The Jaguars are set to announce their finalized coaching staff in the coming days under head coach Doug Pederson. Though there have been numerous reports indicating what coaches are headed to Jacksonville, nothing has been officially announced by the team.
Pederson was hired by Jacksonville on Feb. 4, holding a press conference on Feb. 6, just 10 days ago. Still, Pederson has been hard at work to fill out his staff, something he wanted to get done expeditiously as he sets to take on his second franchise as a HC in the NFL.
On Tuesday, Pederson was interviewed on The SiriusXM Blitz with Brett Favre and Bruce Murray answering a bevy of questions, including about his coaching staff and quarterback Trevor Lawrence, who will undoubtedly be the major focus for the freshly hired HC in Jacksonville.
On the coaching staff, Pederson noted that while it is “not 100%” as of the interview, he was in the process of interviewing a couple of candidates with the coordinators, reportedly Press Taylor (offensive coordinator) and Mike Caldwell (defensive coordinator) already in place. It’s a process, he says, that he really wanted to take his time with.
“I wanted to really take my time and make sure I have the right guys that I want to surround myself with that we’re gonna work closely with here, not only this season but beyond,” said Pederson. “So we’re getting close, I hope to fully announce everything here in a couple of days.”
On the subject of Lawrence, Pederson says he always pays attention to the quarterback position, of course, that’s what Pederson player during his time in the NFL as a backup to Brett Favre, among others.
He says he likes a lot of things about Lawrence but knows that there are some things he can do to grow.
“He’s a tremendous leader inside the building with the football team, outside the building,” he noted.
“And there’s a lot of good things that he does that you can work with and you know, things that you can clean up and still want to maintain aggressiveness, still want to maintain athleticism, you don’t want to change that stuff with him. But, at the same time, you want to teach him how to play quarterback in the National Football League.”
Some of the traits that Pederson mentioned were shown last season with Lawrence. While the year didn’t go the way anyone would have wanted in Jacksonville, Lawrence showed off plenty of athleticism and maintained an aggressive style throughout the season.
Last year, Lawrence had to throw the football 602 times, the seventh-most among all quarterbacks in the NFL last year. He also ran for 334 yards and two touchdowns on 73 attempts, showing off his athleticism.
Still, he would throw 17 interceptions and just 12 touchdowns, though a lot of that had to do with what was going on around him whether it be injuries to key position groups or otherwise, Pederson noted.
But, one of the least mentioned aspects of rookies entering the NFL is how there isn’t much of a break in between playing in college and the end of their first regular season, especially for a player like Lawrence who started all 17 games for Jacksonville last year.
“I mean season, from really the time you leave college until the end of that NFL year, it’s a whirlwind, and it goes fast. And I thought that he handled that as well as he could,” Pederson said of Lawrence’s shortcomings last year.
“There were some injuries at the offensive line, there were obviously some injuries at the receiver position, and some of his top targets were missing. And then, as the season progressed, he lost some of his running backs, and Dan Arnold missed some time. So all of those things can affect the quarterback, and especially a rookie quarterback.”
The Jaguars lost their starting right guard, A.J. Cann, just four weeks into the year, the same week it saw No. 1 receiver DJ Chark Jr. go down for the year, too. Several other offensive linemen, including center Brandon Linder, guards Andrew Norwell and Ben Bartch, along with left tackle Cam Robinson missed some time, too.
In all, the year didn’t go well on offense in Jacksonville, and injuries played a significant role, no doubt also playing a significant role in Lawrence’s development, too.
“Those are the things that we’ve got to, as we move forward, obviously, you got to address,” he said, but he mentioned that some of the things that did excite him about Lawrence were the fact that he didn’t miss a game, and continued to lead the team throughout a tumultuous year.
“The things I’ve been told of people in the building here that, the type of person and the character person that he is are the things that have excited me about getting him here in the offseason and working with him.”
The Jaguars will get an extra two weeks to begin their offseason program.
They’ll start on April 4. (no on-field activities) as opposed to April 18 for teams that have a head coach returning. That will give Pederson and his staff more time to work with Lawrence and the rest of the Jaguars’ players as they look to turn around the franchise.