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The man who should be hired as the next head coach of the Jets was fired by the Eagles on Monday.
If he hasn’t done so already, Jets general manager Joe Douglas should speak to Doug Pederson on Tuesday.
Then he should hire him as soon as Wednesday.
This will not be a popular decision among some Jets fans. But what decision is ever universally endorsed by all Jets fans?
Pederson, for all of the curious elements that ended in Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie firing him on Monday, is the best, most-proven entity on the head-coaching market.
The Jets cannot afford to miss on this hire. They say they want a CEO of the team. Pederson is their coach, the man led the Eagles to Philadelphia’s only Super Bowl title just three years ago.
Pederson coached five seasons in Philadelphia and went to the playoffs three times, winning Super Bowl LII to cap the 2017 season after winning the NFC East at 13-3.
How is that not enough to excite the Jets, who haven’t even made the playoffs since 2010?
Hire the man.
The Jets have interviewed nine candidates for the position vacated when they fired Adam Gase after two poor seasons (7-9 and 2-14). Among them are some of the brightest minds in the game.
Other than Marvin Lewis — the former Bengals head coach of 16 seasons, seven playoff berths and 131 wins (none in the postseason) — the other eight Zoom interviewees are top assistant coaches in the league.
Of those assistants — among those interviewed were four offensive coordinators, three defensive coordinators and a defensive backs coach in former Jets cornerback Aaron Glenn — one of them may very well be special.
One of them may be that next Matt LaFleur, Sean McVay, Sean McDermott, Frank Reich, Kevin Stefanski or Mike Vrabel the Jets so desperately crave.
But how does anyone know?
Do we know that Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy is going to be a great head coach just because he’s been a part of such a successful offense in Kansas City? Is he allowed to bring Patrick Mahomes with him to Florham Park if the Jets hire him?
Do we know that 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh is anything more than the most exuberant sideline act in the NFL?
As unfair as it is to focus on one game, how did Arthur Smith’s Titans offense look Sunday in the wild-card playoff loss to the Ravens, with running back Derrick Henry limited to 40 rushing yards and quarterback Ryan Tannehill going cold after a hot start and some Baltimore defensive adjustments?
This entire process is a crapshoot, and the Jets cannot afford to crap out.
Douglas needs to find the closest thing to a proven, sure thing as there is out there, and Pederson seems to fit that description.
Pederson’s Philadelphia detractors — and there’s a mob of them — point to the regression of franchise quarterback Carson Wentz.
That same fan base seems to have forgotten that Pederson defeated the Patriots in the Super Bowl with a backup quarterback (Nick Foles) and that the turning point of the game came on a creative trick play.
Sure, Wentz was at the height of his powers in 2017, the Super Bowl season, when he led the Eagles to an 11-2 record with 33 TDs and only seven INTs before suffering a serious knee injury.
But he didn’t exactly turn into Geno Smith in 2018 (69.6 percent completion rate, 21 TDs and seven INTs in 11 games) or 2019 (63.9 percent, 27 TDs and seven INTs with 4,039 yards).
Think the Jets would sign up for that production right now from Sam Darnold, who hasn’t been within 10 U.S. states of those numbers in three seasons?
Wentz’s 2020 season went sideways as he led the NFL with 15 INTs and went 3-8-1 as the starter before being replaced by rookie Jalen Hurts and then reportedly demanded a trade. But the entire Eagles’ 2020 season was a mess — lowlighted by Pederson’s inexcusable decision to tank the finale in the last game of the NFL schedule and undermine the competitive integrity of the league.
Pederson’s detractors, too, should not ignore the fact that Eagles general manager Howie Roseman has drafted one Pro Bowl player (Wentz) since 2014 and his free-agent signings since 2017 have left much to be desired.
Pederson is a proven commodity, which is a rarity in the head-coaching market. He finished with a record of 46-39-1 over five seasons with the Eagles, including four playoff wins.
If the Jets don’t hire him, one of the other five teams with head-coaching vacancies will, and that may leave the Jets sorry in the end.
So, for the Jets fans who might scoff at hiring Pederson and instead fantasize for that hot assistant coach who turns to gold as soon as he’s given the keys to the kingdom, be careful for what you wish.
Often, the surer thing is better than the unknown.