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Making the case for Doug Pederson (or, at least, a guy like him)

Doug Pederson is not as counterintuitive a candidate as he may seem. Think it through with me.

There is a strong case to be made for Doug Pederson. At this point, it is an extremely hypothetical case, given my lack of direct experience with the man. But those who are focusing on his lack of playcalling experience are missing out on the biggest reason for his appeal.

Start scrolling through his career, and you realize that he is pretty much the Kevin Bacon of NFL assistants. He has direct experience with an amazing number of offensive and defensive schemes thanks to his time as a journeyman quarterback. One of the biggest challenges facing any new coach is the task of building a quality coaching staff. A new head coach can't hire coordinators who are under contract elsewhere, which means he needs to rely on first and second-hand knowledge of position coaches across the league in order to find one capable of the task. That's a problem for a lot of head coaching candidates, given that many of them have spent their careers as assistants following the same head coaches around. It isn't nececessarily that they are a poor judge of talent or scheme. It's that they've only ever really been immersed in a small selection of schemes with a small selection of coaches.

That right there is the appeal of Pederson.

In addition to the Reid coaching tree, he has played under Mike Holmgren, Darrell Bevell, Romeo Crennel, Joe Philbin, Mike Sherman, Tom Rossley, Todd Bowles, Marty Mornhinweg.

He is currently on a staff with defensive coordintor Bob Sutton, whose unit has ranked fifth, second and third in points over the last three years and 24th, seventh and seventh in yards. He was a long time assistant for the Jets under Eric Mangini and Rex Ryan, including a stint as a defensive coordinator of a staff that included future Legion of Boom DC(and current Falcons head coach) Dan Quinn and current Bills DC Dennis Thurman.

As a back-up quarterback, he had to learn a slew of offenses to the extent that he could spend gamedays as an extra coach. He watched quarterbacks like Brett Favre and Donovan McNabb at various stages of their careers. He learned what worked for them, what didn't. One can argue a back-up quarterback has watched more football with a coaching eye than anybody. The breadth of their knowledge is remarkable if you think about all of the different players and coaches they have watched from an arm's length. A back-up quarterback gets a first-hand view of the offensive starters of every team that he is on. He spends his career watching them from the sidelines, just like a coach.

Perhaps most intriguing is the fact that Pederson has a long history with offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur, who was his quarterbacks coach in 1999, and whose father Fritz was the longtime defensive coordinator in Green Bay during Pederson's years as a player there (although Shurmur had moved on to become offensive coordinator in St. Louis by the time Pederson joined the Eagles' staff in 2009).

The Chip Kelly era turned so bad so fast that it is easy to forget that his offense resulted in the two highest-scoring teams in franchise history. He won 26 games in three seasons with Michael Vick, Nick Foles, Mark Sanchez and Sam Bradford at quarterback. Foles, Sanchez and Bradford all seemed to operate his passing concepts with ease. All three had their most productive NFL seasons under Kelly. Kelly's weakness wasn't that he was a dummy. It was almost as if his mind moved way too fast to enable him to take a step back and look at the big picture some times. But that doesn't seem to be a problem with Shurmur, who showed that, at the very least, he was an active enough participant in Kelly's offense that he could run it for a day and make it look even better than it did under Kelly this season.

That's not a suggestion that the Eagles should hire a guy who will keep Shurmur and run Kelly's offense. It's a suggestion that Shurmur is a guy who spent three years learning and evaluating Chip Kelly's playbook and philosophies, which expands his knowledge base in a way that few other NFL assistants can boast. And any concerns about Pederson's lack of playcalling experience or his thin coaching resume in general might be alleviated by the presence of an offensive coordinator who has called plays for three different teams under three different systems since leaving the system that Pederson currently runs in Kansas City. Essentially, you'd be combining all of the knowledge both men had gleaned from two of the most progressive and successful offensive playcallers that the NFL has seen since the days of Walsh and Holmgren.

Again, this is all hypothetical. Pederson might be dummy. Although having Reid in his corner - not just as an advocate, but as a support system as he fills out his staff and navigates the new waters of head coaching - would be a humungous strength. Think about all of the connections he can work around the league as he searches for a defensive coordinator capable of installing a scheme that can finally right the ship on that side of the ball.

The more I think about it, the more a guy with Pederson's profile makes sense. Hypothetically, at least.