Hurricane Ian was rightfully brought up during Jacksonville Jaguars’ media session Wednesday but that wasn’t the only topic that was discussed. Head coach Doug Pederson also talked about how he leaned on players that were on the roster before he arrived to help heal the Jags.
“They were the ones I leaned on, to really kind of get a sense of a feel for where they were mentally coming off the last couple of seasons”, Pederson said. “And just wanted to reassure them that we were gonna work hard to try to get things turned around and they bought into that and you’re starting to see the fruits of their labor by the way they practice and obviously by where they’re playing”.
Earlier this year, Pederson said that the Jags needed healing after everything they went through under Urban Meyer last week. Jacksonville went 3-10 in 2021 but it wasn’t just the losing. Players and the coaching staff had to endure Meyer’s mental abuse behind scenes, as he often resorted to intimidation as a means to exert his power in the locker room.
So far, it looks like Pederson’s approach is working. Not only are the Jags 2-1 and at the top of the AFC South but players are fully on board with his vision. Outside linebacker Josh Allen says there’s now a professional coaching staff in place while cornerback Shaquill Griffin says he and his teammates are ready to run through a brick wall for him.
Doug Pederson has helped the Jaguars turn things around in less than 1 year
Last season was the straw that broke the camel’s back for the Jaguars but the truth is that things weren’t particularly great for them before. They were coming off a season in which they won only one game. Moreover, they’ve only had one winning season since 2008, so they really needed someone to attack the cause, not the symptoms, of all the losing that’s taken place in Jacksonville. Pederson has proven to be that coach.
Instead of bringing a ‘my way or the highway’ approach, Pederson engaged with players that have been around for a while and asked for their input. After all, they’ve witnessed what’s worked and what hasn’t, so there’s nobody better to lean on when trying to turn things around.
Something worth noting is that Pederson has shown he’s not focused on individual accomplishments. When he talks about himself, it’s to discuss his role and his responsibilities as the head coach but when talking about the Jaguars’ recent success and the strides they made since he took over earlier this year, he credits the players. That’s precisely the kind of head coach you want leading your team.
The Jags will next face off against the Philadelphia Eagles — the team Pederson coached from 2016 to 2020 — and Pederson is doing his best to ensure the team is ready for the challenge.