Were you a little skeptical of the Doug Pederson hiring in 2016? I’ll admit I was…I was a Gus Bradley guy. I thought the Eagles had better grab Bradley in 2013 before they ultimately decided to hire Chip Kelly. I thought the ship had sailed when the Eagles passed on Bradley. And then he was already under contract with the Jaguars when Kelly was ultimately fired by the Eagles.
Hire Doug Pederson when we could have had Gus Bradley? I was resigned to a mediocre result. But boy was I wrong.
On December 18, 2016, the Jaguars relieved Bradley of his duties as head coach, compiling a 14–48 record in 4 seasons. You can make an argument that Bradley set the tone and the base for Jacksonville’s current resurgence as an AFC South powerhouse team. But the historians will only remember his dismal W-L record with a rebuilding project. They conveniently forget how influential Gus Bradley was in designing the Seattle Seahawks defense from 2009 to 2012 as that team’s DC.
|“||J.L., listen to me. I have got a guy here in Tampa that is one of, if not, the finest football coaches I have ever worked with. He’s an A-plus. He’s a once-in-a-lifetime coach. You need to talk to him.||”|
|— Monte Kiffin to Jim L. Mora in 2009 about Bradley, after Mora was hired as Seahawks head coach|
Well, we didn’t get my “once-in-a-lifetime” guy in Bradley as far as the Eagles are concerned. But we may have gotten that modern Messiah by default in the Doug Pederson hiring.
In an article at PE.com that almost no one has read, Louis Riddick, former NFL safety, NFL scout, director of pro personnel for the Eagles, and current on-air talent for ESPN, says that Pederson is the best possible head coach the Eagles could have landed.
Chiefs head coach Andy Reid, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, University of Alabama head coach Nick Saban, Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur, Bills head coach Sean McDermott, Bears head coach Matt Nagy, and Panthers head coach Ron Rivera make up just some of the great football minds Riddick spent time with as a player and scout in the NFL.
But which coach from his 22 years in football left him with the biggest impression? Riddick told ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter only one name. Doug Pederson.
“Doug Pederson, without a doubt,” Riddick told Schefter on The Adam Schefter Podcast on Monday. “I would probably say it’s because of his personality and how much fun I had talking to him, and I could walk into his office at any moment and crack a joke and the dude would be in there breaking down third down and would stop and start cracking jokes with me and then go back to his work and say, ‘Hey, check this out, what do you think?’
“Doug is one of the most personable, polite, accommodating people I’ve ever met. And I think one of the things that people kind of misconstrued about him when he was hired was because he has that easygoing demeanor, people thought, ‘Well, he’ll never be able to stand in front of a team and command a room and all that.’ … This guy is an X’s and O’s savant. People respect him because of the fact that he knows the game and he can impact their performance positively.”
Riddick worked with Pederson when the current Eagles head coach served as an offensive quality control coach for the Eagles in 2009-10 then quarterbacks coach from 2011-12. He saw four different quarterbacks start for the Eagles in that time period.
“I used to talk to him about quarterback play because we all know in front office work the quarterback evaluation is the most critical. You can’t get that position wrong,” Riddick said. “So I used to go in there and talk to him about quarterback play all the time.
“We had Michael Vick, Donovan McNabb, and Vince Young all come through there, so you’re talking about three totally different guys and I used to talk to Doug about what makes these guys different … why was Michael able to take his game from his Atlanta days to his Philadelphia days in a way that no one else was able to get him to do or maybe other coaches couldn’t have gotten him to do?”
Before the end of the podcast, Riddick was asked to give his prediction for Super Bowl LIII. He did not hesitate to predict the representative from the NFC.
“It’s tough because the NFC, man, the NFC is strong. It’s strong. But I’ll go with this. I’m going to say Philadelphia goes back,” Riddick said. “I think the chemistry there is what makes the difference. They won’t be complacent. I really do think this team is onto something a little bit different. Absolutely.
“I’m going to say it’ll be either Philly-Jacksonville or Philly-New England. That would be wild if it were Philly-New England again, wouldn’t it? But I will say this. Those two teams, I have a hard time betting against them.”
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In current developments, veteran receiver Marquess Wilson was released, while young cornerback Randall Goforth was waived.
With the moves, the Eagles now have 87 players on their roster. That leaves them with three open spots with the first practice of training camp scheduled for noon on Thursday.
Goforth was an undrafted corner out of UCLA who joined the Eagles last offseason. Unfortunately, for the young DB, he tore his ACL in training camp and missed his entire rookie season. Goforth was always around the facility, though, and walks away from the Eagles with a Super Bowl ring.
Wilson, 25, actually has some NFL experience. He was a seventh-round pick of the Bears back in 2013 and has 56 catches for 777 yards and three touchdowns during his NFL career, but the Eagles apparently didn’t think he had a future in Philly. He was signed this offseason and now doesn’t even make it to training camp. After spending the first four years of his career in Chicago, Wilson didn’t make the Jets’ roster after signing with them last summer and was out of the league in 2017.
After the moves, the Eagles have 11 wide receivers and eight cornerbacks on the roster.