The Philadelphia Eagles appear to be in the market for a new defensive coordinator, but the man calling the shots on offense won’t be changing. Doug Pederson will return as head coach for a sixth year, according to ESPN, and plans to meet with team owner Jeffrey Lurie on Tuesday.
NFL reporters Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen cited sources on Saturday saying Pederson had avoided the chopping block. Changes are expected for the rest of the coaching staff, most notably on defense after the reported departure of Jim Schwartz. There is also a feeling the Eagles will name an offensive coordinator in 2021 considering Pederson’s comments about wanting to have “one voice.” Lurie, who grew frustrated and “unhappy” at times this year, might have a say in those decisions.
“Look, as far as the reassurances go, listen, I expect to be here in 2021 until something else happens,” Pederson told reporters on Friday. “But that’s the confidence I have in my ability, and that’s how I’m going to approach the next few days and really 2021.”
Pederson wanted to keep his conversations with Lurie private but he did reveal that the two men would be meeting on either Monday or Tuesday to discuss the future. The 52-year-old head coach has gone 46-38-1 (including playoffs) in his five seasons at the helm in Philly.
“I’ll say they’ve usually been a day or two after our final game that he and I get together,” Pederson said of his meeting with Lurie. “Normally the day after, as you guys know, we’re wrapping up the exit physicals, wrapping up things with the team. That takes pretty much the majority of the day.”
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Alex Smith ‘On Track’ to Start for Washington
It looks like Pederson will be seeing a familiar face under center for the Washington Football Team. Alex Smith is “on track” to start on Sunday night after making it through Friday’s practice “feeling fine,” per the Washington Post. Smith has missed the last two games while recovering from a calf strain.
Pederson served as Smith’s offensive coordinator for three seasons (2013-15) in Kansas City where the 36-year-old quarterback earned a Pro Bowl nod. He threw for 10,064 yards and 61 touchdowns in 46 starts under Pederson’s tutelage. Smith went 30-16 and took the Chiefs to the playoffs twice during that span.
“I’ll tell you something, I really have a lot of respect for Alex Smith, for him and his family,” Pederson told reporters on Friday. “Again, the way he has come back from this adversity in his career with the injury and putting him in a position to play this season and potentially start this game Sunday night. My hat goes off to him.”
The Eagles head coach was referring to Smith’s improbable comeback from a life-threatening injury. He underwent 17 surgeries for a spiral and compound fracture to his right tibia and fibula in 2018. He was literally fighting for his life after contracting sepsis and almost had his leg amputated. He returned to the field for the first time in two years on Oct. 11.
Pederson said: “It doesn’t surprise me that he’s been in this position because our time in Kansas City for three years, just watching him work, the work ethic that he has for himself, number one, to be the best player that he can be, but also within the team, how he can elevate and make things run smoothly with his offenses.”