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NFL Rumors: Doug Pederson, Jim Caldwell 'Of Interest' to Teams Ahead of HC Searches

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVDecember 22, 2021

DETROIT, MI - DECEMBER 31: Head coach Jim Caldwell of the Detroit Lions watches his team against the Green Bay Packers during the first half at Ford Field on December 31, 2017 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Leon Halip/Getty Images

As NFL teams begin to survey the coaching landscape, Doug Pederson and Jim Caldwell could be in play for vacancies around the league, according to ESPN's Dan Graziano.

Graziano reported Pederson "is expected to be a candidate of interest in several places," with the Jacksonville Jaguars cited as one potential landing spot. Likewise, Caldwell is "of interest to teams with openings and potential openings."

Pederson's tenure with the Philadelphia Eagles didn't end under great circumstances. Philly finished 4-11-1 in 2020, and the head coach's relationship with Carson Wentz deteriorated to a point where one of them basically had to go.

Pederson is also the same coach who helped the Eagles win a Super Bowl in 2017, with Wentz playing like an MVP until he suffered a torn ACL. Assuming he wants to keep coaching, the 53-year-old is bound to get a second chance somewhere.

For the Jaguars, pairing him with Trevor Lawrence would make sense after the Urban Meyer experiment was a total failure and did little to aid in the rookie's development.

Pederson offered a positive assessment of Lawrence when asked by ESPN's Tim McManus about the Jacksonville quarterback:

"Obviously athletic. You see the same things with young quarterbacks with anticipation, trying to get away with sometimes doing too much. But then you see those 'wow' plays with him, whether he's escaping the pocket or he throws an accurate ball down the field. I think about Carson his first year and how he was able to do some of those same things. Tough kid ... and another one that I think can have a bright future."

Caldwell last worked as the Miami Dolphins quarterbacks coach in 2019. His last head-coaching gig came with the Detroit Lions and ended after the 2017 season.

Thanks to Detroit's continued futility, the 66-year-old has only seen his stock rise after having compiled a 36-28 record in the Motor City.

B/R Gridiron @brgridiron

Jim Caldwell’s four seasons with the Lions:<br><br>2014: 11-5 (playoffs)<br>2015: 7-9<br>2016: 9-7 (playoffs)<br>2017: 9-7<br><br>Lions haven’t had a winning season since. <a href="https://t.co/0cCsSSKaO9">pic.twitter.com/0cCsSSKaO9</a>

Before that, he guided the Indianapolis Colts to a 26-22 mark over three seasons, a number that's skewed significantly by Indianapolis winning just two games without Peyton Manning, who sat because of a neck injury, in 2011.

In recent years, many have pointed to Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy as an example of how the NFL is failing to fully address the lack of diversity among its 32 head coaches. Bieniemy is an architect for one of the league's most explosive offenses, yet he hasn't received the opportunity to lead his own team.

The fact that Caldwell remains unemployed is equally puzzling.

Jim Trotter @JimTrotter_NFL

If you’ll allow me to tweak this - Jim Caldwell not being a head coach in the NFL is an absolute joke. Period. Meyer has nothing to do with it. <a href="https://t.co/VKJVWYWQ8c">https://t.co/VKJVWYWQ8c</a>

At least for now, that status could work in Caldwell's favor, with Graziano noting he and Pederson are free to speak with NFL teams and any possible assistant coach targets.