When Doug Pederson shared a split Zoom call screen with Howie Roseman, everyone assumed his job was safe and secure with the Philadelphia Eagles. Not so fast, according to a new ESPN report.
Pederson’s future as head coach is still in question as team owner Jeffrey Lurie continues to assess his “vision going forward,” per ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, and Lurie’s concerns extend well beyond Carson Wentz. Pederson first met with Lurie on Jan. 5 for a detailed discussion about the 2020 season and how to approach the future. It appears the 69-year-old billionaire didn’t like everything he heard. Now the two men will reportedly meet today (Jan. 11) in Florida to hash it out again.
Lurie has traditionally been a hands-off owner, preferring to let his coaches and general managers control the football operations and make tough personnel decisions. It’s been that way dating back to the Andy Reid era and he hinted at that during his state-of-the-team address in late August.
“Most of the head coaches that I’ve had over the 20-something years have obviously been quarterback tutors, and I believe in that, but I also believe that a coach constructs his own staff,” Lurie told reporters on Aug. 30. “My approach has always been to have weekly dialogue, weekly involvement with all aspects of our operation, and at the same time have enough respect and trust in our head coach, general manager, to let them make the decisions.”
Has something changed? There were reports earlier this year he had grown “frustrated” by some of Pederson’s actions, including not benching Wentz sooner. There have also been murmurs that he wasn’t on board with the alleged move to intentionally tank the season finale.
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Lurie ‘Won’t Just Ignore’ Decision to Tank
The common belief around those in the know is that Lurie was clued into the decision to tank against the Washington Football Team. He likely had a conversation — either before the game or during it — with Pederson and Roseman with the three leaders agreeing to it. Remember, the Eagles moved up three draft picks, from No. 9 to No. 6, by losing the game.
However, the optics have been terrible and the fallout worse. The national media has blasted the organization for setting a bad precedent, including some calling for the NFL to investigate the matter and hold back future draft picks. That won’t happen. It’s not something the league does.
Still, the ongoing conversation about it has reportedly been driving Lurie nuts. According to former Eagles president Joe Banner, it could play into Lurie re-evaluating Pederson’s future. Here is what Banner told The Inquirer‘s Paul Domowitch:
Even if he [Lurie] agreed to it and even if he was part of the decision, I’m sure he’s not happy with where it’s led. Because I know him well versus just speculating, he will recognize that there’s been damage done between the organization and the players, and that that’s really dangerous. He won’t miss that. So whether it’s in one-on-one conversations or however it may happen, with him or indirectly with him through other people, he won’t just ignore it. He’ll understand that they have to regain the players’ confidence here and their agenda and their commitment to winning.
Pederson Maintains Eagles Trying to Win
Pederson has maintained the Eagles were trying to win the game throughout the ordeal. The head coach claimed he informed the team that Nate Sudfeld would be inserted for Jalen Hurts at some point, but didn’t lay out a specific situation for the move to happen.
That’s been the rub. If the Eagles were getting blown out, then it probably wouldn’t have been a problem. Since they were only down by a field goal, well, it seemed rather bush league. Anyway, it is what it is and the controversy kind of embodied the entire 2020 campaign.
“It’s just something that — it’s not where any of us want to be,” Pederson told reporters on Jan. 5. “It’s not where our fans wanted us or expected us to be and it’s definitely not where me or Howie or where Mr. Lurie wanted us to be at this time sitting here today. We wanted to be playing in the postseason. That’s our goal every season.”
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