The Eagles are about to enter week two of their search for Doug Pederson’s replacement. As targets start to fly off the board, which traits should they be prioritizing in their new hire?
Perhaps the biggest trait the Eagles need to search for is flexibility. I don’t mean physically, although seeing Todd Bowles do the limbo would be a once in a lifetime experience, but in terms of scheme.
What the Eagles have struggled to do for quite some time now is bend their schemes around newly acquired players in order to play to their strengths. Whether that’s Jalen Reagor on offense, or the likes of Sidney Jones and Rasul Douglas on defense, the previous coaches would double-down on their own offensive principles over and over again.
If you look back to the 2018 season where Golden Tate’s implementation didn’t happen for the best part of a month, that pattern didn’t exactly fade away after he left during that coming offseason.
The Eagles need a Head Coach who knows the strengths and weaknesses of his players and will bend his scheme around them as opposed to trying to force them into holes they simply don’t fit into.
The phrase has almost become a meme after Jeffrey Lurie first mentioned it five years ago during the team’s last search for a Head Coach, but its sentiment holds true.
Doug Pederson was criticized for the best part of an entire season and rightly so. But before the ‘tankgate’ in week 17, was there ever a moment where a player turned on him? Were there any ‘anonymous sources’ speaking out in angst over his actions? The answer is no.
Through all the good, bad, and ugly, that the 2020 season had to offer, they always were always bought in and never doubted an aggressive decision or Pederson’s coaching ability. This is down to his emotional engagement with his team and it’s something the Eagles will need to ensure they replace if they are to have any hope of replicating that incredible 2017 season in the future.
This doesn’t have to be the holy grail of traits, especially if they’re planning on hiring a defensive mind. But it makes sense to at the very least circle it in as much red ink as you have. The Eagles have a broken quarterback on a $127M deal, and a second-round pick who has a high upside but plays a very different game.
The Eagles have to find someone who can either help fix Carson Wentz, or facilitate the growth of Jalen Hurts. Both would be fantastic, but with the number of fireworks already flying this offseason, going all-in on one makes sense in order to quieten the deafening noise.
A track-record of developing of young players
Most coaching candidates should have this, but not all do. Joe Brady may be the best example of someone that does, having turned players into future stars at LSU.
The Eagles are in a deep cap hole and have a few age-related concerns across the roster. It’s likely that Howie Roseman will continue to shovel draft picks into the NovaCare Complex, but over the last 3-4 years, very few have lived up to their potential.
That has to stop.
Time is of the essence and the team cannot afford to keep wasting draft ammunition on players who turn out to be nothing. Is it a talent evaluation problem, or a coaching problem? Prioritize the coaching and we’ll soon find out.
Not just for himself, but for the players and coaches too. When was the last time we heard anything internally negative about Press Taylor, who has watched Carson Wentz regress under his nose while no consequence has followed?
Doug Pederson walked up to the post-game podium for 16 weeks and said ‘it starts with me’. It ultimately ended with him. Actions speak louder than words and it’s absolutely imperative that the new Head Coach is able to hold himself and those around him accountable.
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