During the Jacksonville Jaguars’ search for a head coach, it was reported that working with general manager Trent Baalke was a turnoff for several candidates for the position. However, Doug Pederson seems to be comfortable collaborating with him. In fact, it looks like their relationship is off to a great start.
Pederson recently had a sitdown with Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated and touched on several topics, including but not limited to his thoughts on Baalke. He says he heard many things about the general manager before accepting the job but since most (in not all) of them came from anonymous sources, he didn’t care for them much. Instead, he gave himself a chance to meet Baalke and learn about him.
"And so my philosophy with things like that is I want to get to know the person. I want to get to know Trent Baalke, what makes him tick, his family, his likes, his dislikes, and his history as a GM. All those things. He’s had a lot of success in this league. And I’ll tell you something—we’ve connected from Day 1, all the way back to my first interview with the Jaguars."
That’s the best way Pederson could have approached the situation. Sure, Baalke’s reputation around the league isn’t glowing and he could indeed be difficult to work with. But the Jaguars’ recently hired head coach isn’t letting preconceptions blur his judgment and his ability to do his job to the best of his capacities. Pederson also says his work at The 33rd Team has given him a different perspective on the job of a general manager and helped him “dealing and working with Trent Baalke so closely”.
Jaguars HC Doug Pederson and GM Trent Baalke must be on the same page.
Based on what Pederson says, he doesn’t have issues working in conjunction with Baalke and that will be vital for the Jaguars’ future success. They won’t always have to agree but they must be willing to find common ground to compromise. They must put their ego aside and have the organization’s best interest in mind when making decisions. If they do, the Jags could improve significantly in a short amount of time.
Of course, Pederson and Baalke are entering the honeymoon stage of their working relationship, and that may not be sustainable. Back when Baalke was the general manager of the San Francisco 49ers, he had a solid relationship with then-head coach Jim Harbaugh but it later soured and the two got involved in a power struggle. This doesn’t mean the same will happen in Jacksonville but it’s something the Jags should keep in mind.
For Pederson to do his job well, he will need to get players that fit his vision and he will be tasked with telling Baalke the traits he’s looking for. Similarly, he needs to be open to suggestions if the Jaguars want to surround Trevor Lawrence with talent and put the best possible players on the football field.