Doug, you can do it. You can color outside the lines of the Andy Reid blueprint.
Don't do it just to be different or out of hubris. Do it because you analyzed one of the Reid's long-established habits, concluded that it wasn't effective and found a better answer.
For example, Reid's offensive play-calling arrangement is cumbersome. When Reid has called plays as head coach, both with the Eagles and Chiefs, he has radioed the call to his offensive coordinator, who has in turn passed it along to the quarterback.
Having an intermediary is unnecessary. Asked in June why it was done that way, Doug Pederson said that he could not have a third channel, and rather than use one on the quarterback, he preferred that his two channels were for offense and defense.
As head coach, Pederson's rationale made sense except for one thing: He can have three channels. Alerted to this fact, the new Eagles coach, to his credit, admitted that he had made a mistake.
But did he make an error because he hadn't studied the rules or because he never thought to question Reid's methodology? Both are potentially troubling, but the latter would suggest that Pederson either doesn't have the wherewithal to identify coaching inefficiencies or the curiosity to want to identify them.
Maybe there's a valid explanation for Reid's three-step play-calling method. But adding another layer increases the chances for communication breakdown. There is a lot of verbiage in West Coast offense terminology. Haven't Reid and Pederson ever played Whisper Down the Lane?
Adding another leg to the relay can only add time to the process. And time is of the utmost importance for any quarterback.
"My only preference is that it comes in as quick as possible," Eagles quarterback Sam Bradford said Monday. "Obviously, the quicker I get the play call, the quicker I can call it in the huddle, the more time we have on the play clock, and the more time we have to make adjustments at the line of scrimmage."
Those additional seconds save the use of timeouts. And they are invaluable during the two-minute offense. Is it any surprise that Reid has had game management issues during his coaching career?
Pederson maintains that he will call the offense this season and not offensive coordinator Frank Reich. If so, eliminating Reich from the equation would seem like a no-brainer.
"That's something I'm still kind of mulling over just a little bit," Pederson said last week.
There is a lot for a head coach to juggle on game days. But most coaches use all three channels, even if they aren't responsible for calling offensive plays.
"With the game management situations and time management and just managing your roster and the trainers and substitutions and everything, there's a lot involved," Pederson said. "But I'm still working through that. We'll see where that ends up."
There is obvious concern about Pederson on Sundays. He has never called or managed an entire game. He has said that he called the second half of the Chiefs' final 12 games last season. Kansas City's decision not to hurry up late in the playoff loss to the Patriots, even though they trailed by two scores, has drawn criticism.
If Pederson were to drift from the Reid playbook, Sundays would be a good start. But his decision to stick to the template the rest of the week is a sound one. Reid has been described as a Hall of Fame-caliber coach Monday through Saturday.
"This schedule that we're about to partake for training camp, it took this team to many NFC championship games. It took them to the Super Bowl, and it's won a ton of games," Pederson said.
It's also the only NFL system he's ever known as a coach. Some head coaches crib most of their ideas from one source, but most worked in multiple systems before rising to the top. They've spent their careers establishing a general scheme and philosophy that is culled from the best and worst of their experiences.
It's not Pederson's fault he spent his entire coaching career and most of his playing career in one system. But it should have concerned Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie. And it should worry him that Pederson hasn't diverted an inch from Reid's schedule or that he hasn't yet realized the play-calling inefficiencies.
There can be too much change for change's sake. Chip Kelly was an innovator, and his practices were as organized as any. But there was an element of showing off to his sessions. Did having five quarterbacks throw at once really improve their ability to win games on Sundays? Did the breakneck pace really benefit the players?
Kelly never stopped scrimmages for instruction. The teaching took place later in the classroom. Pederson allows his coaches to jump in and correct players immediately after their mistakes.
"It's the only way we're going to get better. It's the only way," Pederson said. "You know, I'm also a believer that you spend time in the meeting room at night watching the tape and making corrections there, as well. But if you can get that immediate feedback right now on the field . . ."
Pederson's padded practices have been longer than Kelly's - approximately three hours vs. two - and there has been more hitting. The Eagles were in shells and shorts on Monday after two padded practices. But when they return following Tuesday's off day, five of the next six days will be in pads.
"When they come off the break," Pederson said, "it's going to be a ball buster."
Just like Reid's practices.