During his five season tenure in Philadelphia, Doug Pederson totaled a record of 42-37-1, a playoff record of 4-2 and led Philly to its first Super Bowl in a 13-3 campaign in the 2017-2018 season. On Monday, January 11th, the Head Coach was relieved of his duties in the wake of what seemed the most blatant example of “tanking” in recent memory. A decision that will undoubtedly be tied to the shortest exit by a head coach from a franchise after winning a Super Bowl. While it is easy to assume a 4-11-1 record, a fractured relationship with a $128M franchise QB and an untimely pulling of Jalen Hurts in the 2020 season finale had everything to do with Pederson’s exit, allow me to offer you another possibility: Pederson was done with Philadelphia.
All Doug Pederson has done since he arrived in Philadelphia is take orders, regardless of how questionable, from owner Jeffrey Lurie and general manager Howie Roseman. He did this willingly all the way through his final game when he pulled Jalen Hurts for Nate Sudfeld and then took every bullet the media fired at him. When Pederson took over in January of 2016 he retained a staff of assistant coaches left over from Chip Kelly’s experiment at the request of Lurie and Roseman. In 2019, offensive coordinator Mike Groh was relieved and replaced by a cast of many, again the desire of Lurie and Roseman and, again, complied with by Pederson with no complaint. We’ve already addressed the ending to 2020’s campaign. So when Pederson met with Jeffrey Laurie on Monday to discuss Pederson’s vision for fixing the Eagles, the coach’s request was simple: make 32-year-old Press Taylor, passing game coordinator, QB coach and Pederson’s protégé, the Offensive Coordinator. A humble request considering the obedience, for lack of a better term, he has shown. Unfortunately, this was not in line with the vision of Lurie and Roseman. “I would really rather not talk about any specific coaches except to say we probably saw things a little differently,” Lurie said when addressing the media on Monday. In the same presser, Lurie said, “The difference in vision is much more about where we’re at as a franchise. We’re at a transition point. We’ve got to get younger. We’ve got to have a lot more volume of draft picks. We’ve got to accumulate as much talent as we possibly can with a focus on the mid-term and the long-term and not on how to maximize 2021.” The last half of the statement is evidenced in the pulling of Jalen Hurts to move up three spots in the draft. The desire to get younger would be accomplished, in part, by the promotion of Press Taylor (32). So where is the lack of aligned vision outside of Press Taylor not being the man decided on by Lurie and Roseman?
The question has to be asked: with an owner and GM so determined regarding their control, is it not possible that upon having his humble request denied Doug Pederson realized he was done being their gopher? Maybe his departure has nothing to do with how the 2020 season played out and ended. And maybe, just maybe, Doug Pederson’s departure was just as much his decision to no longer be controlled as it was Lurie and Roseman desiring to not relinquish control.