The ‘Frank Reich and John DeFilippo’ take is still popular among many of Doug Pederson’s detractors.
The gist of the narrative is that they think the 2017 offensive coordinator and QB coach deserve a lot of credit for the Eagles’ Super Bowl win, and less should be given to the head coach, who has seen his offense regress in the years following their departures.
To help further that narrative, here comes Chicago Bears starting quarterback Nick Foles, who dropped this quote ahead of the week four matchup against Reich’s Colts:
Here's the video of Nick Foles' full answer about Frank Reich being the one that "really figured me out as a player" during their time together in Philadelphia – pic.twitter.com/4H4J3K70kg
— Michael Kist (@MichaelKistNFL) October 1, 2020
Here’s the full quote to chew on:
“I think the big thing with Frank was, it wasn’t so much about football. When we talked, it was just about life and our faith. It was really simple; he was the one who really figured me out as a player and realized that we had it all wrong and they just threw some plays out there one day and just said, ‘go play these plays, we’ve studied you and these are the plays you do.’ And sure enough something triggered inside of me. And he figured me out as a player to where even during games when I’d come to the sidelines, like, usually coaches want to coach you up and do all this. He would just say ‘just keep doing it. Just keep doing it.’ Like he wouldn’t say much. And, at first, it’s sort of weird because you’re not used to a coach not doing that. But he’s like ‘I trust you, go do you thing.’ I think no matter what, if I threw an interception or I threw a touchdown, he cared more about the person than the player. And that says a lot about him and that’s why I have all the respect in the world (for him). Anyone who’s played for Frank will probably say the same thing. I know that when he went to Indianapolis from Philly, that we were all sad to see him go, but happy for his opportunity to be a head coach because we knew he deserved it just because of the man he is. So, he obviously, as y’all can tell, means a lot to me. It’s a life-long relationship.”
The part that really jumps out there is when Nick talks about the idea that they “had it all wrong,” to begin with, which sounds… kind of harsh, doesn’t it? Who had it all wrong? Doug? Reich himself, before figuring it out? That’s important to note as we try to assign responsibility from afar.
The Eagles did simplify the playbook and used RPO looks when Nick took over for Carson Wentz. They put him in position to throw those 50/50 balls to Alshon Jeffery, and just ran a more streamlined offense when he was on the field. Quicker releases, less hero ball, two different styles for two different quarterbacks.
That’s not to say Doug Pederson is chopped liver. Obviously Reich was the offensive coordinator, so a large part of the onus in getting the quarterback going falls on his shoulders specifically. The part where Doug comes into play is being a play-calling head coach, and a guy who is much more offensively involved than other head coaches. You wonder if he initially installed a scheme that wasn’t working, and then Reich came along and solved the problem, but the other thing to consider is that the offense was humming with Carson and they were enjoying a really fruitful run up until the ACL injury. It’s not like they were dreck.
Can a pro-Reich quote also be an anti-Doug quote, or is that reading into something that’s not there?
You tell me.