Philadelphia Eagles change course, fire head coach Doug Pederson, source says

PHILADELPHIA — The Eagles have fired coach Doug Pederson, a source told ESPN’s Dan Graziano, ending a partnership that delivered the first and only Super Bowl title in the city’s history.

Pederson was expected to remain as coach despite a 4-11-1 finish, but multiple meetings with owner Jeffrey Lurie over the past week left his boss unconvinced that Pederson had a sound vision for how to address the myriad issues facing the team, sources said, from navigating the Carson Wentz situation to fixing an offense that finished 26th in scoring (20.9 PPG) and 28th in passing yards (207.9 YPG) in 2020.

Lurie was also not sold on Pederson’s plans regarding his coaching staff, sources said. Pederson pushed for passing game coordinator/quarterbacks coach Press Taylor to be elevated to offensive coordinator rather than bringing in a more established candidate. The issue of how to fill the void left by defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, who plans to take the year off from football in 2021, was also unresolved.

Wentz regressed dramatically in his fifth year and was replaced in the lineup by rookie Jalen Hurts for the last quarter of the season. Wentz has planned to ask for a trade in the offseason because his relationship with Pederson is fractured beyond repair, according to league sources. The trust issues between the two work both ways, sources said, despite Pederson recently saying that his relationship with Wentz was fine.

Pederson’s firing significantly increases the chances of Wentz staying in Philadelphia, a source tells ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler. The situation became clear the two working together moving forward was going to be difficult.

Sources describe an offense in 2020 that lacked an identity, in part as a result of a sizable and mismatched group of assistants and consultants brought in last offseason who struggled to get on the same page. The absence of a central vision for what the offense should look like made quarterbacking an uphill climb, and all the voices created a cacophony for Pederson and Wentz alike, sources said.

Worst Since
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As for Hurts, a second-round pick last April, there was not firm clarity from Pederson on whether he had a sense that the franchise had its quarterback of the future if the Eagles should move on from Wentz. The handling of the season’s final game, in which Hurts was pulled in favor of Nate Sudfeld in a 20-14 loss to Washington, also left questions about whether Pederson had lost his players’ confidence.

Pederson became just the eighth NFL head coach to win a Super Bowl within his first two years at the helm when the Eagles beat the New England Patriots to capture the Lombardi trophy during the 2017 season. That was the first of three straight playoff appearances for the Eagles under Pederson before the wheels came off in 2020. He compiled a record of 46-39-1 over five seasons with the Eagles, including four playoff wins.

ESPN’s Chris Mortensen contributed to this report.

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