For those of you who may not have been aware, Doug Pederson previously won a Super Bowl as a quarterback with the Packers and as a head coach for the Eagles. He was also a Browns QB in 2000, backed up Dan Marino on the Dolphins, and played for the Panthers and Eagles.
I give a major tip of the cap to Sir Yacht for both being able to secure the opportunity to sit down with Doug and also for allowing him the space to redirect the conversation to where ever it naturally flowed. Anytime you can get a true one on one sit-down with one of only 32 active NFL head coaches that's definitely a great day. As both a fan of the Jaguars and a student of the game, the interview was a really fun listen that deserves to be heard in its entirety (it’s under 15 minutes long).
A large, Jaguar-related takeaway from the interview for me personally was focused on Jacksonville’s 2023 season prediction portion of the conversation (6:49 time marker).
Sir Yacht: What can fans expect from the Jacksonville Jaguars?
Coach Pederson: Well obviously we got off to the right right start last year. We built a really solid foundation. We got the majority of our team back you know this year. Obviously, you know to have success in the league you got to stay away from the injury bug and you can’t you can’t lose a ton of players. We know football is a violent sport and you’re gonna lose a guy right into an ankle, to a knee, a shoulder, whatever it might be. And it’s a next man up mentality.
This portion of the Q&A may provide Jaguar fans slightly more insight into the Jaguars’ front office’s point of view on the team’s roster entering this past offseason. When asked about what fans should expect, coach Pederson’s immediate response isn’t improving the top end, isn’t a specific area such as red-zone improvement, or rushing the quarterback. He immediately references the team’s depth and ability to stay healthy.
The Jaguars were the least injured team in the 2022 season. It would seem that the coaching staff entered this offseason pretty aware of that 2022 good fortune (and the likely probability of injury regression to the mean). In other words, the Jaguars' front office and coaching staff likely entered this offseason in preparation mode, with an expectation of more injuries in 2023.
This could explain the team’s heavy offseason focus on improving the team’s depth and competition quality in free agency and the draft. For instance, in spite of having Travis Etienne and bringing back JaMycal Hasty into a seemingly strong running back room, the Jaguars improved their depth by signing D’Ernest Johnson and drafting Tank Bigsby. In pursuit of not unnecessarily creating more holes, the team also resigned Tre Herndon to man the nickel cornerback role, while drafting both Christian Braswell and Erick Hallett to potentially compete for that role. Some might even argue that the Brenton Strange and Ventrell Miller draft picks were specifically with injuries and depth in mind, as neither has an immediate path to starting currently. If this were indeed the front office’s philosophy, the team surely achieved their goal of more depth using consecutive second-, third-, and fourth-round picks in the 2023 draft to raise the backup’s level of play.
A second Jaguars-related note I walked away with is that this team is absolutely made in Pederson’s image. Additionally, he may be the perfect coach to build Trevor Lawrence’s football IQ and confidence back up after Urban Meyer went to the store to pick up milk and never returned home.
Sir Yacht: Coach, in your book Fearless you talked about how you’ve basically been an underdog your entire life, as well as when you were a quarterback in the NFL, and when you first got hired by the Eagles as a head coach - that you’ve always had the confidence that you would be successful. What is giving you this confidence?
Coach Pederson: I think it’s my faith honestly. I think it’s where it starts. You know, it’s how you’re grounded, how you’re raised. But, my faith has really kind of pulled me through a lot of, a lot of difficult situations in in this profession. Obviously when I was a player there were a lot of things stacked against me. You know, I was an undrafted player in the National Football League. And then I just had to continue to compete, and fight, and scratch, and claw to earn my way. You know, on a roster. And I think that’s what’s kind of you know what shaped some of the philosophies that I have today as a coach.
Sir Yacht: When you were the Eagles coach you won the Super Bowl the team’s motto: that playoff run was, “One man can make a difference but a team can make a miracle.”
The Jaguars’ second half of 2022, leading into their postseason run, and peaking against the Chargers and Chiefs truly was magical. While the makeup of this team is absolutely quarterback-centric and quarterback-led, everything is not built solely on Trevor’s shoulders, as it was in the 2021 season.
Doug, in a similar fashion to Kellen Moore, is the type of quarterback who raised his level of play above what many would consider being their natural skill level by being film junkies, taking what defenses gave, and understanding the importance of timely reads and quick ball releases. Doug, a former undrafted quarterback who had to “compete, and fight, and scratch, and claw” to earn his way, is absolutely the type of guy who you want rebuilding your quarterback’s confidence and teaching them the basics and intricacies of the position. This is the type of coach who will scheme up the easy reads while Trevor continues to learn which window throws he has the natural ability to make.
This truly was an interesting and wide-ranging interview, broaching a multitude of Jaguar and non-Jaguar topics. A few of my favorite topics are below:
- What did Doug do for the year between coaching the Eagles & becoming the Jaguars’ Head Coach?
- ‘Pug Dederson’ on his cameo in Jaguars’ schedule release video.
- What makes Doug believe Trevor Lawrence can be an all time great?
I asked Doug Pederson what he sees in Trevor Lawrence that makes him believe he can be an all time QB. This was his answer: pic.twitter.com/z4Jf3R6e49— Sir Yacht (@SirYacht_) June 17, 2023
- Doug on if he had any concern in calling the ‘Philly Special.’
I'm on a mission to interview every Cleveland Browns starting QB since 1999.— Sir Yacht (@SirYacht_) June 16, 2023
Next up is former Eagles and current Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson
FULL INTERVIEW: https://t.co/o8xyzmN7EW pic.twitter.com/Krf421S2Aj
This is definitely a recommended listen for my fellow Jaguar fans. You can listen to the full conversation here. What were your takeaways from the interview, BCC nation?