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Doug Pederson won a Super Bowl Championship with the Philadelphia Eagles and in his first season, turned the hapless Jacksonville Jaguars into a division champion and a team that’s playing in the NFL’s divisional round playoff games this weekend.
So, yes, great coaching.
But, Pederson admits, he’s gotten some of his plays off Twitter.
“You do get a lot of stuff off of Twitter,” Pederson said Thursday. “People send you those videos and stuff off of Twitter and YouTube and things like that. A lot of it is just like fan video that might have saw something in a training camp practice. All that stuff gets posted nowadays.
“That’s the thing about it, everybody has a microphone and a camera. That’s usually the most creative place we find stuff.”
The matchup between the Jaguars and Kansas City Chiefs is more than a meeting between an upstart team and one that’s vying for its fifth consecutive berth in the AFC title game.
It’s also a match up of coach Andy Reid versus Pederson. And that’s teacher versus pupil, because Pederson got his start in coaching under Reid.
Reid, in fact, coached Pederson in Green Bay and Philadelphia. Then Reid hired Pederson as a coach in 2009. When Reid was fired in Philadelphia and hired in Kansas City, he took Pederson with him as his offensive coordinator.
Not only are the two coaches close but their wives are close friends as well.
And now they’re coaching against each other for the right to advance to the AFC Championship game.
Doug Pederson And Andy Reid Talk Weekly
“And I want to pick his brain and learn. He’s been doing this a long time, and he’s been really, really successful at it. Anything I can learn and take away from him is a blessing for me.”
No, not this week. This week Pederson versus Reid is one of four coaching matchups in the playoffs.
The question is who has the edge?
It’s probably easy to say Reid in this matchup. He led Kansas City to each of the past four AFC Championship games, after leading Philadelphia to five NFC Championship games earlier in his career.
With a win on Saturday, Reid will become the third head coach in NFL history to appear in 10 Conference Championships, joining Bill Belichick and Tom Landry.
Reid has 19 career postseason wins and can tie Landry (20) for the second-most in NFL history. Only Belichick (31) has more.
But despite that resume, Reid has respect for his pupil and the team he leads.
“They’ve improved every week and they have bought in,” Reid said of the Jaguars. “Doug has done a great job, as his coaches have. It takes everybody, but he’s done a nice job with that group.”
Don’t underestimate Pederson in this one. The Chiefs don’t. They saw Pederson surprise them in the first meeting between the teams when the Jaguars used on onside kick.
“I think there’s a little game of chess and cat and mouse that goes on with that,” said Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy. “And, you think about it, Doug kind of one-upped us a little bit in that game.”
It’s hard to pick against Pederson in this matchup. It’s harder to pick against Reid.
New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles
When the Giants have faced opponents a second time this season, the offensive line has generally played better, and the defensive front has generally played better.
That showed last week in a victory over Minnesota. And coaching is a key reason for that.
Brian Daboll and his staff have proven to be great, not good, great, in their preparation this season.
The Eagles have had two weeks to prepare for this game because they earned the first-round bye. And, no, they didn’t spend the first week studying the Giants because they weren’t sure they would be the opponent. They spent that week making it about themselves.
“We talked a lot about this week and even last week about what we do well,” coach Nick Sirianni said. “What do we do well? Coming off a bye week you’re able to think about those things even more so, about what you do well and how are you going to continue to do well through the fundamentals.
“You’re always in this because we always think about fundamentals, but it’s just going back to the details of the play and how you want to execute the play, the identity that you want to be.
So it’s really just doubling down on the things that we know are true.”
That’s excellent stuff. But …
Cincinnati Bengals at Buffalo Bills
Zac Taylor was as improbable a Super Bowl coach last year as his team was a Super Bowl participant. Taylor had a 6-25 record his first two seasons in Cincy and the only reason he got a third season is because ownership decided to gamble.
It’s been a great payoff. Taylor is an excellent CEO coach. He is the leader and the voice of the team and his players, starting with quarterback Joe Burrow, generally echo what he has to say.
Taylor has more postseason wins than any other coach in Bengals history and as many (4) as Tennessee’s Mike Vrabel or Green Bay’s Matt LaFleur. Taylor has won as many playoff games as this week’s opponent Sean McDermott.
Except Taylor has a 4-1 playoff record to McDermott’s 4-4.
The Bengals have one of the most under-rated defensive coaches in the NFL in Lou Anarumo. Anarumo is becoming renown for his outstanding second half adjustments.
McDermott is also an outstanding CEO type coach who isn’t calling plays despite his defensive expertise. He has surrounded himself with a fine staff, led by defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier, and has managed the brain drain of losing talent such as Brian Daboll.
McDermott also guided the Bills through a rough season filled with crisis.
Both men gained great respect and acclaim for how they both handled the meeting between the teams in which Damar Hamlin collapsed of a cardiac arrest, leading the game to be postponed and ultimately cancelled.
Dallas Cowboys at San Francisco 49ers
One of the metrics sites the last two seasons rated San Francisco coach Kyle Shanahan’s scheme among the five most unique in the NFL despite the fact it is, at its core, imply an outside zone attack.
The 49ers challenge defenses horizontally rather than vertically. The scheme’s beauty is Shanahan dresses the plays in such ways as to truly confuse and disguise. At the same time, he forces a defense to show its hand pre-snap.
The fact rookie quarterback Brock Purdy has succeeded so quickly is proof the system is quarterback friendly. The Niners on defense are physical and disciplined and that’s a reason coordinator DeMeco Ryans is considered a head coach candidate.
The Cowboys also have a great defensive coordinator in Dan Quinn, who is also in line to land a head coach gig. Quinn vs. Shanahan will be interesting as Quinn was Shanahan’s boss in Atlanta.
Here’s the deciding factor: The 49ers have demonstrated a higher degree of discipline, collect fewer penalties. and generally commit fewer busts than the Cowboys. Both Shanahan and Dallas coach Mike McCarthy are extremely experienced but the feel here is if this gets to a late-game situation, one is often superior to the other in decision-making: