Although football season has ended, the offseason has begun. The Eagles started the offseason by hiring Doug Pederson, taking the old Jeffrey Lurie “conservative” approach with this hire. A little history on Pederson… He was the offensive coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs under Andy Reid. He was also the backup quarterback to Brett Favre when Reid was the quarterbacks coach in Green Bay. When Reid became the Eagles head coach, he took Pederson with him. Pederson was the mentor to Donovan McNabb before McNabb ultimately became the full-time starter. And the rest was history.
Reid is all Lurie knows. So considering Lurie’s history with how he does things, the Pederson hire should not have come to much of a surprise to anyone. With Reid having been here for 14 years, Chip Kelly was a breath of fresh air, plus he was the hot coach at the time. However, things obviously did not work out. Kelly was the anti-Reid. Whether it was his lack of relationships with his players and coworkers, or the fact that he was power hungry, the Kelly experiment was doomed from the start. Now enter Pederson (Andy Reid 2.0).
I expect Doug Pederson will run things like the way they used to be. He understands how Andy Reid used to run the show in Philadelphia and he helped Reid and the Chiefs make the AFC playoffs. Howie Roseman was part of the old regime, and he is now basically back to having his general manager responsibilities. Roseman started the offseason by resigning some of the core players on the Eagles roster, which included Lane Johnson, Zach Ertz, and Vinny Curry. The Eagles are also trying to get a long-term deal done with Fletcher Cox. They’ll most likely have to use the franchise tag on him. If that’s the case then Cox should be due a hefty contract after next season. The Eagles will be switching to a 4-3 defense this year under new defensive coordinator, Jim Schwartz, and Cox should thrive in his new position as a defensive tackle. Cox was originally drafted as a 4-3 defensive tackle, but when Kelly arrived, he had to play the five technique as 3-4 defensive end in Chip’s 3-4 defense. Cox had two All-Pro seasons playing defensive end; imagine what he could do at his most natural position.
Brandon Graham was able to adapt to the 3-4 scheme, like Cox, but Graham played outside linebacker having to occasionally drop in coverage. But his true position is a 4-3 defensive end, and when the Eagles played in 4-3 packages, it was pretty clear that was where Graham was most comfortable, and most importantly, more effective. Curry was also drafted as a 4-3 defensive end. Curry has played extremely well in pass rushing situations, but he was one of the few players who couldn’t really adapt to the 3-4 scheme. The bulk of the little playing time he had came in third down pass rushing situations. But when playing, Curry was a disruptive force in the backfield.
The Eagles defensive personal might fit more of a 4-3 scheme, and Schwartz may be the best candidate for the job. Schwartz was out of coaching last year, but in 2014, in his lone year as the defensive coordinator for the Buffalo Bills, he did a phenomenal job. They finished as a top five defense while leading the league in sacks.
However, Schwartz’ defense does not consist of a lot of blitzing. He is known to use a “Wide 9” technique for his defensive ends, allowing them to use their speed in order to get to the quarterback. Curry and Graham should thrive in this system. And assuming Cox demands as many double teams as he has over the past couple years, this front seven can be dangerous.
A potential starting defense could consist of Graham and Curry at the end positons. Cox and Logan look to be the interior linemen, and linebackers should consist of Kiko Alonso, Jordan Hicks and Mychal Kendricks, with Hicks in the middle.
For the secondary, Walter Thurmond may be back in Philadelphia at safety due to the fact that he doesn’t play the run as well. He thrived in Kelly’s defense because of his versatility and because it wasn’t his responsibility to make tackles. Schwartz may want a more rounded safety like Malcolm Jenkins. While that leaves a hole at safety, the cornerback position is very interesting. Eric Rowe has one corner spot locked up, and for the other, it looked as if Nolan Carroll deserved to be resigned. However, the Eagles still have to pay Byron Maxwell’s huge deal he signed with them last offseason, so it wouldn’t be surprising if Maxwell is handed the job, even though he was outplayed by Carroll.
With everything that has happened so far this offseason, it seems as if the Eagles are back to their old ways; a West Coast offense, a 4-3 defense, and Howie Roseman.
However, the “old way” gave us one Super Bowl appearance, five NFC Championship appearances and nine playoff appearances. Even though all the fans want is a ring, no one can deny Reid’s success as the Eagles head coach.
Now Reid’s old pupil, Pederson, will be manning the ship, and we’ll see how far he can take the Philadelphia Eagles and their fans.
Pederson has options at the helm, and can hopefully take advantage of the roster infront of him.
The Eagles aren’t a team looking to take a huge step back, but instead, continue pushing forward.
Ferris Berlin is a first-year student majoring in accounting. He can be reached at FB845767@wcupa.edu.