New Eagles coach Pederson gets his chance

The first name that surfaced in the Eagles coaching search was a total unknown. In the end, he was the only name left on a short-list of candidates. Doug Pederson was officially hired by the Eagles on Monday and will be introduced on Tuesday at an introductory press conference.

While the search left Jeffrey Lurie and Howie Roseman to face scrutiny for what seemed like a lack of diligence on their part, Pederson essentially got a raw deal.

He is an unknown. He has no more head coaching experience than candidates Adam Gase or Ben McAdoo. So why the hostility for a head coach that doesn't have much of a track record?

Well, that's just it. When there's nothing to base an opinion off other than four seasons with the Eagles at the end of Andy Reid's tenure in Philadelphia and three seasons with a total of one playoff win in Kansas City, it's hard to make a good first impression based on track record alone.

So this is Pederson's chance. This is where he gets to prove that he can make it as an NFL head coach and endear himself to Eagles fans the way Reid did for over a decade. 

Pederson's raw deal stems from four seasons ago. The love affair with Reid was over. Fans wanted change. They got big change when Chip Kelly came into town.

Three years later, the Eagles are left picking up the pieces from Kelly while essentially having to start over.

By bringing in a total unknown, doubt is natural. Add in the Chiefs debacle in the final two minutes with, you guessed it, clock management, and it becomes all the more magnified.

This was the guy that many called "Andy Reid 2.0." 

It's fair to say Eagles fans went from having enough of Andy Reid after 14 seasons to wanted to get back the consistency and regular playoff appearances in the three years that Chip Kelly was in Philadelphia. But they probably weren't looking for his inexperienced understudy.

Still, as with every new head coach, this serves as an opportunity for Pederson to prove he can coach in the NFL and call the shots for a team that desperately needs a change in direction.

Pederson has been through a lengthy journey of his own to get to this position. After a 12-year playing career, Pederson started out as a high school coach in 2006 before making the leap to Reid's staff in 2009. Seven seasons later, Pederson is now an NFL head coach.

Perhaps that was the thinking from the Eagles brain trust as well. The Eagles roster is not in a position to contend any time soon. They still do not have a franchise quarterback. They are still looking to form out an offense and defense that can put them back among the NFL's top teams. That said, why not give a new coach a chance to see what can happen in just a couple of seasons. 

If the Eagles would have done this with one of the more attractive names, like Gase, they would have set an expectation for competing next season. And to them, that could still be the case, but with Pederson aboard, expectations are instantly lowered while they work to form a team that better suits his style, which will be similar to Reid's.

It isn't the ideal situation, but the Eagles were also left with a less-than-ideal situation from the aftermath of the Chip Kelly era. With the slate wiped clean, in comes Pederson, ready to make the leap to being the leader.

The Eagles familiarity with Pederson made his hiring seem like a safe choice for Lurie and company after the innovative and yet risky nature of Chip Kelly's hiring. But in reality, the Eagles are taking a chance on Pederson. It is in Pederson's hands now to make or break the opportunity.

Kevin Durso is managing editor for Eagledelphia. Follow him on Twitter @Kevin_Durso.

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