Turning an NFL around requires the right head coach. One that can lead, empathize with players but also push them hard to get the most out of them and it looks like the Jacksonville Jaguars have their main in Doug Pederson.
After the Urban Meyer fiasco, the organization knew that they had to get their head-coaching search right and after weeks of due diligence, they chose Pederson. Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich was a finalist for the job and he was really close to getting it but they couldn’t reach an agreement.
While Leftwich might have been a terrific coach and most likely helped Trevor Lawrence in his development, there’s no doubt the Jaguars got the better candidate in Pederson. This would have been Leftwich’s first time as a head coach and there’s nothing wrong with not having experience — you have to start somewhere right? — but Pederson showed as the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles that he knows how to win and groom quarterbacks.
Back in Philly, Pederson played a role in Carson Wentz’s development and had him playing at an MVP level in 2017. There have been reports Wentz lacks leadership skills and resisted hard coaching. But if he had a different mindset, it’s possible that he would be an upper-echelon right now. Similarly, the Eagles made three straight playoff trips under Pederson. That’s the kind of track record that should make a turnaround possible in Jacksonville.
Doug Pederson is doing the right things in Year 1 with the Jaguars.
Ok, so Doug Pederson knows how to win and develop quarterbacks but how exactly is he going to do it? After all, he can’t just tap Lawrence on his shoulder and dub him an elite signal-caller. Fortunately, he has a plan. The Jaguars head coach appeared on The Rich Eisen podcast and says that he’s helping his young passer refine his mechanics, how to study tape, and verbalize what he likes or doesn’t like. Off the field, Pederson is teaching Lawrence how to be a leader and the face of the franchise.
Of course, Lawrence isn’t the only player on the Jaguars roster, and Pederson must also look out for every single one of them. He knows that he inherited a mess from Urban Meyer and is aware that trust was at a low-time low due to his predecessor’s questionable coaching methods, so he’s taking the necessary steps to build that trust back.
Meyer often talked about putting players in a position to succeed but rarely ever put that philosophy into effect. With Pederson, it feels different and he’s putting his money where his mouth is and while it may take a while to see results, the Jaguars seem to be headed in the right direction.