He did it again. For the third time in four years, the Philadelphia Eagles will be heading to the playoffs. Doug Pederson has led this team to two division titles and one Super Bowl in only four years as a head coach. Not only that but his current record from the final two games of the season to the playoffs is 15-3. Pederson currently has the best record in meaningful games within December and January, even better than Bill Belichick’s 18-6 record. How is all this possible?
Pederson came into the season with one of the top-rated offenses in the NFL. Since then he’s lost all three of his starting wide receivers, two offensive lineman, two running backs, and one tight end. He promoted 13 players from the practice squad this season, 10 of them were lined up on the field this past Sunday. Greg Ward Jr, Boston Scott and Josh Perkins highlight a group that saved the Eagles season. While also relying on his rookie running back, Miles Sanders.
It’s been a dreadful two years for the Eagles Head Coach when it comes to finding stability in his roster. Last season, the Eagles lost their franchise QB, Carson Wentz, among many others to season-ending injuries but still, the Eagles prevailed and were only a catch away from the NFC Championship.
Now Doug Pederson has his franchise QB by his side with all the momentum swinging in his favor. Pederson has finally found a way to help Wentz succeed on the biggest stage. Wentz is the first QB in NFL history to throw for 4,000 passing yards with no receiver having more than 500 receiving yards, mind-blowing isn’t it?
That alone is a huge testament to how great a coach Doug Pederson truly is. At one point this season, Eagles fans were calling for the firing of Mike Groh and other assistants but Pederson has stood by their side throughout it all and given them credit every chance he gets.
This is without the anonymous sources, Orlando Scandrick distraction, cutting of just about every free agent who had signed that year, and a lot of outside noise. This isn’t a one-time thing. Pederson has demonstrated the same resilience and ability to draw a locker room together in times of hardship in each and every season he’s been a Head Coach. That ’emotional intelligence’ has been the key asset keeping the Eagles glued together in moments where other locker rooms would simply dissintergrate. We even saw it not too long ago, right under our nose, with Chip Kelly.
It takes a special kind of coach to keep a young quarterback zoned in, remolding a broken offense around his skillset in order to maximize the potential of the most important player on the field. More rollouts, more play-action, the Eagles are scheming around their quarterback and the offense looks totally different to how it did six weeks ago.
The Eagles were once 5-7 and deemed a team that needed to focus on the draft, now they finished 9-7 and will be hosting a playoff game against the Seattle Seahawks this Sunday. A matchup in which the Eagles are the underdogs once again.
Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports