFC East this season. But they won't win anything if Pederson gets Wentz hurt. That also doesn't mean their head coach won't cost them at least a game or two this season. Heck, I would contend that he may have cost them the Chiefs game already. And there is no disputing his complete lack of coaching experience cost the team a game or two last year. The flashbacks to Reid's last few years is giving me nightmares.
Pederson simply looks overmatched on the sideline each and every week he masquerades as an NFL head coach. I mean, the man just got out-coached by Andy Reid on Sunday. There just isn't a bigger indictment of a head coach than that.
Brian Eife on February 09, 2020:
This is the ultimate cold take nothing beats it. Pederson won the super bowl the year this was written and Reid just won a super bowl last week
akiraspam74 on January 07, 2020:
aged like milk
Hank on November 15, 2019:
Not a huge fan of Pederson, but when I read the sentence
"But they won't win anything if Pederson gets Wentz hurt."
I really had a chuckle because the opposite happened. Also, this article was published in 2019. Or it was updated in 2019? You'd think the author would have added some sort of update to it showing how wrong he was.
Brendan on July 11, 2019:
I read the article.... and it is painfully obvious how little you know about football... passing on every down makes life easy on defenses? Even tho it is statistically more efficient than running. You are a moron
Bob Whalon (author) from Souderton, PA on October 30, 2018:
I just realized that none of you people read the article. You are just reacting to the title. If you did read the entire article, you would have realized that this was written after Week 2 of the 2018 season, when Pederson single-handedly lost the game with his horrendous play-calling.
You didn't hear? on March 03, 2018:
The NFL hands out Lombardi trophies like candy.
Dan on February 10, 2018:
great analysis you bozo!
Mike from Philly on February 08, 2018:
I imagine you took the day to think about where it all went wrong. I'm thinking you probably had the shades drawn and something like the home shopping network blasting in the house to drown out the snickers and belly laughs from your neighbors as they headed to the parade.
I look forward to your next comments to validate your hate for Doug (Mr. Pederson to you.)
Maybe try, Nick Foles must be the greatest qb of all time to take Doug Pederson's terrible plays and turn them into something that barely passes as high school football. How about, Howie Roseman should dump Pederson before any more damage is done to his legacy. The longer Ben Macadoo is available, the bigger the chance of him going to another team exists.
Huey Le on February 08, 2018:
Wow, this article was written by any Eagles fan?
Eddie Spaghetti on February 07, 2018:
Hey @Bob Walen....
.....I recommend you order the Crow BBQ'd, or better yet, get it with the Scampi sauce!
Either way, enjoy your Crow, you hack wannabe!
Eagles 41 -Patriots 33
Nick Foles - Super Bowl MVP Quarterback!
Best Coached Super Bowl EVERRRR!
Can't wait for Blogger Bob's next hot take on February 06, 2018:
I think Bob's real achievement here is his comment from three weeks ago: "Now the offense looks horrible without Wentz, which proves that the reason the Eagles were winning was because of Wentz and not Pederson."
Now, we all love rightful MVP Carson Wentz, but is that Bob talking about *Super Bowl MVP* Nick Foles's offense? The offense that dropped 38 points on the Minnesota Vikings' #1 defense? The offense that went for 538 yards, 41 points, 10-16 on 3rd down, 2-2 on 4th down, and only punted once against the Patriots in the Super Bowl? The coach that called and the offense that executed a 4th-and-goal, direct snap, reverse bootleg TE-to-QB touchdown pass play?
It's one thing to be wrong -- lots of people criticize hiring or personnel decisions, or read too much into small sample sizes -- it's another to be wrong and still insist you were right: "The point is, Pederson was unqualified to become a head coach ... At that point he looked like the worst coach in the NFL. Period."
And then there's gems like this: "Roseman has done a poor job in finding a competent RB" and "the Eagles offensive line appears to have been vastly overrated." By incompetent running backs, Bob meant the #3 rushing corps in the NFL? Poor RBs like Blount, who was up +0.5 yards a carry over last season? Or Ajayi, a basically free midseason trade, who averaged 5.3 yards a carry? Or Clement, an undrafted rookie who went for 100 receiving yards and a TD in the Super Bowl, and lead Eagles' RBs with 7 TDs overall?
And that overrated O-line, did Bob mean Pro Bowler Lane Johnson, Pro Bowler Brandon Brooks, All-Pro Jason Kelce, Hall of Famer Jason Peters, the quietly competent Stefen Wisniewski, or the surprisingly capable backup Vaitai?
But hey, don't give up hope -- maybe the Eagles will implode next year, and give all the fans who love to hate something to blog about!
Lmao how you like US now on February 05, 2018:
Lmao enjoy your crow
Lol on February 05, 2018:
sfphillyfan on February 04, 2018:
and now this article looks even worse. on almost all counts. but i guess anyone can have a blog and claim to be an expert. the great thing about the internet is that their ignorance is preserved for all to see
Wob Bhalon on January 25, 2018:
This article just looks worse and worse as time passes. Pederson had nothing to do with play-calling in the NFC championship right? Per your reasoning in previous comment, the Eagles were winning because of Wentz. Yes they were, but now they are winning because of...Foles? That offense that "looked horrible without Wentz", which it did. Foles didn't make the offensive adjustments the coach, DOUG PEDERSON, did. Keep up the s*** talking. Hopefully that will keep giving us the good karma to take down those cheating Pats.
John Jacobs on January 23, 2018:
Enjoy that crow sandwich
Yup Terrible on January 22, 2018:
Hahaha. Every week that goes by, you look like more and more of a genius. How was the play calling in the NFC Championship game? Clock management? How about managing all the injuries? Managing the staff?
Yeah, try to explain away what's been going on. This continued run probably has nothing to do with the head coach :)
Does this _really_ remind you of the Andy Reid years? I haven't missed a game in 27 years - I've watched them all since Buddy Ryan. Pederson was either the luckiest hire ever or a stroke of genius. Either way, I'll take him.
Insightful writing though!
Bob Whalon (author) from Souderton, PA on January 12, 2018:
I love how you all think Pederson is a great coach AFTER the Eagles start winning games this season. You probably all knew the Patriots would make that Super Bowl comeback....AFTER the game.
The point is, Pederson was unqualified to become a head coach, as evidenced by the fact that no other team ever interviewed him and he was horrible in 2016. Then he got pass-happy against the Chiefs and lost the game for his team. At that point he looked like the worst coach in the NFL. Period.
Now the offense looks horrible without Wentz, which proves that the reason the Eagles were winning was because of Wentz and not Pederson.
Oh and Reid for the Hall of Fame? Yeah, the only coach to blow 18+ point leads in the playoffs and who has lost 8 of his last 9 playoff games is a Hall of Famer. Or not.
LOL on December 27, 2017:
This season has demonstrated who's the worst...and it's clearly not Pederson!!!
Also, note that "least qualified" does not equal "worst," as you assume here.
If you can't analyze a coach's ability any better than this, then you need to stop writing on the topic.
Lolidiot on December 13, 2017:
You are a freaking moron, not only does this article prove you don't know what you are talking about but Pederson is in the hunt for coach of the year. Lol, and we are sitting at 11-2. Go root for the Browns man.
Kevin Reynolds on November 06, 2017:
8-1 huh!!! Not to shabby for the worst coach in football.I️ guess when they win the super bowl it will just be a fluke!!!How do you still have a job???
Chuck on October 12, 2017:
Hmmm, 5 wins 1 loss, but it's early in the season........
Jeff on September 25, 2017:
Technically Andy Reid outcoached Belichek too then, by your logic.
Bob Whalon (author) from Souderton, PA on September 23, 2017:
You OBVIOUSLY aren't an Eagles fan, Josh. If you were then you would have more than a passing knowledge of how horrible a game day coach Andy Reid is. If you don't believe me, please review his playoff failures in KC. That's perfectly captures his ineptitude with time management and play-calling.
Joshua Ruga from New Jersey on September 21, 2017:
Andy Reid is going to get into the hall of fame as a coach. Did you know that? Also, Lombardi's comments were concerning his qualifications at time of hire. I did not vote in your poll, because I disagree with both options.