Every team is great doing at least one thing. For the Philadelphia Eagles it’s shooting themselves in the foot. On Monday the organization announced it was firing head coach Doug Pederson, three years removed from leading to the team to its first Super Bowl victory, and first championship since 1960, before the merger took place.
There’s little doubt the relationship between Pederson and the Eagles had turned sour. Reports brewed for much of the season that players were growing frustrated with his approach, and it was rumored that he clashed with quarterback Carson Wentz on several occasions. Of course, it didn’t help that Wentz fell off a cliff, but the real issue seemed to be that the coach was growing weary of being told how to do his job, and that caused friction with the front office.
After speaking with two people close to former #Eagles coach Doug Pederson, it sounds like this is what it boiled down: Pederson was sick of people telling him what to do.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 11, 2021
The unceremonious dropping of Pederson has a shocking amount in common with that of Andy Reid, who created over a decade of varying degrees of success, but was critiqued as being unable to “win the big one,” which of course he did last year, leading the Chiefs to the Super Bowl.
The issue isn’t so much that Pederson got fired, it’s that it’s another case of misplaced blame. The churn of coaches continues in Philadelphia, while the man viewed as being a huge part of the problem, general manager Howie Roseman, remains teflon. It’s one of the most shocking cases of avoiding change in the NFL, and the outcome is always the same when it happens: The team regrets is. It’s easy to write off critique of Roseman by saying it isn’t his fault, and that correlation doesn’t equate to causation, but the numbers showing his failings are stark.
- Andy Reid’s record without Roseman as GM: 202-104 (0.660)
- Doug Pederson’s record without Roseman as GM: 67-24 (0.736)
- Howie Roseman’s record as GM: 55-56-1 (0.491)
The more Roseman has to do with the roster, the worse the Eagles become. In fact, 19 of his career wins came in his first year in the role, where he had less of an impact on the roster. As time goes on and he’s more involved, the team gets worse. That is set in stone.
We don’t have an extremely long unbroken run for Roseman, as he stepped aside as GM in 2013 to allow Chip Kelly full control, which turned out to be a disaster. Roseman then fully resumed his job in 2019 after the Super Bowl, at which point the downward trajectory of the team began. He oversaw the crippling contract of Wentz, which has created a salary cap nightmare that will take years to correct, and has been unable to restock the team with talent at receiver necessary to compete in the modern NFL.
And yet, another coach is shouldering the blame for these clear and obvious roster deficiencies. I asked Brandon Lee Gowton of Bleeding Green Nation to give his take on firing Pederson, and how it feels, especially after firing Reid under similar circumstances.
“The common thread is that the Eagles chose to fault the head coach over the general manager, Howie Roseman.
I do think there was a case to be made Pederson’s time in Philly has run its course. The Eagles have been trending in the wrong direction since winning Super Bowl LII, but to put the blame squarely on Pederson’s shoulders is downright pathetic.
The Eagles should’ve used this opportunity to clean house. Instead, they’re holding Pederson accountable for the failures of Roseman and Carson Wentz that were beyond his control. It’s a despicable way to treat the franchise’s only Super Bowl-winning head coach.”
At this point the Eagles continue to tread water. There’s no coach who could come to Philadelphia and correct the team’s cap woes, or find them the talent to turn the corner in the NFC East. At a time when the division is ripe for the taking, the franchise decided their best move was to hold steady and make a change at one position, rather than fully overhauling the organization.
Andy Reid showed the football world that dumping him because he couldn’t win a Super Bowl was dumb. Time will tell if it will be another chapter in the same book, dumping Pederson and being too quick to move on. There’s a good chance Pederson will find a job soon. He could make the Eagles regret their decision, again.