Was Doug Pederson fired over this Philadelphia Eagles QB controversy?

Doug Pederson, Jalen Hurts #2 and Carson Wentz #11 (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Doug Pederson, Jalen Hurts #2 and Carson Wentz #11 (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

The storylines never end with the Philadelphia Eagles. On The Michael Irvin Podcast, former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman said he spoke to Doug Pederson after he was fired. From his point of view, he believes that it might have come down to the quarterback controversy. To paraphrase, he senses that Pederson believed Jalen Hurts was the quarterback going forward. Then, Aikman tweeted this today:

In all fairness, that was not a direct quote. Aikman made it very clear during the podcast that it was what he sensed from the conversation and that it was not what Doug had said. Aikman said, “I believe that it all came down to how they were going to handle Carson Wentz and that is why Pederson is now looking for a job”. That could certainly be part of it.

Let’s take a deeper look at why the Philadelphia Eagles fired Pederson.

At the same time, let’s consider the coaching suggestions Pederson reportedly made to owner Jeffrey Lurie. In case you missed it, Jeff McLane from the Philadelphia Inquirer shed some light on what these specific suggestions were:

Let’s go through this list one by one. First off, it’s no secret that the offense has severely regressed under Press Taylor. In addition to being the quarterbacks’ coach this year, he was also a passing game coordinator. Quarterback play aside, this offense lacked creativity and that’s an understatement. The route combinations were predictable.

All too often we saw wideouts 10-15 yards downfield usually just running three or four verticals. Keep in mind that this offensive line couldn’t hold up. The west coast offense is supposed to be about scheming receivers into space underneath horizontally with crossers, drag routes, slants, flats, the mesh concept, the drive concept, and more. These weren’t completely omitted but overall, it would’ve been nice to see the short game utilized more.

Carson Wentz deserves plenty of blame for how he played this year. That is a fact. It was difficult to watch. Taylor also shoulders some of the blame as well. Since Wentz’s ACL injury, his mechanics have regressed. His numbers don’t really show that in 2018 and 2019 but it’s safe to say he had more confidence back then. He wasn’t afraid to pull the trigger.

This year, he was staring down open receivers and hesitating. In those two seasons, while his confidence was up, his footwork was still sloppy. He still had a wide base and pigeon-toed on throws to his left. Taylor never fixed it.

This wasn’t Doug’s only confusing suggestion for the Philadelphia Eagles.

As NJ.com’s Chris Franklin said in a recent podcast, Jalen Hurts made strides since training camp. He said that Marty Mornhinweg deserves a lot of credit for that. Hurts still bailed out of the pocket prematurely, struggled with accuracy, and made some poor decisions. That is not unusual to see out of a young quarterback. It’s just difficult to believe that Press Taylor can be the guy to develop Hurts or be the offensive coordinator.

On top of that, Andrew Breiner played a part in the Philadelphia Eagles’ disastrous offensive performance. From 2018-2019, he was the quarterbacks’ coach for Mississippi State. Looking at the Bulldogs’ passing game and quarterbacks specifically, it’s a mystery as to how he was brought onto the Eagles staff. What’s even more confusing is that Pederson wanted to promote him to quarterbacks coach. That’s not exactly the guy you want developing Hurts or fixing Wentz.

To top it all off, this defense likely would’ve crumbled under Matt Burke or Cory Undlin. Burke was the defensive coordinator under Adam Gase in Miami from 2017-2018. Despite having some talent on that defense, the output was ugly. Undlin was the defensive coordinator for a Detroit Lions defense that was dead last in the league in yards and points allowed in 2020.

The Philadelphia Eagles’ quarterback controversy could’ve been a reason for Doug’s firing as Aikman said. If the reports about these coaching suggestions are accurate, this definitely played a major part though. Since Pederson was a former high school coach who has only coached under Andy Reid at the NFL level, he has limited connections around the league. It was only a matter of time before the Eagles needed to head in a different direction.

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Last year, Doug sounded like he planned on keeping Mike Groh and Carson Walch. Shortly after he said that they were fired. It’s likely that it was Lurie’s decision. Who knows at this point. There are a lot of conflicting reports about the whole situation. Maybe Pederson was trying to get fired because of the lack of control he had. That’s just speculation but regardless of who the quarterback is, those coaching suggestions were never going to work out.