Doug Pederson is coaching and talking like he wants to force Jeffrey Lurie to add him to the unemployment spike.
At this point, Lurie not only has to be concerned with the losing — the Eagles stand 3-6-1 and, despite having the best record, they clearly are the fourth-best team in the four-team NFC East — but also with the fact that the team is getting worse.
At this point, Lurie has to be alarmed at Carson Wentz’s regression.
It’s more than just that. It’s as if Pederson is forcing Lurie’s hand so Pederson can escape an unpleasant job with dim prospects. And so, wittingly or not, Pederson has become a boorish embarrassment, unwilling to conduct himself with the grace and professionalism required of a person representing a $2 billion corporation.
Pederson has become an irritable, petulant bully, prone to sarcasm, increasingly bitter and petty. Not only has he abandoned the “emotional intelligence“ that Lurie admires so much, he seems to have abandoned basic intelligence as well. The best leaders don’t lead like this. It sets a bad example, erodes accountability, and creates an atmosphere of blame-casting. Pederson has two years and, according to one source, $10 million left on his contract. That’s pretty good hiatus money.
Pederson always has been testy but he hasn’t been this bad in the past; then again, in the past he hasn’t suffered the current hurricane of injuries, the ineptness of Wentz, and the resultant quarterback controversy.
Pederson stubbed his toe on the QB issue once more Wednesday. He initially declined to declare that Wentz would remain his starter when the Seahawks visit Monday night.
Asked if he was considering benching Wentz in favor of rookie backup Jalen Hurts, Pederson replied,
“Not today, on Wednesday, no.”
Does that mean, later this week, you will consider benching Wentz?
“I don’t know.”
You don’t know?!
“I mean, I would say, no. No. No.”
Pressed again on whether Wentz would start Monday night, Pederson replied, “Yes.”
His final question of the day asked for clarity on the matter. Pederson did not provide it. Asked if he thought about replacing Wentz, Pederson said:
“I think about a lot of things. The question was, ‘Is Carson my starter?’ He’s my starter, end of story. You guys can blow it up however you want it, and that’s fine.”
“Blow it up?” All Pederson had to do to keep anyone from blowing it up was to say, in response to the first question:
“No, I’m not considering replacing Carson Wentz.”
Instead, we got “Not today.” “I don’t know.” And, “I think about a lot of things.”
This is nuts. It’s not as if Pederson was asked if Nate Herbig would replace Matt Pryor at right guard. He was asked if the $128 million franchise quarterback — the highest-paid player in club history — would be replaced by an untested, controversial second-round pick due to consistently putrid play.
Oddly, this version of Pederson has become more common.
Asked last week if he was concerned about Hurts’ three fumbles when Hurts has been inserted as a gadget-play weapon, Pederson, incredibly and inaccurately, blamed Hurts’ fumbles on center Jason Kelce. (Hurts also had fumbling issues at both Alabama and Oklahoma).
Asked last week why he didn’t replace Wentz with a receiver when Hurts enters the game, Pederson snidely called that a “great idea.” He then left Wentz on the field for Hurts’ only snap Sunday.
Asked last month if he’d complained about Wentz to Brett Favre after Favre said the Eagles should’ve kept Nick Foles instead of Wentz, Pederson needed three chances before he finally said, “Carson’s our guy.”
Why was Pederson’s hesitation concerning Wentz a big deal Wednesday? Because this is Pederson’s second mistake this week in regard to the quarterback situation.
Asked Monday whether he would consider benching Wentz if the Eagles weren’t still in playoff contention, Pederson replied:
“That’s a hypothetical question, and I’m not getting into that.”
He did not reply, “No.”
Doug. These are not trick questions.
It’s like he wants to get fired.
If Lurie pulls this trigger he would have several in-house options. Assistant head coach Duce Staley is primed for a head coaching job. Both defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz and offensive adviser Marty Mornhinweg have been head coaches.
You can’t blame Pederson if he’s trying to get the axe.
In January, less than 24 hours after Pederson endorsed his offensive coordinator and his receivers coach, Lurie and general manager Howie Roseman fired them. Lurie and Roseman then installed a network of offensive assistants engineered to undermine Pederson’s absolute authority.
In April, Lurie and Roseman drafted Hurts with a second-round pick. That draft choice could have been used to bolster the receiving corps or to add a plug-and-play-linebacker. Either the receiver or linebacker also would have played on special teams. Instead, Hurts has taken 31 snaps in 10 games. Also: Nate Sudfeld, whom Pederson spent three years grooming as a backup quarterback, hasn’t even dressed since Game One.
The roster stinks, too.
The offensive line is decrepit. The receivers are old, ineffective, or both. The linebackers stink, the D-line is a disappointment, and running back Miles Sanders, hurt twice this season, has issues fumbling. And, after two major injuries Wentz might, in fact, be broken.
At this point, lots of pastures must look greener than the Eagles’; the Jets, for instance, whose winless season to this point assuredly will end Adam Gase’s tenure in a few weeks. Pederson gets along well with Jets GM Joe Douglas, who built the Eagles’ Super Bowl team, and the Jets are almost certain to draft Clemson star Trevor Lawrence, the best QB prospect since Andrew Luck.
One thing’s for sure:
If Pederson does wind up interviewing for another job, he’ll have to answer their questions better than he’s answering ours.