While the Jacksonville Jaguars still find themselves paddling upstream following the firing of troublesome Head Coach Urban Meyer, the holes in their oars have begun to close. Following a 3-14 campaign headlined with a litany of off-field drama, the hiring of Head Coach Doug Pederson to pair with quarterback Trevor Lawrence has provided some optimism for a Jacksonville roster with youth-infused talent on either side of the ball.
The Jaguars have remained focused on adding talent around the 2021 No. 1 overall pick and the pieces to build on have become more apparent following Pederson’s debut spring in Jacksonville. Money spent on the perimeter in Christian Kirk, Zay Jones and Evan Engram cost a pretty penny, and while backing up the Brinks truck for Brandon Scherff will surely hold major weight to the overall progression of Lawrence this fall, it goes without saying the most impactful add the Jaguars made this offseason was the hiring of Pederson. He’s a proven leader, a proven winner and a proven mentor and coach towards a young, talented quarterback.
For Lawrence, year one was an anomaly with little assistance from his head coach on how to lead a group of men and perform on the field, accordingly. Meyer was an individual of little substance and a mute voice in a locker room desperate for someone to rally around. While Lawrence was probably right in not heeding much of Meyer’s coaching, it’s placed Lawrence in a tough spot as he approaches his sophomore season where he will be tasked with learning his second offense in as many years.
But, there is help on the way, and lots of it in the form of Pederson.
The former bench boss of the Philadelphia Eagles —and the man that captained Philadelphia to its first-ever Super Bowl ring back in 2017—Pederson and Lawrence could be the match made in heaven that owner Shad Khan initially hoped Meyer and Lawrence would be. A known quarterback whisperer of sorts whose relationship with Carson Wentz resulted in boatloads of success for the former No. 2 overall pick, Pederson in Jacksonville could accelerate a rebuild five years after an AFC title game appearance in 2017. Although Jacksonville’s organizational structure has come under fire before the hiring of Meyer (and will continue to until the Jaguars begin to consistently win football games), Pederson is the type of individual to lead a 53-man roster, placing his teams in the best position to win week in and week out, which is something the latter failed to do on all accounts.
While there remains both a ton of behind-the-scenes work and Sunday success to be had for Khan to firmly trust Pederson, it’s hard to ignore the fit. A coach that demands respect whose gaudy ring on his finger tells you all you need to know about his ideals, Pederson and Lawrence could progress into a quarterback-head coach tandem to be reckoned with sooner rather than later.
While Meyer’s short-lived tenure isn’t fully in the rearview mirror for Jaguars brass and Jacksonville faithful, a look at the near future and the two men to lead them back to relevancy should, for now, be enough for some hope.
- Sep 28, 2023
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