The decision to hire Doug Pederson as Head Coach was met with a variety of reactions from Eagles fans. Some panicking that the team were forced into their “fourth choice” whilst others were quietly confident that he could well be the man they need. But after signing Jim Schwartz as their Defensive Coordinator, Frank Reich as their Offensive Coordinator and John DeFillipo as their Quarterback coach, the plan is becoming very clear.
Frank Reich is the perfect man to lead the Eagles Offense in 2016 and beyond for one simple reason, he compliments Pederson with his style to create a perfect balance.
San Diego were a top 10 Offense this year, that’s impressive. But the key here is Philip Rivers. Reich worked as a Quarterback Coach with the Chargers in 2013 and moved up to the Offensive Coordinator position a year later, giving him three years in total coaching Rivers.
Now the interesting thing to note here is that this season alone, the Chargers averaged 286.9 yards of passing Offense per game..making them one of the top 5 passing Offenses in the league..but only 84.9 of rushing Offense..ranking them 31st in the league in that category.
Now what other team do we know that has a very able Quarterback who set some single season records and had very good numbers towards the end of the season but didn’t have the support of the running game? Spoiler alert: Philadelphia.
In each of the three years Reich has worked alongside the veteran Quarterback, Rivers has achieved:
A completion rate above 66%
At least 4000 passing yards
Above 29 touchdowns
An average of 14 INT’s per season..(almost a 2/1 TD/INT ratio)
Over 370 completions including a career best 437 this year
A total of 17 300+ Passing yard games
Impressive, right? Imagine what he can do with a now reborn Sam Bradford who was just metaphorically begging for an Offense that plays to his strengths.
So where does Pederson, our main centre piece fit into all of this? Well, whilst he didn’t cal every single play, Pederson was the Offensive Coordinator in a team that was almost the complete opposite of San Diego. Kansas averaged the 6th most amount of rushing yards per game in the NFL and had just 203 passing yards per game..30th in the NFL.
It should be apparent by now that the scales balance out. Pederson’s Offense (a West Coast Hybrid of sorts from what we understand) succeeded heavily in the run game..an area where the Eagles desperately needed help. The theory would be that with such a versatile backfield, Pederson can finally create a dangerous game on the ground to support the passing game..thus ending this bizzarre unbalanced Offense that often saw Bradford taking over 40 snaps in a single game.
Reich on the other hand specialises in the passing game. An area that was almost neglected by Chip Kelly but evidently could have been a striving success if the playbook was moulded in the appropriate ways. By bringing in someone who has worked with one of the most renowned Quarterbacks in the NFL and who can clearly get the best out him, the Eagles have suitably equipped both the three headed monster and Sam Bradford with the right backing should all players remain on the roster.
Then there’s DeFilippo. the team’s new Quarterback coach has not only moulded the now Pro Bowl Quarterback Derek Carr from his rookie season but worked with an Offense in Cleveland that’s had both pocket passers and mobile to get a tremendous understanding of the position. With experience with both the Jets and the Giants as well, “Flip” could well be the perfect man to mould yet another talent in Sam Bradford.
Then there’s Greg Lewis..the former Eagles wide receiver who will now be coaching the position going forward. Bob Bicknell was bought into the team under Chip Kelly and followed him across the country to San Francisco..now whilst Bicknell was experienced..it’s clear that this new era in Philadelphia wants to re-engage that passion and raw ruthlessness that makes this city, its fans and its team so special.
Lewis has been there and done it all..working alongisde Donovan McNabb to win an NFC Championship and even playing in the Superbowl. The Eagles have a very young receiving core bursting with potential, what they didn’t have was a veteran presence..they have that in Lewis.
It’s clear what direction the Eagles are moving in, and it’s a very aggressive one. Many are speculating about the future of Sam Bradford and how the team handle all the contracts coming to a close..they shouldn’t be. There’s a very clear plan in place and that plan is to get the most out of an insanely talented group of guys who are only lacking a suited coach and playbook and the fire and passion that Chip defused.