Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson announced a new play-caller for the team last Sunday. In a statement to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, Pederson confirmed that he would be delegating play-calling duties this season to Press Taylor, his long-term assistant and team offensive coordinator. Here is a closer look at the motivation behind and implications of the announcement.
A Relationship Built on Trust
As the primary play-caller for the Jaguars last season, Pederson led the offense to a number 7 ranking in the league in terms of yards per game with a 358.6 yard-per-game score. It would make sense to keep him in that spot. However, the team's management, and Pederson himself, have always maintained that play-calling is a collaborative endeavor for the Jaguars. And now, it is Taylor's turn to shine.
Taylor and Pederson have a long history, having worked together in some capacity since 2016. Pederson took on Taylor as his offensive coordinator during his last stint as head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles. While he faced some backlash for his decision, Taylor proved his worth, becoming the passing game coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the Eagles in 2020.
Based on their history, Pederson has maintained support of Taylor, saying, "I totally trust Press." The seasoned coach believes that he and Taylor share coaching philosophies and "think alike." It also matters to him that Taylor is familiar with star quarterback Trevor Lawrence’s style of play.
Press Taylor: A Similar Path
A quick look at Pederson and Taylor’s careers reveals striking similarities, almost as if Taylor is working in the exact footsteps of his mentor. Like Pederson, he has risen up the ranks from QB coach to coordinator and now play-caller. The fact that Pederson trusts him is also working in his favor.
During the preseason, in games analyzed on the dedicated sports geek NFL page, Taylor made call plays during the second half. In Pederson’s words, the goal was to keep "giving him more responsibility every year." This strategy seems to be what has brought Taylor to where he is now.
Pederson maintains that Taylor is "highly intelligent," "very smart," "detailed" and organized." This is evident from the results the two have been able to produce working together. Pederson, of course, has already achieved legendary status in the NFL, having led the Eagles to a Super Bowl LII win.
In Jacksonville, the veteran coach has helped the Jaguars win the AFC South title. He also delivered a 31-30 win against the Chargers during Super Wild Card Weekend from a 27-0 deficit in the first half of the game. With Taylor and Pederson at the helm, the Jaguars have risen from 28th to 8th in EPA/Play, 27th to 8th in DVOA, 32nd to 10th in points per game, and 19th to 5th in success rate.
Wrapping Up: Bright Future of the Jags
Going into the season, the Jaguars are prime for success. Lawrence is at the top of his game and the team is packed with enough talent to carry the AFC South Division. Add to that Pederson’s recent announcement and the Jaguars could be almost unstoppable. In Pederson’s words, "Press is a smart coach who has been in the league a long time." Taylor himself seems ready and should begin making play calls on Week 1. It should be an exciting season for the Jaguars.