Respected NFL analyst suggests Jaguars make bold coaching change to improve

• Jaguars OC Press Taylor still holds playcalling duty but a trusted NFL voice thinks maybe the Jaguars should take it way from him.

Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson talks with offensive coordinator Press Taylor on the
Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson talks with offensive coordinator Press Taylor on the / Bob Self/Florida Times-Union / USA TODAY

The Jacksonville Jaguars made several meaningful changes to the defensive side of their coaching staff but left their offensive counterpart mostly intact. However, analyst Aaron Schatz thinks they should make one adjustment involving offensive coordinator Press Taylor before the start of the regular season.

Schatz, writing for ESPN, suggests the Jags take playcalling duties way from Taylor, noting that the offense struggled to move the ball and score points as the 2023 season progressed.

"It's unlikely Pederson would cut Taylor off at the knees by taking the playcalling away from him. But perhaps he should. The Jaguars ranked 14th in pass offense DVOA last season after ranking eighth with Pederson calling the plays in 2022.

A team with Trevor Lawrence really should not be around the league average when it comes to passing the ball. The run offense DVOA also declined, going from 22nd to 26th. Pederson was hired in part because of his abilities as a playcaller -- and he needs to be using those abilities."

Schatz acknowledges that Doug Pederson has routinely shown support for Taylor. Similarly, he's aware the Jaguars' offensive woes went beyond the playcalling but he thinks that taking away this responsibility would help the team immensely.

Taylor has followed Pederson throughout his coaching career. He joined the Philadelphia Eagles staff as an offensive assistant in 2013. He eventually got promoted to quarterbacks coach during Pederson's stint as the head coach. However, he became the subject of turmoil when Pederson wanted to make him his offensive coordinator. Owner Jeffrey Lurie didn't approve the move and the head coach resigned as a sign of disagreement.

When Pederson became the head coach of the Jaguars, he brought Taylor with him and made him his offensive coordinator. He then handed playcalling duties last year. Although he did a solid job, he also left a bit to be desired. In particular, his decision to abandon the run let in the season hurt the offense down the stretch. In his defense, the offensive line couldn't block but he should've been able to make adjustments and he didn't.

Following the season, Pederson made it clear he liked Taylor's overall performance and blamed the offensive struggles on turnovers. While the Jaguars chose to move on from defensive coordinator Mike Caldwell and most of the defensive staff, he kept Taylor and most of the offensive coaches. The only meaningful change that they made on that side of the ball was that they lost pass game coordinator Nick Holz to the Tennessee Titans and didn't fill the vacancy. It's fair to say that the team's dearth of changes on offense will be under scrutiny in 2024.

Press Taylor must show the Jaguars made the right decision

As Schatz noted, it's unlikely that Doug Pederson will strip playcalling duty away from Press Taylor. Following the season, there was a rumor that general manager Trent Baalke wasn't pleased with Taylor's overall performance but later said that he was behind Pederson's staff decisions. But even if Baalke isn't a fan of Taylor, and there's a chance he isn't, no changes were made to his role with the team. That said, things could change as the season progresses.

Taylor wasn't bad per se, and many things prevented him from performing his job to the best of his capabilities. However, he needs to make adjustments in 2024 to justify Pederson's decision to keep him around. His playcalling must be more creative and needs to get the ball in the hands of his playmakers, something he didn't always do last year. Similarly, they need to cut down on the communication issues that held the offense back. That falls solely on Taylor's shoulders.

For his part, Trent Baalke must fortify the offensive trenches and bolster the depth of most position groups. Given that he himself could be on the hot seat if he falters, he will probably be incentivized to make significant upgrades across the roster.

In the end, it takes more than one person to win football games, and Press Taylor wasn't the only reason the Jacksonville Jaguars collapsed in the second half of the 2023 season. Then again, he needs to do a better job if he wants to keep playcalling duty (and his job) beyond 2024.

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