by Alex Poletti
Photo by AP
Despite coaching Philadelphia to their first Super Bowl victory, a series of lackluster seasons has caused the Eagles to part ways with Doug Pederson. Famously, Pederson had only coached at the high school level when he signed on with the Eagles as the Offensive quality control coordinator in 2009, and the Eagles decided to ramp up this strategy by only interviewing middle school coaches to replace him.
“I think a big part of Doug’s success was that he brought something new to the sport, he wasn’t hardened by NFL experience,” Philadelphia general manager Howie Roseman says. “The more experience he got, the worse he became. To make sure that doesn’t happen, we’ve decided to stick to the middle school coaching pool to recreate that success.”
The Eagles have been interviewing middle school coaches from across the country for the position, though sources tell The Second String that they are down to a top five. While some argue that coaches at such a low level may be unprepared for the professional scene, the Eagles have a quite different view.
“From the offensive side of the ball, there isn’t much difference between what we have in Philadelphia versus whatever these guys are dealing with at the preteen level,” Roseman explains.
The Eagles have historically had little success at the head coaching position, with Chip Kelly running a circus before the Pederson hire. However, the bright spot in their recent history was Andy Reid, who first brought on Pederson and who just won his first Super Bowl as a head coach last season with Kansas City.
“We’re looking for a little bit of Doug and a little bit of Andy,” Roseman continues. “With Doug, obviously we’re looking for the inexperience, and with Andy we’re trying to replicate someone who didn’t play football above a high school level. With no playing or coaching experience, I think we can expect big things for the future in Philadelphia.”
Though the Eagles have remained discreet throughout the hiring process, investigative journalists at The Second String have found one of the five names left on the list; Pat McDonahue, assistant coach for the Chesterbrook Penguins, a Philadelphia-area club 12u club team.
“I’m not even the coach, I’m just volunteering to try and get closer to my stepson, Jamie,” McDonahue says. “Who knows, maybe if I get this head coaching gig, Jamie will finally come with me on ‘Take Your Son to Work Day.’”