After the Urban Meyer fiasco, the Jacksonville Jaguars knew they had to get their head-coaching search right and after weeks of due diligence, they hired Doug Pederson. A few months later, this looks like the right decision, as players are buying into his program.
Cornerback Shaquill Griffin recently appeared on the Jaguars’ Happy Hour and among other things, he talked about the impact Pederson has had since his arrival in Jacksonville. The 2019 Pro Bowl nod believes the head coach has adopted the right approach going into the offseason.
"Sometimes, you got to overemphasize. Being a new coach is a lot going on and trying to bring an organization back to where we needed to be and getting the players to believe in the message he’s given us. And I feel like he held it very well going into the offseason, treating the guys like the men that we are, and letting us be exactly who you are in the field. And that does contribute in a way that we feel that can help the organization win and he’s figured that out."
Griffin goes on to say that the Jaguars still have plenty of work left to do but feels like it’s “a very exciting time to get that chance to really be with the guys and coach Doug”. Moreover, the veteran cornerback says Pederson has their trust and he and his teammates are “ready to run through a brick wall“.
Doug Pederson will get the most out of the Jaguars roster in 2022
That part about treating players like the men they are and letting them be who they are stood out. Maybe this writer is reading too much into what Griffin said but it’s possible that that might have not been the case last year. After all, Urban Meyer became known for being a ‘my way or the highway’ kind of head coach. Looking from the outside, it looked like the former Jaguars’ head coach lacked the emotional intelligence to lead an NFL team. For proof, look at the Josh Lambo incident.
Instead of reassuring Lambo, Meyer allegedly kicked him and used profanity when interacting with him. Sure, head coaches curse like a sailor and they must demand the best from their players. However, the good ones know how to press the right buttons and when to do it. Meyer didn’t know how to do it, and that’s why the contrast between him and his successor is so marked.
Now, Pederson has been on the job for the than a year, and before he gets consideration for coach of the year or any other distinctions, he needs to get the Jaguars out of the cellar, which might prove to be a daunting task even thought the organization revamped their roster this offseason. After all, the Jags have amassed a combined 15 victories over the last four years and have only won more than six games in a season just once in the last ten years.
The Jaguars hired Pederson because they think he’s the right head coach to get them on the right path. While this might turn out to be a lengthy process, he can check off one item on his to-do list, as he’s got the players’ trust, something his predecessor might have earned but ultimately lost.