Frank Reich, Doug Pederson could complement each other

PHILADELPHIA -- If Frank Reich is indeed hired as Doug Pederson’s offensive coordinator for the Philadelphia Eagles -- as NFL Network reported Monday -- the two former backup quarterbacks will step to the fore.

Pederson and Reich should complement each other. For the last two seasons, Reich was the San Diego Chargers’ offensive coordinator. While the Chargers were ranked fourth in the NFL in passing yards in 2015, they were next-to-last in rushing yards.

Meanwhile, in Kansas City, Pederson was offensive coordinator of the Chiefs. His offense ranked sixth in passing yards and 30th in rushing yardage.

None of this happens in a vacuum. The Chargers have Philip Rivers at quarterback. With free-agent Ryan Mathews decamping for Philadelphia, their leading rusher was rookie Melvin Gordon. In Kansas City, the quarterback was Alex Smith. The offense was built around running back Jamaal Charles, then turned to Charcandrick West when Charles was injured in Week 5.

Andy Reid, Pederson’s mentor and boss in Kansas City, has always favored the passing game over the running game. The Chiefs’ run-heavy offense marked a distinct departure for Reid. Whether that was Reid’s plan or Pederson’s influence will go a long way toward determining what kind of offense the Eagles run.

The other major factor will be the identity of the quarterback. If the Eagles are able to retain Sam Bradford, Pederson and Reich are likely to throw the ball a bit more often. If Bradford bolts via free agency and the Eagles draft a quarterback, they are more likely to use their running game to take pressure off the rookie.

Mathews and DeMarco Murray, both signed as free agents last year, give the Eagles depth at running back. If Darren Sproles, another former Charger, is back, that would mean three running backs who can be used in rotation.

Pederson is expected to run a variation of the West Coast offense. He played in West Coast-based systems in Green Bay, Philadelphia and Cleveland and coached in Reid’s version for the last seven years.

Reich, 54, has a variety of experience in different offenses, including his stint in Mike McCoy’s West Coast-derived system in San Diego.

For the last three seasons in Philadelphia, Pat Shurmur served as Chip Kelly’s offensive coordinator. Shurmur’s experience was mostly in the West Coast offense, while Kelly ran a spread offense that was very different. The two were able to work together with some success, especially in the first two seasons.

When Reid became head coach of the Eagles in 1999, he hired veteran Rod Dowhower as his offensive coordinator. Dowhower was not a strict adherent to the West Coast, but had varied experience that helped Reid weather his first couple seasons as a head coach.