The Philadelphia Eagles apparently have found their man.
The Associated Press and Philadelphia Daily News both report that Doug Pederson has been named the team’s new head coach, according to a source. The Eagles have yet to comment on the matter, but a source confirmed to FS1 NFL Insider Mike Garafolo that their coaching search has concluded.
A longtime backup quarterback during his NFL playing days (including briefly with the Eagles in Donovan McNabb’s rookie season in 1999), the 47-year-old Pederson has spent the past three seasons as the offensive coordinator of the Kansas City Chiefs. Before that he had a stint with the Eagles as offensive quality control coach and then quarterbacks coach under then-coach Andy Reid, currently Pederson’s boss in Kansas City.
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The hiring can’t be announced until the season concludes for the Chiefs, who are in the midst of a playoff run and face the New England Patriots this weekend.
The Eagles fired former head coach Chip Kelly on Dec. 29 with one game left in the regular season. Philadelphia finished 7-9 and has missed the playoffs the past two years.
Philadelphia also interviewed Bears OC Adam Gase, who was hired as Miami’s head coach; Giants OC Ben McAdoo, who was hired as New York’s head coach; former Giants coach Tom Coughlin; and two Eagles assistant coaches, OC Pat Shurmur and running backs coach Duce Staley.
Pederson, who didn’t interview with any other teams, isn’t a popular choice in a football-crazed town that hasn’t celebrated an NFL championship since 1960. Fans were hoping for a big-name coach (Coughlin) or a hot, young coordinator (Gase) to replace Kelly.
Instead, owner Jeffrey Lurie and his staff went for someone quite familiar to the organization. Pederson started his first NFL game with the Eagles and got his first NFL assistant coaching job in Philadelphia.
Coughlin interviewed for the job, but it didn’t seem the 69-year-old two-time Super Bowl champion would fit in with the Eagles.
Pederson started nine games at quarterback for the Eagles in 1999, grooming McNabb to take over the job for Reid’s team. He returned to Philly a decade later to work for Reid. Pederson followed Reid to Kansas City in 2013 and was promoted to offensive coordinator. The Chiefs haven’t ranked higher than 21st under Pederson.
Kelly was fired after the 15th game of this season, when the Eagles were 6-9. They went 10-6 in each of his first two seasons in charge, making the playoffs in 2013.
Kelly was hired as San Francisco 49ers coach earlier Thursday.
Pederson met with the Eagles in Kansas City last Sunday morning after the Chiefs beat Houston 30-0 to advance to the second round.
"I have a lot of respect for the organization and what they’re doing there," Pederson said Wednesday.
Pederson didn’t have much playcalling responsibilities in Kansas City because Reid prefers to call his own plays. But Reid acknowledged earlier this season that Pederson has started to share more of that burden.
Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce strongly endorsed Pederson for the job.
"One, he’s relatable. Two, the guy is brilliant in terms of an offensive mind," Kelce said. "I’m not sure how much better they get. He understands defenses, what they present. He understands strategy and things like that. But he’s a relatable guy. Guys want to play for him."
Pederson played 10 NFL seasons almost exclusively as a backup quarterback. He was with Miami, Green Bay, Philadelphia and Cleveland. He was 2-7 as a starter for the Eagles. The following year with Cleveland, he went 1-7 as a starter.
Those were his only NFL starts.
He has been credited with helping Alex Smith’s steady improvement in Kansas City.