What to expect from Doug Pederson in 2017
By Ryan Quigley
How will Doug Pederson do in his second season as the Philadelphia Eagles’ head coach?
Quarterback Carson Wentz is entering his second season as the Philadelphia Eagles‘ starter under center. While much of the focus is on him, Doug Pederson is also entering his second season as the Eagles’ head coach. Will he take a step forward in 2017?
There’s no reason to assume he won’t.
In 2016, Pederson led the Eagles to a 7-9 record. The team didn’t make the playoffs, which wasn’t fun and shouldn’t count as much of an accomplishment. However, a large portion of first-year head coaches don’t always have the kind of success Pederson did in their first season.
People sometimes forget that, for the most part, the Eagles were actually pretty good last season. It certainly didn’t seem that way when the team went through a five-game losing streak in the middle of the season, but a deeper look shows the Eagles were a much better team than their record indicated.
Of the Eagles’ nine losses in 2016, six of them were decided by seven points or less. Their loss against the Detroit Lions in Week 5 can be blamed mostly on a Ryan Mathews fumble, which gave Detroit the ball in the waning minutes of the contest. A fumble also shifted the momentum in their Week 8 loss against the Dallas Cowboys. Had those two bounces gone the Eagles’ way, Philadelphia could have very easily finished the year with a winning record.
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Pederson also wasn’t afraid to be gutsy with his play calls. This can sometimes be a bad thing, but, as noted by PhillyVoice’s Jimmy Kempski, Pederson was mostly responsible when being gutsy on fourth down plays. Were the plays always executed? No. But that’s not to say Pederson was wrong to try and make something happen.
Clearly, Pederson had a pretty sound inaugural season as head coach. Will he make a leap forward in 2017? It’s impossible to say. But, at the very least, we know the Eagles were a solid team despite having a rookie head coach last season. With an improved group of on-field personnel, it’s fair to suggest he will.