Jacksonville Jaguars having growing pains to start the Doug Pederson era

Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson at FedExField. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson at FedExField. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports /

The Jacksonville Jaguars are 4-2 following their 34-27 loss to the Indianapolis Colts in Week 6. While there are many reasons behind their inability to win football games in 2022, the biggest one is that they’re simply not that good.

That’s right, good teams win games they’re supposed to. Also, they will hold onto leads. And last but not least, they will be able to win more close games than the ones they’ll lose and the Jaguars haven’t been able to do any of those things this season.

Is it harsh to call the Jags a bad team? Maybe but that’s to be expected from a team that is learning to win while trying to end years of underachieving and bad draft acquisitions. It would be great to see the Jaguars be 4-2 instead of 2-4 after six weeks but they haven’t managed to put in a complete effort during their three-game losing streak.

Whether Doug Pederson dials a questionable call, Trevor Lawrence makes a bad throw or the defense can’t hold its own, there’s always something holding Jacksonville back, and that’s not surprising when you take into account that this is Pederson’s first year at the helm and more importantly, they’re coming off one of the worst dysfunctional seasons in franchise history.

In fact, you could argue that Urban Meyer set the Jags back several years after trying (and failing) to instill a winning culture. That Pederson has been able to quickly get rid of his predecessor’s stink is sort of impressive.

Nevertheless, one look at social media will show you that fans aren’t pleased with Pederson’s job performance so far. Sure, he’s called several puzzling plays, especially on fourth-downs but he’s also racked up two victories in six weeks, which is just one less than the ones Meyer won in 2021 and one more than Doug Marrone the year before.

The Jaguars have their eyes set on long-term success

Did you expect an immediate turnaround? Pederson didn’t and warned everyone when he got the job that this wasn’t an overnight fix. Sure, some teams have found a way to make the playoffs as soon as they have a new coach in place but every situation is different.

Back in the distant year of 2017, the Buffalo Bills qualified for the postseason in Sean McDermott’s first year at the helm but they already had a stout defense, so he didn’t have a bare cupboard to work with.

The same year, Sean McVay inherited a roster with plenty of difference makers such as Aaron Donald, running back Todd Gurley, and Jared Goff when he led the Los Angeles Rams to an 11-5 record. McVay definitely deserves credit for getting the most out of his players but so does his predecessor, Jeff Fisher, who found players that end up becoming franchise building blocks.

Pederson himself went 5-11 in his first season as the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles and they hosted their first Lombardi trophy in franchise history just one year later. Now, nobody is saying the Jags will be hosting the Super Bowl but to call for his dismissal just six games in his tenure in Jacksonville seems premature.

The Jaguars will continue losing close games but they will continue making strides, that’s what teams in rebuilding mode do, which is precisely the situation the Jaguars find themselves in right now. Now, keep in mind that things are always fluid in the NFL and the Jaguars could get into a hot streak and start winning games and make the playoffs but it’s equally possible that they end up the season with just six or seven total wins.

In a league where you’re what your record says and Jacksonville has a long way to go before they can be mentioned in the same breath as the Chiefs or the Bills but that doesn’t mean the improvement they made should be disregarded. There’s a process in place and the Jags will have growing pains in the early stages of Doug Pederson’s tenure as the head coach. Now is one of those moments.

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