Doug Pederson’s job may not be safe, according to an ESPN report.
The Philadelphia Eagles coach was believed to be returning in 2021, and he had remained in place long after most NFL coaches are typically fired, but ESPN reported Sunday morning that his status was “not firm” and he could be fired.
Pederson could be out if Eagles owner “Jeffrey Lurie is not confident about Pederson’s vision going forward after the two meet again soon,” the report said. “Lurie’s concerns extend well beyond (quarterback) Carson Wentz.”
Lurie and Pederson met Tuesday, two days after the Eagles ended the season with a 4-11-1 record. It was the team’s worst record in eight years and third-worst in the owner’s 26-plus years in Philadelphia. But the coach had expressed confidence in his return because of his overall accomplishments, namely winning the Super Bowl three years ago.
The season ended in controversy when Pederson seemingly threw the last game against Washington when he pulled quarterback Jalen Hurts for Nate Sudfeld. He denied it and said that he simply wanted to give Sudfeld playing time. Still, multiple players and coaches were shocked and outraged by the timing of the quarterback change — the Eagles were down only three points early in the fourth quarter — team sources told The Inquirer last week.
It’s unclear if Pederson could have tanked the game without owner approval.
The Eagles have regressed in each of the seasons since and Wentz struggled significantly in 2020. The team already has a major decision to make at quarterback and at defensive coordinator after Jim Schwartz decided to take a break from coaching.
General manager Howie Roseman was never considered to be in jeopardy of losing his job. While Pederson said that his relationship with Roseman has been good, there have been indications that the two have decreasingly seen eye to eye on personnel, team sources said.
Wentz, meanwhile, reportedly wants to be traded because his relationship with Pederson is beyond repair. The coach has said that he still believes in the 28-year-old quarterback and that he thinks he can return to form. Still, if the relationship is damaged, and Lurie/Roseman want Wentz back, it could be another reason Pederson’s job isn’t safe.
If Pederson was uncomfortable with some of the changes Lurie had asked him to make, it could be another reason why there hasn’t been a resolution. He was forced to fire offensive coordinator Mike Groh last year, per NFL sources, and to hire replacements. Pederson wasn’t keen on the idea of having to make major changes again as of last week, sources close to the coach said.
Pederson has mentored pass game coordinator/quarterbacks coach Press Taylor and was considering promoting him as offensive coordinator, one source said.
“The head coach picks his staff,” another source said.
There are currently six head coach openings in the NFL — the Texans, Jaguars, Chargers, New York Jets, Lions and Falcons. Interviews have been under way for some time, and the Eagles would be getting in late, but there has yet to be a hire.
Pederson has two years remaining on the contract extension he signed in August 2018.