As the Eagles announced Doug Pederson as their new head coach way back in January, the best coach in the room watched silently from stage right.
If not the best, certainly the most accomplished.
As Pederson took his first NFL head coaching job, he wanted a defensive coordinator with some experience and clout. The organization landed on former head coach and longtime coordinator Jim Schwartz.
At the NFL owners meetings in Boca Raton, Florida, in March, Pederson said he aimed to create team unity by overseeing the entire team. As an offensive-minded head coach, he wanted to do this by spending time with the players on defense, showing them that he’s not “just stuck on offense.”
But heading into training camp, Pederson was pretty clear about this: he wants to be somewhat involved with the defense, going to meetings and spending time with defensive players, but his involvement with the other side of the ball doesn’t spill into scheme.
This defense is all Jim Schwartz’s.
“I mean, he’s the professional on that side,” Schwartz said. “My expertise is on offense. His is over there on defense. Whether I have suggestions or not, it’s our defense, but at the same time, he’s the master. He’s done it for a hundred years. And it’s proven. Just like the offense that I’ve been in is proven. I wouldn’t expect him to come over on the offensive side and make suggestions, whether it be on personnel or plays or play-calling or any of that. So I just leave that up to him.”
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For years in Philadelphia while Andy Reid was the head coach, he had the late Jim Johnson as his defensive coordinator. Johnson ran the defense, Reid ran the offense. That’s what Pederson is clearly trying to find in Philadelphia.
How can he basically forfeit control of half his team and still remain in control of the entire team?
“I can oversee the entire team, but structurally, what he puts in on defense, I’m not going to go change what he puts in on defense,” Pederson continued. “Yes, I’m over all of it, but at the same time, I’m not going to go say ‘I think you need to blitz more, blitz less, I think you ought to put in the 3-4, let’s do this.’ No, that’s not my expertise, you know? I wouldn’t expect him to go to Frank and say I think you need to run the run-and-shoot. I don’t think you do that.”