After another season to forget, the Jacksonville Jaguars have finally appointed a new head coach and one with a pedigree as a winner. The new man leading their roster is Doug Pederson, the former Philadelphia Eagles coach who led The Birds to victory at Super Bowl LII over the New England Patriots just four years ago.
Shad Khan, the owner of the Jags, is delighted at appointing Pederson as the new head coach, and he’s hoping that his new employee can lead the team to victory.
“Doug Pederson four years ago won a Super Bowl as head coach of a franchise in pursuit of its first world championship,” Khan said.
“I hope Doug can replicate that magic here in Jacksonville, but what is certain is his proven leadership and experience as a winning head coach in the National Football League. It’s exactly what our players deserve. Nothing less.”
Optimism Abound with the Hiring
Khan’s optimism is justified as Pederson’s record at the Eagles over five years was 42-37-1, and amongst that was three consecutive trips into the playoffs. However, it could be a different story when it comes to the players. Khan isn’t going to rail his players in an unveiling of a new head coach; however, some could say that if he did, there’d be justification.
While the men previously in charge of directing the players might not have been at the level of Pederson, some of the blame has to be apportioned to the men on the field. The Jaguars are consistently outsiders for the Super Bowl in the Coral NFL betting markets, having been without a playoff appearance since 2017, only three times troubling the postseason fixtures since the turn of the century, and they haven’t had a winning season since 2008. However, with a new man comes the chance of a clean slate, and if you’re looking for shoots of optimism, you only have to look at Trevor Lawrence. The potential for Pederson to develop one of the brightest young quarterbacks in the NFL is exciting. After all, the head coach knows what it takes to do the job; he’s won the Super Bowl as a quarterback and a coach.
More Work to be Done
In front of Lawrence, more work has to be done, and with The Jags having the No.1 pick in the 2022 draft, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Pederson look at the offensive line. There needs to be better protection for the man driving the offense, with some concerns being raised by likes of Yahoo who were reporting on a fumble and a sack on Lawrence’s first drive as a Jag. Although the record of 32 sacks by the end of the season wasn’t the worst, it certainly doesn’t help a rookie QB who’s acclimatizing to the NFL. So, it would be prudent for Pederson to go for someone like Evan Neal from Alabama or Charles Cross from Mississippi State in the draft. They’d be great additions to supplement the team and learn from the likes of Ben Bartsch and the experienced guard Andrew Norwell if he’s to be retained.
A little further up the field, a wide receiver would be a great addition, although they already have some promise in the pack. DJ Chark Jr showed great promise before his injury early in the season, so there’s something to work with, but like Norwell, he’s out of contract too, so there’s no doubt the O-line needs a little more depth.
The Winds of Change
Sometimes it just needs that one thing to be the catalyst for a sea of change. Pederson’s appointment could prove to be that masterstroke; he’s experienced and arguably more so than any of his predecessors and knows how to build a quality roster; so it will be interesting to see if he still has the magic touch.
While it’s a stretch too far to say the Jags will be a frontrunner next season, it’s certainly great to once again see an air of optimism at TIAA Bank Field.
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