Will Doug Pederson Need to Establish Authority During TC? | Eagles Addict
Doug Pederson

R-E-S-P-E-C-T, find out what it means to …him. Photo: Tim Hawk

The Eagles’ first training camp under Doug Pederson begins today.  Over the course of the next month some questions will be answered…mainly about what players step up, who wins a starting job and who is good enough to make the final cuts.

However, there is another interesting question that we will just have to wait and see if that gets answered.  It’s whether or not Pederson will find a way to let people know that he’s the commander and chief of all things football-related in Philly.

I know I’m stating the obvious here, but it’s true that Jeff Lurie and Howie Roseman have seemingly done their best to recreate the Andy Reid era in Philadelphia.  So basically this is like 1999 all over again.

Quick recap: Doug Pederson is Andy Reid lite.  Like Reid, Pederson hired a strong veteran defensive coordinator.  Then, thanks to Howie’s magic, they were able to get to the No. 2 slot in the draft (just like in 1999) and took a franchise QB who they hope will be their next McNabb.

Pederson = Reid, Schwartz = Johnson, Wentz = McNabb.  The new “big three” in town.

Like Pederson, Reid was a no-name coach without much experience.  And also just like Pederson is facing now, there were questions about whether Reid would be able to gain the respect of his team.

Gone was the fiery Ray Rhodes and in came the cerebral QB coach that nobody really knew. Would the players respect him?  Could he handle being the man in charge?

In what was perceived as a “statement”, Reid made an example of a player named George Hegamin during his first training camp back in 1999.  Any Eagles fan who is old enough to remember that season will most likely remember the deal here.

Hegamin was a veteran offensive lineman who ended the previous year as a starter.  He was slated to be the starter again heading into training camp in Reid’s first year but was eventually told that rookie third round pick Doug Brzezinski was replacing him in the starting lineup.

Hegamin did not take the news well and walked out of practice.  He later returned and profusely apologized to anyone who would listen, but Reid decided to make an authoritarian statement.

Reid held Hegamin after practice and had him push a blocking sled the entire length of the field while barking at him the entire time.  To boot, he was sure other players and the media witnessed the event.

Reid eventually cut Hegamin before the season and any doubt that Reid was in charge was put to rest.

Enter Pederson.  One question that is naturally surrounding him given his “green” coaching history is whether or not he will command the respect of his team (and coaches for that matter).

So far, he has seemed more like the “nice guy” with the “emotional intelligence” that Jeff Lurie was looking for when commencing the coaching search this past January.  Pederson has already had to answer questions as to why his two coordinators conveyed a different message than he has in regards to the quarterback situation.

That, in essence, gives concern about why Pederson’s top two assistants aren’t on the same page as he is.  Is Pederson not strong in conveying the message to his coaches?  Or do they just disagree with him?

Either way, it was obvious that hadn’t been discussed amongst themselves because coaching staffs should always convey the same message, which points to effective leadership or lack thereof.

It’s also been pondered if Jim Schwartz’s apparent “alpha dog” personality will overshadow Pederson at some point.

There simply cannot be any question about the chain of command.  If players have any sense that there is a chink in the armor, it will lead to breakdowns and ultimately become destructive.

Just remember how the Juan Castillo and Jim Washburn dynamic impacted the team back in 2012.  Washburn, the DL coach, completely disrespected his defensive coordinator, i.e., his superior in the chain of command.

That created disharmony and divisiveness and greatly contributed to the utter demise of the Andy Reid era.

In any case, I’m wondering if Pederson is going to need his own version of George Hegamin…something where he can make a strong statement that he’s the top dog.

In yet another similarity between 1999 and now, the Eagles have the incumbent Allen Barbre slated as the starting LG heading into camp and just as Reid drafted Brzezinski in Round 3, Pederson has his own third round rookie OL in Isaac Seumalo.

Will Seumalo be Pederson’s Brzezinski and Barbre his Hegamin?

I’m sure that exact scenario is highly unlikely, but I do wonder if Pederson will feel the need to exert his authority.  I’m not saying he has to berate a player or go looking for someone to make an example of, but rather take advantage of an opportunity to do so if one presents itself.

He can certainly establish his leadership behind the scenes, but it would be reassuring for us to see a public example demonstrating that he is the unquestioned leader.  Whether it’s a player issue, an assistant coach issue, whatever…just something that shows us and the rest of his team that he’s “the man in charge.”

If such a situation doesn’t arise, so be it.  I don’t necessarily think it’s needed at this point, but it will be if we continue to get mixed messages from within that makes us in any way question the leadership and/or chain of command.

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