Doug Pederson thinks Jaguars close to having Super Bowl-caliber core

Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) and HC Doug Pederson at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) and HC Doug Pederson at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

Head coach Doug Pederson knows a thing or two about winning the Super Bowl, having helped the Philadelphia Eagles raise the Lombardi Trophy in 2017. Using the Eagles as a reference point, Pederson knows what the Jacksonville Jaguars need to play on Championship Sunday.

Pederson met with the local media Monday and said that the Jags are close to having a Super-Bowl-caliber core.

“We’re close, I think the leadership is right”, Pederson said. “The core guys that we have are right. It boils down to continuing to work hard, trusting each other. There’s consistency with the staff, there’s consistency with the players. You look at some of the teams that are still playing and that’s what they had”.

“Cincinnati right now, they struggled early on, but these last couple of years, they’ve turned that corner. Kansas City is the same way, you look at the Eagles, you like at the Niners, these are teams that have been established for a while and that’s what it takes. It takes that continuity and consistency and we’re just at the beginning phase of that”, Pederson said.

All the clubs Pederson mentioned have played in the Super Bowl at least once in the last four seasons and are still in contention this year. The San Francisco 49ers were one good Jimmy Garoppolo pass away from beating the Kansas City Chiefs in 2019. The Chiefs themselves have made two appearances and the Cincinnati Bengals came close to beating the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl 52.

As Pederson noted, all these teams have the right leadership in place and also a solid core of playmakers. It also helps that San Francisco notwithstanding, they all have a long-term answer at quarterback, Joe Burrow in Cincy’s case and Patrick Mahomes in Kansas City. Here’s Pederson’s whole convo with the media.

The Jaguars have the pieces in place to continue improving in 2023

All things considered, the Jags exceeded expectations in 2022. Pederson himself said this wouldn’t be an overnight fix and at the time of his hiring, it made sense. After all, they were coming off one of the most taxing seasons in franchise history and it was hard to assess how much time it would take them to recover from the Urban Meyer fiasco.

But Pederson had a vision and never deviated from it, even when it looked like the Jags were done for the season. In fact, nobody would have blamed them if they had gone through the motions after losing to the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 9. But they chose to fight back instead and went on to win six of their last seven games.

The Jaguars were rightfully deflated after losing to the same Chiefs in the playoffs but they also sounded optimistic about the future and it’s easy to see why. Players love to play for Pederson, who has brought a breath of fresh air to a franchise that won a measly 15 in the four seasons prior to his arrival.

As Pederson noted, his coaching staff won’t probably undergo many changes and there are enough difference-makers on the roster to get back to the playoffs. It’s now up to the team’s leadership to pick up where they left off in 2022 and continue improving to have a shot at getting over the hump next season.

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