Doug Pederson could land on his feet as the Jets’ head coach.
The NFL coaching carousel picked up another passenger today when Doug Pederson was fired by the Philadelphia Eagles. Pederson fell out of favor in Philadelphia after a disastrous 4-11-1 season that included memorable controversies such as playing for a tie against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 2 and actively tanking the Eagles’ season finale in Washington.
The good news for Pederson is that there are still six other teams looking for head coaches and a guy with a Super Bowl title as well as three playoff appearances in five years on his resume will generate interest. Pederson will surely get interviews but the vacancy he may be the most well-matched to is the one in New York.
When we broke down the Jets’ coaching candidates prior to Week 17 we did mention Pederson as a possibility then.
For the purposes of this exercise, we aren’t including any coaches who were employed as of Week 17, which disqualifies Doug Pederson, who would probably shoot to the top of New York’s wish list due to a pre-existing relationship with Douglas.
Jets’ GM Joe Douglas has been casting a wide net interviewing candidates to succeed Adam Gase but he has a pre-existing relationship with Pederson dating back to their time together in Philadelphia. Douglas raved about Pederson during an interview with ESPN’s Adam Schefter in 2019, specifically citing the following about him.
“Just the way Doug handled his first year. We started off 3-0, things were looking great, we lost some guys, we hit some pot holes along the way, we finished the season 7-9 and the way that he attacked that offseason and how he was able to unify the team with his messaging. And the type of guy he is, he’s as genuine and authentic of a person as you’ll ever meet. He’s a guy who says what he means, and means what he says, and players believe in him and they believe in his aggressive mindset, and so I love how he managed the team.”
Are the Jets a realistic landing spot for Doug Pederson?
Relationships mean a lot in the NFL and Douglas got to watch Pederson work up close for three years as the Eagles were transformed into a Super Bowl champion. Pederson would bring some instant credibility to the Jets’ locker room as a head coach with a Super Bowl ring but he also brings with him some uncanny parallels to Gase’s hire two years ago.
Gase was nowhere near as accomplished as Pederson but landed the Jets’ job after having the Dolphins’ players turn on him and getting into a fight with ownership on his way out the door. Pederson received heat in his own locker room for how he handled Week 17 and saw his relationship with Carson Wentz fracture long before that, leading to speculation that Wentz would seek a trade to get out of Philadelphia.
There is no question that Pederson will likely interview with the Jets this week but Douglas needs to be able to find out exactly what went wrong with the Eagles before advancing Pederson in the coaching search. Douglas’ familiarity and working relationship with Pederson could be a unifying factor but simply elevating him ahead of the talented candidates they have interviewed to this point due to familiarity would be a mistake.
The Jets have to be sure that Pederson is the right guy for the job if they choose to move in that direction. Pederson will have to work hard to sell himself as the best fit here because there aren’t as many clear cut opportunities for him to stay a head coach as there would be in New York.