Sep 25, 2022; Inglewood, California, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson celebrates in the fourth quarter against the Los Angeles Chargers at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Doug Pederson back in Philly with upstart Jaguars seeking upset

A week after beating — and beating up — their former quarterback, the undefeated Philadelphia Eagles seek a similar outcome against a former head coach on Sunday.

Doug Pederson, who took the Eagles to their only Super Bowl championship five years ago, returns to Philadelphia with a Jacksonville Jaguars team enjoying its first winning streak since October 2019.

Pederson compiled a 42-37-1 record in five seasons (2016-20) with the Eagles, highlighted by the Super Bowl LII win against the New England Patriots. Before becoming the head coach, he was on Andy Reid’s Philadelphia staff from 2019-12. He also started nine games at quarterback for the Eagles in 1999.

“I’m really looking forward to getting back there,” Pederson said. “I understand that city, I understand that passion for football, but now I’m on the other side. … But I’m looking forward to it and to getting back up there. It’s been a great place. We did a lot of good things there and I’m looking forward to hopefully the welcome.”

Even with Philly’s famously fickle fans, Pederson can expect a much warmer welcome than the one that the Eagles defense delivered last weekend to Washington Commanders quarterback Carson Wentz.

Philadelphia (3-0) sacked Wentz nine times and limited the Commanders to 240 yards total offense in a 24-8 victory. Jalen Hurts powered the NFL’s No. 1 offense (447.0 yards per game) with 340 yards and three touchdowns through the air and DeVonta Smith caught eight passes for a career-high 169 yards and a score.

The Jaguars (2-1) halted an 18-game road losing streak with a 38-10 win against the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 3. A victory against the Eagles would be their first against an NFC team since defeating the New York Giants in the 2018 season opener.

Philadelphia coach Nick Sirianni, who took over after Pederson was fired in January 2021, is excited for their first meeting.

“I have a ton of respect for him,” Sirianni said of Pederson. “… I’ve heard nothing but phenomenal things. I think he’s a great football coach, obviously, he brought this city a world championship and so, so much respect for him.”

The Jaguars are playing their best football in years, shutting out the Indianapolis Colts in Week 2 and piling up 413 yards of offense against the Chargers. Trevor Lawrence was the AFC Offensive Player of the Week — 262 passing yards and three touchdowns last week — against L.A. and James Robinson rushed for 100 yards and a score.

“You can just tell that they’re well coached and it doesn’t surprise me at all because I know how good of a coach [Pederson] is,” Sirianni said. “So we’re going to be working like crazy to put our guys in good position and I know he will be doing the same there.”

Several Eagles did not practice Wednesday, including wide receiver A.J. Brown (personal), cornerback Darius Slay (back), guard Landon Dickerson (foot) and running back Boston Scott (rib). Smith (back) was a limited participant, as were running back Miles Sanders (hip) and defensive tackle Milton Williams (knee).

Offensive lineman Cole Van Lanen missed Jacksonville’s practice Wednesday with a hamstring injury. Cornerback Shaquill Griffin (hip) was limited.

–Field Level Media

Jan 18, 2020; St. Petersburg, Florida, USA; Team West head coach Ben Steele (left) and Team East head coach Mike Caldwell (right) shake hands after the game at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: Jaguars preparing to hire Mike Caldwell as DC

The Jacksonville Jaguars are working toward hiring Mike Caldwell as their new defensive coordinator, according to multiple reports on Tuesday.

The 50-year-old Caldwell spent the past three seasons as inside linebackers coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Overall, Caldwell has spent the past 14 seasons as an NFL assistant. He had stints with the Philadelphia Eagles (2008-12), Arizona Cardinals (2013-14) and New York Jets (2015-18).

Caldwell was the assistant head coach with the Jets under Todd Bowles, whom he also worked under the past three seasons in Tampa Bay.

Caldwell was an NFL linebacker for 11 seasons from 1993-2003 and played for the Cleveland Browns (1993-95), Baltimore Ravens (1996), Cardinals (1997), Eagles (1998-2001), Chicago Bears (2002) and Carolina Panthers (2003). He played in 159 games with 49 starts.

In 1999, he was an Eagles teammate of new Jacksonville head coach Doug Pederson, who started nine games at quarterback that season.

Caldwell and Pederson were both assistant coaches on Andy Reid’s staff in Philadelphia from 2009-12.

–Field Level Media

Dec 6, 2020; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson gestures in the fourth quarter against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: Jaguars will hire Doug Pederson as head coach

Doug Pederson, the only person to guide the Philadelphia Eagles to a Super Bowl title, will be the next head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars, NFL.com and ESPN reported Thursday night.

Pederson, who turned 54 on Monday, was out of the NFL for the 2021 season after the Eagles fired him last January.

In his five seasons in Philadelphia, he produced a 42-37-1 record and earned three playoff berths. The Eagles won Super Bowl LII following the 2017 season, beating Tom Brady and the New England Patriots 41-33.

According to ESPN, the Jaguars interviewed 10 candidates to fill the head-coaching vacancy created after they fired Urban Meyer in mid-December following on-field and off-field issues. The team was 2-11 under Meyer and went 1-3 under interim head coach Darrell Bevell, who also reportedly got an interview for the permanent role.

Indianapolis Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus and Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich both had two interviews with the Jaguars this month, according to ESPN and CBS Sports. Eberflus subsequently was hired to be the Chicago Bears’ head coach.

The Jaguars also expressed interest in Nathaniel Hackett, with varying media reports indicating that he got one or two interviews with Jacksonville, but the former Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator got the job as the Denver Broncos’ head coach.

Jacksonville’s 3-14 record this season was the worst in the NFL, assuring the Jaguars of the No. 1 overall pick in the draft for the second year in a row. Last April, Jacksonville selected Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence with the top pick, and he started every game as a rookie. Lawrence threw for 3,641 yards and 12 touchdowns but was intercepted 17 times, which tied for most in the NFL with Matthew Stafford of the Los Angeles Rams.

Pederson’s resume likely led the Jaguars to believe he could help Lawrence progress.

Pederson was the Eagles’ quarterback coach in 2011-12 before serving the next three seasons as the Kansas City Chiefs’ offensive coordinator. After returning to Philadelphia as head coach, he oversaw the early career success of QB Carson Wentz before Nick Foles took over for an injured Wentz in the 2017-18 playoffs and propelled the Eagles to the championship.

With Pederson’s hiring, there remain four vacancies for the nine head-coaching jobs that were open after the 2021 regular season ended, with current openings in Houston, Miami, Minnesota and New Orleans.

–Field Level Media

Nov 28, 2021; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA;  Tampa Bay Buccaneers Offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich before the game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Byron Leftwich to remove himself as candidate in Jacksonville

Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich is expected to remove his name from consideration to be the next head coach in Jacksonville, the Tampa Bay Times reported Thursday.

Leftwich reportedly was one of three finalists to replace Urban Meyer, who was fired after posting a 2-11 record and committing a series of off-field missteps.

However, two of those finalists — Matt Eberflus and Nathaniel Hackett — accepted other offers last week. That left Leftwich as the leading candidate.

However, Leftwich reportedly had misgivings about working with current Jaguars general manager Trent Baalke, with Pro Football Talk reporting that Leftwich gave the organization an ultimatum – him or Baalke.

Now the leading candidates for the Jacksonville job are former Las Vegas Raiders interim head coach Rich Bisaccia and former Philadelphia coach Doug Pederson, who won a Super Bowl with the Eagles, per the Times report.

The Jaguars also reportedly met with longtime Minnesota Vikings general manager Rick Spielman in person Monday about a “high-level front-office position.” Spielman, 59, was fired at the end of the 2021 season.

–Field Level Media

Nov 21, 2021; East Rutherford, N.J., USA; Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores during a game against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Bears’ next coach odds: Brian Flores early favorite

Brian Flores does not appear destined to be out of work long.

Fired by the Miami Dolphins on Monday following three seasons, Flores has already emerged as the favorite to fill the Chicago Bears’ head coaching vacancy. He is being offered at +160 by BetMGM, ahead of Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier (+600), while Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll and Indianapolis Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus both had +650 odds Thursday afternoon.

Bears chairman George McCaskey is leading the five-person committee searching for Chicago’s next coach and general manager.

Thus far, the deep group of reported head coaching candidates includes a variety of offensive and defensive minds.

One key question is whether Flores is seen as a good fit with whomever the new GM is going to be. The second is whether the Bears will be Flores’ first choice.

Houston reportedly fired coach David Culley on Thursday, and Flores is close with Texans general manager Nick Caserio from their years together with the New England Patriots. Flores is also being offered at +550 to replace Joe Judge with the Giants and +800 to replace Mike Zimmer with the Vikings.

Flores has been backed by the most bets to be named the Bears’ next coach with 21.3 percent at BetMGM. Frazier, whose odds opened at +500 on Thursday morning, has been supported with the most money wagered at 33.2 percent, making him the sportsbook’s biggest liability.

Daboll’s odds had lengthened from +600, while Eberflus had the biggest move with his odds shortening from +1400.

Former Philadelphia Eagles coach Doug Pederson is being offered at +800 and has drawn 17.0 percent of the bets and 19.9 percent of the money. He interviewed for the position on Wednesday while the Bears have also interviewed several GM candidates.

–Field Level Media

Nov 7, 2021; Arlington, Texas, USA; Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore on the sidelines in the second half against the Denver Broncos at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: Jaguars to interview Kellen Moore, Todd Bowles

The Jacksonville Jaguars are expected to conduct a virtual interview with Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore late next week, NFL Network reported Sunday.

Also expected to take part in a virtual interview is Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, per the report.

Former Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson interviewed for the job on Thursday.

Also Sunday, CBS Sports reported that Jaguars general manager Trent Baalke is urging owner Shad Khan to bring in Alabama offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien for an interview.

The Jaguars are seeking a replacement for Urban Meyer, who was fired on Dec. 16 due to a disappointing season on the field and a series of embarrassing incidents off of it.

Bowles and O’Brien have NFL head-coaching experience.

Bowles, 58, led the New York Jets from 2015-18, ending his tenure with a 24-40 record and no playoff appearances.

O’Brien, 52, was 52-48 in six-plus seasons (2014-20) with the Houston Texans, fired in 2020 after an 0-4 start. The Texans made the playoffs four times under O’Brien, posting a 2-4 record.

Pederson, 53, reached the playoffs three times in five seasons with the Eagles and posted a 42-37-1 overall record before being fired on Jan. 11, 2021. He led the Eagles to the Super Bowl LII championship.

Moore, 33, became the Cowboys’ quarterbacks coach in 2018 and was promoted to offensive coordinator in 2019. This season, the Cowboys have the NFL’s top offense, averaging 409.5 yards and 30.5 points per game entering Week 17.

Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich and Jaguars interim coach Darrell Bevell reportedly also are under consideration.

Jacksonville (2-13) brings a seven-game losing streak into Sunday’s game at the New England Patriots (9-6).

–Field Level Media

Dec 19, 2021; Tampa, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) and offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich walks off the field as they lost to the New Orleans Saints at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Byron Leftwich, Doug Pederson among Jaguars’ early HC targets

For the second time, the Jacksonville Jaguars are hoping Byron Leftwich is ready to be the face of their franchise.

Leftwich was among the coaches the Jaguars formally requested permission to interview for their vacancy at head coach, per multiple reports. Currently the offensive coordinator of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Leftwich has never been a head coach.

But he has experience leading the Jaguars as a quarterback.

A first-round pick out of Marshall, Leftwich was the No. 7 selection in 2003 and has been an assistant coach to Bruce Arians since 2017. He’s currently the offensive coordinator of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Bucs defensive coordinator Todd Bowles also is reportedly a candidate for the opening in Jacksonville.

In nine seasons with the Jaguars, Leftwich had 10,532 yards with 58 touchdowns and 42 interceptions.

Urban Meyer was fired on Dec. 16, when Jacksonville promoted offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell to interim coach. Bevell reportedly is in consideration to remain as head coach after this season.

Bowles was previously head coach of the New York Jets and drew acclaim for his Super Bowl-winning game plan against Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs.

Also on the early candidates list for the Jaguars, per multiple reports, are Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, former Philadelphia Eagles coach Doug Pederson and Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore.

Pederson went to the playoffs three times in five seasons with the Eagles, including a Super Bowl win, posting a 42-37 overall record.

–Field Level Media

Feb 4, 2018; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson (right) and owner Jeffrey Lurie celebrate a victory against the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Eagles owner ‘undecided’ on keeping Doug Pederson

Doug Pederson and owner Jeffrey Lurie will meet in Florida this week and the air of finality for the Philadelphia Eagles appears to be palpable.

ESPN reported the first meeting between coach and owner last week “did not go well” but that Lurie remains “undecided” on whether to retain Pederson.

Following the season-ending loss to the Washington Football Team, Pederson voiced confidence he was going to be back as head coach for a sixth season.

“I feel fully confident to be the head coach of the Eagles in 2021,” Pederson said. “The thing I’m most proud of this football team, we have been in the postseason three of the last five years since I’ve been here and that’s pretty good.”

Lurie reportedly has concerns that include Pederson’s plan to fix an offense that underperformed in 2020, the future at the quarterback position and the makeup of the coaching staff. The contracts of defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, senior offensive assistant Rich Scangarello and senior offensive consultant Marty Mornhinweg expired, and they will not be returning.

Pederson reportedly prefers to fill the offensive coordinator role with Press Taylor, the team’s 32-year-old quarterbacks coach. ESPN reports Lurie wants the position filled from outside the organization.

The Eagles’ offense ranked 24th in the NFL in yards per game (334.6), 26th in scoring (20.9 points) and 28th in passing yards (207.9). Pederson removed Carson Wentz as the starting quarterback after 12 games and replaced him with rookie Jalen Hurts.

Multiple outlets have reported Wentz wants time to determine where he stands on returning to the Eagles, despite being under contract. General manager Howie Roseman indicated the day after the season ended that trading Wentz wasn’t an option.

“When you have players like that, they’re like fingers on your hand,” Roseman said. “You can’t imagine that they’re not part of you, that they’re not here. That’s how we feel about Carson.”

Pederson led the Eagles to their only Super Bowl win in franchise history after the 2017 season, and he has a record of 42-37-1 in five seasons with the Eagles. Since the win over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII, however, the Eagles are 22-25-1.

–Field Level Media

Dec 13, 2020; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (2) runs with the ball past New Orleans Saints defensive tackle Shy Tuttle (99) during the second quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Pederson not ready to name Eagles’ starting QB

Eagles coach Doug Pederson plans to review film of rookie Jalen Hurts leading Philadelphia to a win over the New Orleans Saints before naming a starting quarterback for Sunday’s game against the Arizona Cardinals.

Hurts and the Eagles beat the Saints 24-21 in an upset victory fueled by the young quarterback rushing for 106 yards on 18 carries.

“I’m going to take a look at (film). I’m going to look at a lot of different things before I make that determination this week,” Pederson said on 94.1 WIP radio in Philadelphia on Monday.

The Eagles (4-8-1) had lost four games in a row before Pederson made the decision to start Hurts over Carson Wentz. The Eagles are 1 1/2 games behind the Washington Football Team in the NFC East.

Philadelphia is 28th in the NFL in passing yards (199.8 per game) and 26th in points (21.3 per game).

Hurts is expected to get another start. The 2020 second-round draft pick became the fifth Eagles quarterback to rush for 100 yards and his only turnover was late in the fourth quarter, when the ball was batted out of his hands.

“Going back and watching it this morning, there were some really, really good plays. He played well,” Pederson said. “He managed the team. He did everything we asked him to do. He played smart, he played physical with the run.”

–Field Level Media

Nov 30, 2020; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz (11) and quarterback Jalen Hurts (2) during warmups against the Seattle Seahawks at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Pederson, Eagles pained by Hurts-Wentz decision

Doug Pederson didn’t expect to be here: 3-8-1 with four games to go and faced with the reality that the Philadelphia Eagles benched their franchise quarterback to start an untested rookie.

Pederson named Jalen Hurts the starting quarterback for the Eagles on Sunday, and Carson Wentz is likely to back him up.

“I never thought, way back in April, did I ever think this would happen? No,” Pederson said Wednesday. “Take Carson Wentz out of it. I didn’t expect us to be in this situation back in April.”

The situation is dire. According to NFL Network, Pederson met with team leaders on Monday and informed them the Eagles are all playing for their future the final month of the season.

What message Pederson is sending by turning to Hurts is not entirely clear. The issue was confused to some degree two weeks ago when Pederson told reporters that sitting Wentz would be akin to raising the flag of surrender on the 2020 season.

He bristled at the idea Wednesday, adding that Hurts is in for Sunday’s game against the New Orleans Saints and all personnel decisions can be evaluated again before next week’s game.

“My expectation is to go out and prepare and try to win every game we play,” Pederson said. “Listen, just like I said after the football game Sunday, I was looking for a spark from our offense, and a lot of times it comes from putting your quarterback on the bench for the backup, and that’s all I’m looking for here. I’m looking for a little spark, a little shot in the arm to pick the offense up.

“Everybody around Jalen or around Carson has to elevate their game. We can’t do this – they can’t do this alone, right. They can’t do this. It’s impossible to attack an opponent with just one guy, but I fully expect our guys to go out, play hard and do everything they can to try and win.”

Before the change was officially announced, Wentz was one of the team leaders who sat down with Pederson. Among other team leaders were center Jason Kelce and defensive end Brandon Graham.

Kelce said Wednesday that Hurts starting over Wentz isn’t the story in Philadelphia.

“This more comes down to a failure of pretty much every position, including the coaches, to facilitate a functioning offense,” Kelce said. “That’s the biggest story here. Not the Hurts is picked and there’s some sort of internal battle and struggle going on with Carson Wentz.”

The meeting, however, is nothing new under Pederson. He did the same thing almost one year ago, challenging team leaders to run a padded practice in December before a push to the playoffs.

In the NFC East, the Eagles aren’t yet eliminated from the postseason conversation. The New York Giants and Washington Football Team are atop the standings at 5-7. Philadelphia’s last two games are against the Cowboys and Washington, but likely playoff-bound New Orleans (10-2) and Arizona (6-6) are up first.

Wentz was benched Sunday in the third quarter of Sunday’s 30-16 loss to Green Bay after completing just six of 15 pass attempts for 79 yards. Hurts, the Heisman Trophy runner-up in 2019, was 5-of-12 passing for 109 yards, throwing one touchdown pass and one interception as his replacement.

Wentz, 27, is in the midst of the worst season of his five-year career. He leads the league in interceptions (15) and sacks (50), and is 31st in completion percentage (57.4).

Pederson said Wednesday that Wentz is frustrated but still has a chance to “be a great quarterback in this league.”

–Field Level Media