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Jaguars’ Doug Pederson gives final updates ahead of Chiefs game

Scherff and Fortner to play against Chiefs on Sunday.

Philadelphia Eagles v Kansas City Chief Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

The Jacksonville Jaguars are just two days away from hosting the Kansas City Chiefs.

Ahead of what is a monumental game for both franchises, head coach Doug Pederson said he is trying to keep it cool.

“We are looking to improve from Week 1,” Pederson said on Friday. “Everybody treats (the game) differently. For me personally, it is just the next one, against a really good team.”

The big news ahead of Sunday’s game for the Jaguars is that two key players will be activated and ready to play.

Center Luke Fortner and right guard Brandon Scherff have both been cleared and will play against the Chiefs, according to Pederson. Both players have been recovering from ankle injuries.

Rookie defensive lineman Tyler Lacy has also been cleared. Safety Antonio Johnson and corner Gregory Junior have both been ruled out.

The first time these two teams met last season, the Jaguars got cute to open the game, kicking and recovering an onside.

Pederson said those types of plays are not always necessary, but do provide a certain level of aggressiveness for a team against a great opponent.

The coach did not tip his hand on whether or not an onside kick, or something similar, was in the Jaguars’ future.

“Anytime you are playing a quality opponent like this you have to maintain a level of aggressiveness,” Pederson said. “Each week we try to find opportunities to do that. We were successful a couple times last year doing that. But you got to see how the game goes. Obviously, they are aware.”

One such opportunity the Jaguars are potentially presented with is Christian Kirk against the Chiefs’ man defense.

Last week, against a mainly zone scheme, Kirk only hauled in one catch for nine yards.

Pederson said that Kirk’s production should likely see a huge uptick against the visitors.

“It is more circumstantial,” Pederson said of getting the ball to Kirk. “We are talking about two different defenses. Christian thrives against man-type schemes. Last week was just the way the defense is. He will get his opportunities in this game.”

Another opportunity that the Jaguars might have in their favor is with Josh Allen and the defensive line against the Chiefs’ offensive line.

Last week, Allen recorded three sacks, three tackles for loss and two quarterback hits.

If Allen is doing well like that again, it not only helps him out, but helps the entire defense.

“It is encouraging,” Pederson said of the pass rush production. “It shows discipline in the pass rush. Being able to do that and getting pressure from other spots really helps the sack totals. Josh did a nice job, Josh did well.”

One such area of the game that Pederson did not want to highlight was the potential storyline of Trevor Lawrence versus Patrick Mahomes.

Pederson said he and Lawrence are not worried about those types of conversations, rather sticking to the film room and playbook ahead of Sunday’s kick.

“Trevor just stays within the game plan,” Pederson said. “He spends a lot of time in the film room, before and after practice. He is such a competitor. He just wants to win and get his skill guys involved. Trevor is going to do everything he can to help Jacksonville succeed.”

The offense will be going up against the same man-first scheme they the team did last season, as defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo is still with the team.

Familiarity helps in that regard, and is something the Jaguars will try and exploit.

“Having the familiarity with them and the same defensive coordinator helps,” Pederson said. “We all have to play better.”

Pederson noted that the Chiefs’ Week 1 loss to the Detroit Lions is not necessarily indicative of the Chiefs moving forward, as they were without star tight end Travis Kelce.

Kelce will play on Sunday, but without him, the Chiefs’ offense is vastly different.

“It is different,” Pederson said. “That is the one thing that stood out after watching last week’s game. They go off schedule. That is the element they missed last week.”