Pederson makes strong impression at introduction

If first impressions are any indication, the Eagles definitely found all of the qualities they were looking for in Doug Pederson.

At his introductory press conference on Tuesday, Doug Pederson was named the 23rd coach in Philadelphia Eagles franchise history and made clear how grateful he is for the opportunity and why he feels he is the man for the job.

"I’m standing here before you just a humbled human being," Pederson said. "They were going to select the best man for the job. They feel that they have confidence in me and I’m going to show that same confidence and that same respect back and I don’t want to disappoint."

"With all of us and our advisers, we unanimously came to the conclusion that the best man for the job and the best leader in this process was Doug Pederson,” Jeffrey Lurie said. “The main features with Doug that really impressed all of us were, first, real smart, a strategic thinker. As a player, how he worked with our quarterbacks that he was playing with and coaching them as well was terrific. His communication skills are unparalleled. A key ingredient for me, and it kind of defines differences between candidates, and that is who is the most comfortable in their own skin. When I say that, I mean an ability to be genuine at all times."

Pederson and Lurie spoke for 45 minutes on Tuesday afternoon, making a couple of announcements while being clear that there is still a lot left to do during the offseason.

Pederson announced the hiring of Jim Schwartz as defensive coordinator and that the Eagles would be retaining special teams coordinator Dave Fipp and offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland. Lurie now sets his sights on a search for a new head of player personnel, a search that will begin this week.

One of the things that many wanted addressed was how much Howie Roseman, part of the Eagles brain trust, would be held accountable for his decisions moving forward, Lurie again reiterated the importance of accountability across the board.

"No matter what structure and ability to have a great personnel head and player personnel department, accountability will be the number one feature," Lurie said. "That goes for everybody. It goes for Howie. It goes for the player personnel head. It goes for the head coach."

But aside from the general lack of information the rest of the Eagles operations moving forward, Lurie broke down the search process to shed some light on how the Eagles not only came to the decision to hire Pederson but how they ended up with just six interviews in what was supposedly regarded as a "exhausting and extensive" search.

"In this process, we started with about 25 candidates that we completely researched," Lurie said. "That research started at some point late in the season and it gave us some time to be fully prepared for the search process.

"When we went from looking at 25 viable candidates, we then reduced it to about 10 candidates that we were very interested in, some of whom were existing head coaches on other teams waiting to see if they would be available, creating our own top tier of candidates in addition to internal candidates. There were 10 or 11 candidates that we were totally focused on."

Lurie added that four of their final 10 candidates either were retained by their teams or stayed at the college level.

As for Pederson, he comes with a history of time in Philadelphia, as a quarterback in 1999 and a coach under Andy Reid from 2009 to 2012, and certainly has the understanding of the city that helped him fit the position.

"I understand the culture and the passion of Philadelphia," Pederson said. "I experienced that as a quarterback first-hand. And now coming back, I understand what it feels like to win in this city. This city and this organization hasn’t won in quite some time. It’s my job to turn that around and you do it one day at a time. You do it one player at a time and one coach at a time."

The Eagles and Lurie had a certain list of qualities they were looking for when the search began. But they also had to attract the coaches that were going to be in the running. It didn't take much with Pederson.

"What intrigued me about coming back to Philadelphia? One is an opportunity to lead young men, an opportunity to be surrounded by quality, top-notch individuals, a tremendous owner that gives you the fullest of support," Pederson said. "My challenge to the players is that we’re going to work hard every day. As coaches, it’s our job to make you better as individuals, as men and as Philadelphia Eagles. And that’s my job, it starts with me."

Pederson comes in essentially as an unknown. Seven years ago, Pederson was coaching high school football before he joined Andy Reid's staff. Now, he's leading the Eagles. Despite the lack of head coaching experience, Pederson believes he has the qualities of a head coach from his mentors.

Pederson noted his mentorship with Reid, but was very clear to establish that as the new leader of the Eagles, he has the task of putting together a team that will represent the franchise.

"Andy Reid is a mentor. I’ll be the first to tell you that he is," Pederson said. "But I’m also here to tell you that this is not an Andy Reid football team or a Doug Pederson football team, it’s a Philadelphia Eagle football team. I’m going to bring my spin on it, my personality to it and we’re going to make it our team going forward.

"I think holding the players accountable is the most important part. It starts with me, I have to hold myself accountable and then hold my assistant coaches accountable. The message has to be one message. The one thing about coach Reid over the years, his consistency in his message of family first, in trusting one another. You can’t sacrifice hard work. Our practices were tough, but he never wavered from that. I think that consistency has made a successful football coach and those are the things that I want to bring that I’ve learned from him that I can use in my journey."

Lurie got the impression that Pederson was ready to bring a similar quality that Reid did to the Eagles for 14 seasons in his discussions with the former Eagles head coach. It was Reid's detail with Lurie that helped, but also a sound reputation around the league on Pederson that sold the Eagles.

"The detail of Andy’s analysis of Doug over the years and in the last few weeks was important because it was so thorough," Lurie said. "The experiences of Doug as a coach and how he deals with players was detailed and it was extremely valuable in terms of understanding the core of Doug Pederson. It’s something you can’t get from an interview.

"Equally as important to me were those that didn’t know Doug as well because they had a chance to really analyze him from afar. I can’t tell you the positivity of the other head coaches and general managers we talked to. It was unanimous in terms of who are the best of the up-and-coming coaches to be coaches in the NFL. I went into it just wanting to hear."

Pederson now goes from listening to his mentors to listening to his players and using what he has learned from those mentors to become a successful coach in the NFL.

"I think being a head football coach in the NFL, you have to be a great listener," Pederson said. "You have to listen to your players, you have to listen to your coaches, you have to listen to the fans. I think that makes you a better person. The people I’ve been surrounded with in my career, the Don Shulas, Mike Holmgrens, Andy Reids, being a part of championship organizations and understanding what that takes and that dynamic to win has prepared me for this opportunity."

With the entire Eagles fan base listening, Pederson spoke with the confidence that could just help him become a success in Philadelphia. The positivity the Eagles got from Pederson came through in his first impression. Now it's a matter of seeing if that confidence and positivity translates over to the field.

You can watch Pederson's introductory press conference in its entirety below.

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

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