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Black (Extra) Monday: Doug Pederson Fired

Most non-playoff teams started their coach searches immediately after the season ended.  At least one opted to wait a week.

On Monday, the Philadelphia Eagles reportedly decided to let head coach Doug Pederson go after five years with the franchise.  Pederson finishes his time in Philadelphia with a 42-37-1 record and a victory in Super Bowl LII, but the team's collapse in 2020 ended up being too much for him to overcome.  He is the first head coach to be fired within three years of winning a Super Bowl since Don McCafferty in 1972.  Not For Long, indeed.

Per Ian Rapoport, the decision came around in part because Pederson was sick of people telling him what to do, which presumably includes what to do with Carson Wentz and his massive contract.  Figuring out the quarterback situation will be priority one for whoever the next head coach will be, as will be determining how to dig out of Philadelphia's projected $52 million cap overage for next season.

The move makes Ron Rivera, hired on December 31st, 2019, the longest reigning coach in the NFC East.


51 comments, Last at 15 Jan 2021, 10:42am

1 I don't follow the Eagles…

I don't follow the Eagles clearly but I am really surprised by this move. They did win the SB in 2017 and have been to the playoffs a couple times since, including last year. Now granted the team has been trending down ever since but they've had injury issues + no one saw the Wentz implosion coming and I tend not to blame coaches when the QB suddenly becomes unplayable.

And yet, I am not sure what Pederson's reputation is as a head coach. Usually SB winning coaches get lots of opportunities. Usually. However, there's also Brian Billick so who knows. 

3 I'm not surprised exactly,…

I'm not surprised exactly, but it's incredibly dumb. I mean, not nearly as bad as firing Andy Reid dumb (which was epic dumb), but still dumb. Note that neither of them may have been avoidable, in the sense that Lurie may have wanted changes that neither Pederson/Reid were willing to do (for whatever reason).

It's also super-dumb because it's obviously the result of a Roseman/Pederson power struggle (has there been a head coach he actually got along with?) and as bad as the results were this year, their problems next year are all squarely on Roseman's head.

10 I can kind of defend the…

I can kind of defend the decision to fire Andy Reid. I don't think it was a known quantity back then just how great Andy Reid was as a head coach. Obviously with hindsight it looks like a terrible decision but at the time I could understand it's justification.

I do agree with you that this decision now makes the Eagles opening one of the least attractive if not the worst job out there.

14 OK, so to clarify: Firing…

OK, so to clarify:

Firing Reid was dumb because anyone would've at least put Reid in the top half of the coaches in the league. Clearly above average. Firing him was therefore unlikely to produce a better coach, and, in fact, was likely to make your overall job worse because he would just go to another team and improve them. The clever among you would say "so wait, you're supposed to be stuck with an Average Head Coach for forever, and never try to improve?" to which I would respond "until you know you have a definitely better option." They went with a college head coach with no NFL experience, which is what made it solidly dumb. (And yes, you should absolutely have an idea of who you want to target before you fire your head coach.)

It escalates to epic dumb because to me, Reid was clearly a top 5 coach with a solid record at evaluating and getting the most out of the highest-value position on the field, and the chance of getting a new coach capable of doing that was essentially zero.

"but at the time I could understand it's justification."

To be clear there were other mitigating circumstances that year which may have made the firing inevitable, but looking at it from just a football standpoint, getting rid of Reid was really, really bad.

17 I agree, but there was just…

I agree, but there was just a sense that the team was trending down and perhaps Reid and the Eagles needed a change of scenery. 

I don't think hiring Chip Kelly was a mistake either. Why not take a chance on a coach instead the usual obvious choice of coordinator or retread heach coach, neither of which are guarantees of anything.

29 "there was just a sense that…

"there was just a sense that the team was trending down"

That's the "epic dumb" part. In 2011, Philly went 8-8, but they were an above-average team pretty much any way you can measure it: by DVOA, they were 9th. 2012 was an outlier, for lots of obvious reasons. Plus pretty much everyone struggles around the change of a long-term QB, and the Eagles literally got rid of probably their best option to fix their biggest problem.

I mean, people usually point to things like Reid putting Juan Castillo (an OL coach) in charge of the defense, and then laugh as if it was a disaster... when it actually wasn't that bad the first year (10th in the league in scoring defense, 11th in DVOA, both of which were improvements).

"perhaps Reid and the Eagles needed a change of scenery."

That's the "mitigating circumstances" part. It's completely believable that Reid was struggling a ton with his son's death and/or Lurie was unsure if Reid could/had recovered from it.

That's why I'm saying getting rid of Reid - if there weren't mitigating circumstances - was epic dumb. The only reason that it made sense to fire Reid is if Lurie thought he just wasn't able to cope with the circumstances in 2012.

22 Mitigating circumstance

On pure football grounds, you are correct.  IMO the mitigating/overriding circumstance was at the time I  thought Reid had {gone stale/gotten into a rut} in Philly and therefore needed a change of scenery both for himself and for the team. 

11 Why was firing Reid dumb?…

Why was firing Reid dumb? His success with the Chiefs does not mean Eagles should have kept him. I still think it was the right decision.

Now regarding Pederson, for what it's worth I would have fired Roseman (poor roster construction and draft picks over the last 3 years) and let the new GM decide. I'm ambivalent on Pederson but with lack of information on what happened to Wentz, who to blame with poor WR development, what was the real impact of his staff, it's tough to judge from afar.

15 "Why was firing Reid dumb?"…

"Why was firing Reid dumb?"

Because in all his years at Philly he pretty much never made a bad QB decision. Drafted McNabb: cool, nearly 10 years of success. Brought in Jeff Garcia after losing a year to McNabb's injury: led to playoffs the next year. Traded a 5th round QB (Feeley) for a 2nd round pick. Drafted Kolb in 2007 season - while not successful, later traded away for a 2nd round pick + player (in other words, equiv. or higher than original). Traded away McNabb at the end of his career for 2nd round pick to division rival - McNabb basically blew them up his first year there and never had success anywhere. Brought in Vick in 2009, who ended up having a fair amount of success. Drafted Foles in the 3rd round of 2012 draft, and encouraged him to come back to the game, finally resulting in an Eagles Super Bowl.

Even when he was at Philly it was a common thing that Reid could turn quarterbacks into gold, routinely trading away QBs for more value than he got them for and them going on to have like, no success at all elsewhere.

You don't get rid of a coach like that - quarterback evaluation and coaching's the most important skill you can have and it's pretty clearly freaking rare.

26 The biggest mistake Reid…

The biggest mistake Reid/philly made with a QB was not drafting Russell Wilson even though they were higher on him than pretty much everybody else. That probably would have saved Reid’s job

20 His success with the Eagles…

His success with the Eagles meant they should have kept him. Unless they thought that he was unlikely to return to form after the trainwreck of 2012. Maybe they figured a change of scenery was the only way he'd be himself again after losing his son. But if their decision was based purely on an evaluation of his career, there isn't really a good argument for firing him after one bad season.

As for the current situation, my instinct would be to fire Roseman before Pederson.

32 "Maybe they figured a change…

"Maybe they figured a change of scenery was the only way he'd be himself again after losing his son."

Yup. This is exactly what I'm saying. There's really no other justifiable reason to fire Reid. If that really was the reason, that's fine. But if it was really like they felt he had gotten stale or something, they were nuts.

23 Reid had gotten stale and…

Reid had gotten stale and both he and the Eagles needed a new perspective. The Eagles perspective was how bad a non-Reid-tree voice is. 

Reid was a lot more free to both fail and succeed without the pressure of both the Philly sports media, his own history there, and the franchise and city's desperate need to win a SB.

35 "Reid had gotten stale and…

"Reid had gotten stale and both he and the Eagles needed a new perspective. "

If you just sub out "the Eagles believed Reid needed to be in a new city to get away from his son's death" that's fine. The whole "gotten stale" thing makes zippo sense to me.

Reid went 11-5 with the Chiefs in 2013! If he had "gotten stale" in Philly, that's the freaking quickest return-to-freshness I've ever seen.

I mean, he brought a large portion of his coaching staff (Nagy, Pederson, plus many others), and even ended up acquiring a bunch of his previous players over the next few years. Which is partly why I don't even buy the "oh, Reid did better once he gave up personnel control" - yeah, it was just totally random that an Andy Reid team drafted both of the Kelce brothers, and it couldn't possibly be related that of all the "non-team drafted" players the Chiefs had in 2014, most of them came from the Eagles. At this point it's pretty flamingly obvious that Reid still has a fair say in personnel decisions in KC. Reid went to KC and changed... basically nothing, and hey look, success! Shocking.

36 Eagles and End of Andy Reid

I think that Andy Reid's firing from the Eagles came down to the following things:

1) There was a belief that had set in among Eagles fans that the Eagles were never going to win a Super Bowl with Reid, under the thought that if they were going to, that it would have happened already. I remember seeing a lot of posts along the lines of "Andy had 14 years and couldn't win, we need to try something different".

2) I wonder how much of the end of Andy's time in Philly came down to the "Dream Team" roster, which may have abnormally raised expectations, and the decision to have Juan Castillo coordinate the defense for most of that time. Picking a first-time defensive coordinator to coach an allegedly "loaded" roster is a combustible mix.

3) Michael Vick could not replicate his 2010 season. This may have also sunk Andy.

4) The pressure for the Eagles to win the Super Bowl had grown so intense, that it felt that both parties need a reset. After the run of four straight conference championship games, anything that was not a Super Bowl title was deemed as an unacceptable failure. I truly do feel that the pressure got to Andy.


For the record I LOVE Andy Reid. I am incredibly thankful for everything that he did for the Eagles franchise, and I am so very, very happy that he finally has a ring. I grew to refer to him as almost the passing-oriented version of Bill Cowher, from the standpoint that, while he may not have had many championships to show for it, he had a steady, consistent streak of well-coached and competitive teams. That being said, I wonder if the perception of Andy Reid would have remained the same as it was as of two years ago, if Patrick Mahomes didn't end up becoming his quarterback.

37 I think this summary is…

I think this summary is right and my sense of it as well. Look, Reid wasn't as regarded as he is now mostly because he didn't do anything prior to the Eagles. That may sound ridiculous, but we can only go by what we knew at the time.

And for whatever it's worth, the Eagles crashing and burning in 2012 seemed to be at last the final sign of the Reid era. That it just felt like they topped out and needed a fresh start. Again, this line of thinking is dangerous and you could argue the Broncos lived this experiment with Mike Shannahan's firing. 

As for Reid - I think once he succeed with Smith, his coaching reputation became solidified. I certainly was more than impressed with him.





38 "Picking a first-time…

"Picking a first-time defensive coordinator to coach an allegedly "loaded" roster is a combustible mix."

Yeah, what a disaster that was! They went from 13th in the league by DVOA / 21st in ppg to 11th in DVOA / 10th in ppg.


Literally all of the criticisms come down to "boo hoo, Andy didn't win a Super Bowl" which is a garbage way to evaluate a coach. Reid was/is *fantastic* at identifying/improving QB talent. It's flamingly obvious that *eventually* he'd land a top-tier talent and get a ring. Now, obviously, Mahomes has exceeded *that*, but really, Mahomes and Reid are freakin' *made* for each other.

He's also crazy good at identifying coaching talent as well, which honestly makes the whole Castillo thing silly. Didn't work out, but it wasn't a disaster. Whatever. (They ended up with Bowles, by the way, who of course succeeded so well in Arizona it landed him a HC job).

The Steelers have the most rings of any team (well, tied, the whole Evil Empire thing) for one reason, in my opinion: they're patient. They *don't* fire successful coaches. They don't have runs of crap like other teams. Same deal here. Pressure should be to be a winning team, nothing more.

44 Juan Castillo

Juan Castillo's tenure as DC was a bit perplexing. Because, you're right, statistically, they did improve, and their statistics were good. However, when you watched them play, something just didn't look quite right. The Eagles defense may have been "good", but it was expected to be elite, as it had was looked to be the best cornerback group in the league. It did appear that during the 2012 season, firing Castillo was a tremendous mistake. He was replaced by Todd Bowles, and, for some reason, the defense cratered.

For what it's worth, I find the 2011 Eagles' final statistics to be fool's gold. I recall them fattening up their record and stats at the end of the season, once they were already eliminated from the playoff race.

I do agree that judging a coach based solely on championships is a poor way to judge a coach. I mean, even prior to last season, would you rather have Andy Reid's track record, or Jon Gruden's?

46 The whole Castillo thing is…

In reply to by COtheLegend

The whole Castillo thing is part of what I mean here. When you look at it, it was super-weird, and everyone lampooned Reid for it, and it's like they kept looking for a problem. When, actually... they played fine. Eventually Reid fired him too, but that certainly didn't fix the problem, and Bowles is certainly a bona fide DC. So if you look at the whole thing together, I think it's massively overblown: Reid gave Castillo a shot, clearly *something* about it he didn't like, but it certainly wasn't a total disaster or anything. That's fine, that's good coaching.

"For what it's worth, I find the 2011 Eagles' final statistics to be fool's gold. I recall them fattening up their record and stats at the end of the season, once they were already eliminated from the playoff race."

They lost by 4 to the 10-6 Falcons after having had to switch to Mike Kafka (they had the lead in that game). They then lost pretty solidly to the eventual Super Bowl champion New York Giants, and then lost by 1 to the 13-3 49ers, and by 1 score to the Bills (who were a good team early on then collapsed for some weird reason - check out their cratered weighted DVOA). Those were the first few weeks of the year.

DVOA had them as a top-10 team by the end, and while in the first few weeks their DVOA was quite low, it pulled above 0 by week 7 and never looked back as the opponent adjustments kicked in (SF/NYG/BUF/ATL was a very tough slate). Yeah, their weighted DVOA was higher, but not by a ton.

They suffered from a tough early season slate and a set of close losses and poorly timed injuries to Vick, plus Kafka/Young both... underperformed. They certainly weren't "fattening up" their record - by estimated wins/Pyth. wins they underperformed in wins.

(And note that while I said above Reid basically never made a mistake on QBs, yet drafted Mike Kafka, yeah, I think it's safe to say that a guy who turned into a 33-year old coordinator mentioned as a HC candidate probably impressed Reid with football knowledge back then. Now, Vince Young, there's a screwup.)

48 By "fattening up" he means…

By "fattening up" he means they started 4-8 and won their last four meaningless games (games in which their defense looked a lot better -- we call that "Falconing" these days).

It was a weird defense; they didn't give up a ton of yards or points, but also generated very few turnovers.

49 They weren't exactly…

They weren't exactly horrible on defense early in the year or anything, though. They were "meh" by DVOA and fine by points scored, usually hovering around 18-20th. So, yeah, not good, but not like, a disaster.

And then, yeah, they did better the last portion of the year, sure. But that's also not surprising with a new coordinator, which for instance, is why I was perfectly fine with him continuing the next year. He didn't improve, and Reid replaced him (solving... nothing).

But the whole point here is that the Eagles weren't really on a "downward trend." They had a really hard early schedule in 2011 and struggled, costing them the playoffs, but they were a decent team. Then 2012 was an implosion, for a lot of reasons, and firing a coach with a track record of success like Reid's after a one-off implosion is just super-dumb. Especially when there are mitigating factors.

Oh, wait, hang on, let me reread that: Philly fired their coach (check), coach had a track record of success (check), after a surprising implosion (check), with huge mitigating factors (check).

There's my entire point - they literally just repeated the exact same mistake they made after 2012. Worked out super good... for the guy they fired.

51 2011 Eagles

The 2011 Eagles were a confounding team, because, while they may have been "good" or "decent", they were expected to be "elite", because of all of the free agent signings. To me, the team being merely just "good" was considered to be a failure. It kind of reminds me of how some wanted to run Erik Spoelstra out of town during the first year of the LeBron Miami Heat teams, because the team didn't immediately turn into a 70 win team. And I do agree with you that moving on from Juan Castillo during the 2012 season was a mistake. During the first half of 2012, the defense was the strength of the team. If I remember correctly, I think that it may have been some of the players on the team that made a push to replace Juan with Todd Bowles.

And you may be right. The Eagles may have very well fired their, arguably, two most successful coaches in franchise history over the past ten years. I think we may need to look at...Who is the common denominator between the 2012 Eagles and 2020 Eagles? That would be one Mr. Howie Roseman! As much as Howie deserves credit for 2016 and 2017, Howie deserves the blame for setting up the two worst seasons in recent Eagles history.

2 This move also does…

This move also does absolutely nothing for the head coach searches for all other open jobs, because Philly immediately becomes the least desirable head coaching position available. Not only is Philly $52M over the cap, but the only ways they have to get out of that situation are by renegotiating contracts with 30+ year old vets who all have strong leverage against the team. In other words... it's a multi-year disaster.

I mean, I've been saying for forever that the Eagles were going to be a below-average team this year (I was saying 6 to 8 wins) due to the OL situation but I had no idea it would devolve to this disaster.

4 According to an article on…

According to an article on Bleeding Green Nation, owner Jeff Lurie was not happy with how Pederson was going to fill his staff.  That was leaked, along with Pederson's rumored promotions (Matt Burke or Cory Undlin becoming DC, etc.). Then they fire him.  So they weren't going to let Pederson have control of his staff.  If you want to see how that works, check out the Gase/Gregg Williams dynamics in NY this past year.

How does Roseman not end up being fired first, though?  He's the one who destroyed their cap.

6 Roseman

I don't get it with Roseman either. Now, I have been a defender of Doug this season and last season, and while he is certainly at fault, it wasn't Doug that saddled the team with bad draft picks and bad contracts. As much as Howie Roseman deserves credit for 2017 (and for 2016, which is kind of under the radar), Howie has now overseen both the "Dream Team" and this year's team. I don't understand how he escapes responsibility.

16 Apparently he escapes…

In reply to by COtheLegend

Apparently he escapes responsibility by being Lurie's fair haired boy, which makes Lurie blind to his faults.

28 "....That was leaked, along…

"....That was leaked, along with Pederson's rumored promotions (Matt Burke or Cory Undlin becoming DC"

Cory Undlin?  Seriously?  He took Matt Patricia's defense and somehow made it even worse after Patricia was fired.

43 The coaching staff was never…

The coaching staff was never the problem, though. I mean, it's easy enough to quibble with a few things (and I sure as heck did) but this team isn't going to be fixed by new coordinators. Not even a new HC, either.

50 There's apparently a bit of…

There's apparently a bit of suggestion that in fact those might've been floated just to see what the reaction would be, because Pederson wanted the heck out anyway.

I'm not usually one to look at things that way, but with all of the leaks and crap that come out of Philly's front office, maybe I should.

5 Perhaps the Eagles should…

Perhaps the Eagles should not have a coach next year.  Look at the Browns, they won a playoff game without one. Perhaps the money saved will get them under the cap.

9 Made my day

Or the team could follow the College Of Coaches model of the mid 1960s Chicago Cubs, and just rotate the head job among position coaches

7 Sounds like Pederson wanted out

Which makes me believe he may already have another job lined up.  How do Jets fans feel about a Superbowl-winning coach being hired by a former member of his front office?  It's not exactly the second coming of Richie the K ...

8 Still better than Adam Gase,…

Still better than Adam Gase, but I'd rather he didn't go to the Jets, who have already interviewed Eric Bienemy, Saleh, Marvin Lewis, Eberflus, Daboll, among others.  I'd take any of them over Pederson.  Reich was the mastermind of that Super Bowl run.

How would the Eagles fans feel about Adam Gase?  Because this process looks a lot like the one the Jets used to get Gase in the first place; ownership meddling, bad GM trying to control the hire, etc.

12 Gase would be a good scapegoat

Whoever takes the Eagles' job has a good chance to be fired after a couple of awful, rebuilding, seasons. So you'll look for a candidate so desperate for a chance that they won't want much more than that in guaranteed money. 

18 I always feel bad for the…

I always feel bad for the sacrificial lamb head coach hires. Like Dennis Allen with the Raiders or Jim Tomsula with the 49ers or even John Fox with the Bears. You could even argue Hue Jackson got that deal as well. 

30 I don't think Fox was a…

I don't think Fox was a sacrificial lamb for the Bears. They were a team that was definitely going to be a rebuilding team, after the Trestman disaster and the aging of really every halfway decent player, but they weren't so bereft of talent to make the 14-34 record he posted acceptable. There was also a real sense in Chicago that he was going through the motions and probably should have retired rather than take the job.

13 Instead of hiring Gase so…

Instead of hiring Gase so the Eagles can reverse win Tank Division and therefore end up with their quarterback savior next year (supposedly it's a good year for quarterbacks, isn't every year a year out from the draft), the Eagles can save money by just having Roseman coach the team, and therefore ensuring a tank.  If the NFL decides to add games to the season, the Eagles can set a record 0-17 while their fans can just say it's part of the Process.

Please understand, I'm not trying to troll the Philly fanbase, just Lurie and Roseman.

19 “..the Eagles can save money…

“..the Eagles can save money by just having Roseman coach the team,”

That’s not unprecedented.  In the late 70’s, the Falcons owner Rankin Smith was pissed that GM Pat Peppler fired Marion Campbell in 1976 (who Smith was fond of), so he made Peppler coach the Falcons the rest of the year.

21 is this a domino

Is there a coach that might not have been moved, that gets fired now the Doug is available? 

24 I'm actually kind of serious ...

Is Rex Ryan a candidate for this job?  He's a retread with no other chance to get an NFL head coaching gig, but would give the Eagles a chance to sell the connection to his father as a way to deflect attention from the losing.  Most Eagles fans (of the required age) still love Buddy the character, and most don't understand the failings of Buddy the Coach.  [And only a select few recognize the successes of Buddy the personnel director, at least on one side of the ball.]

34 The Rex Ryan that feeds the…

The Rex Ryan that feeds the media makes the actual coach Rex Ryan look worse than he is.  I doubt he wants to be a scapegoat since he's making plenty of money where he is.  I might add, Buddy's failings are different from Rex's; Buddy went all in on cheapshotting people, a la Gregg Williams, starting feuds with other teams, etc.  Rex might do the feuding, but his teams weren't that dirty compared to the stuff the Jeff Fisher coaching tree pulled.  

27 The ownership meddling in…

The ownership meddling in coaching staff construction is a big red flag for any potential hire, even above-and-beyond roster construction.

That's Cal McNair shit.

41 Yup. Got to think this took…

Yup. Got to think this took them out of contention for Bienemy and Saleh, at the very least - they'll have enough offers (and/or, a nice enough current position) that they don't need to bother with an owner who'll muck around in their personnel decisions.

31 Wooooow

Kinda surprising since he helped get them higher picks lol

Also Pederson going before Howie is interesting. 

So is choosing Wentz over Doug. 

47 If reports are true that…

If reports are true that Pederson's response to the debacle that was Philly's 2020 QB situation was to promote their QBs coach to OC, he had to go. That's malpractice. The real question is why not toss Roseman with him.