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Jaguars Monday presser: ‘This is not who we are as a team’

Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson addresses the media on Monday following the 37-17 loss to the Houston Texans

NFL: Houston Texans at Jacksonville Jaguars Morgan Tencza-USA TODAY Sports

After a sobering Sunday afternoon at EverBank Stadium, Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson met the media on Monday. Pederson cut a frustrated figure immediately after the 37-17 defeat to the Houston Texans, and whilst his tone was more upbeat 24 hours later, his disappointment in the performance was still evident.

Pederson began by clearing up some injury statuses following the weekend’s action:

“Anton [Harrison] got rolled up on (his) ankle, he’ll will be fine. Kind of day to day right now. X-rays were negative, so he should be good to go. The other one, probably a little more significant; Devin Lloyd with his right hand. He’s undergoing further testing, but we’ll have to see where his thumb is - he injured that during the game. He’ll probably miss practice on Wednesday, but we’ll see later today where he’s at. Zay is still gonna be day to day. If we had to practice today he’d be out obviously, so we’ll see on Wednesday where he is.”

So some lingering health concerns as the team begins preparations for their two-week trip to London. But Pederson was forced to engage in a public postmortem of a tough divisional defeat before he could focus on Week 4. With mistakes made on all three phases of the game, Pederson first gave his thoughts on Texans fullback Andrew Beck’s 86-yard kickoff return - a pivotal moment that put the game firmly out of reach of the Jaguars:

“A lot of poor tackling. It was a great kick - ball was on the ground and we had a great opportunity to pin them deep right there. And we just lost leverage. Guys see the ball on the ground and just made a beeline for it, and I think five guys just missed tackles. That’s just unacceptable - that can’t happen when you’ve got a great kicker.”

Pederson was also asked about the offense’s inability to work Christian Kirk and Evan Engram into the gameplan in what was a lackluster first half:

“Actually the plan, quite honestly, was to get them started early. Get Evan and Christian going, and get our run game established early in the football game. I liked that first drive; I mean we executed the plan perfectly, but we missed that touchdown catch - and Calvin [Ridley] will make that play nine times out of ten. And then we went and missed the field goal. So it’s not necessarily them, it’s what we did to ourselves. But yeah - we the staff need to make a conscious effort to make sure our best players are touching the ball early in the game.”

On that note, Pederson addressed rumors that he took over playcalling from offensive coordinator Press Taylor in the second half:

“That’s false. You know I communicated with Press [Taylor] and the offensive staff no more or less than I usually do on gameday.”

Multiple mistakes

The inquest was far from over. Next up came questions about the blocked field goal in the second quarter of the game. With the Texans leading by just one score at the time, it was another momentum swinger in the contest:

“Anton got a little overextended. Head down, and what happened was Walker Little went to the outside to the three rushers and it just created a gap for ‘51’ - Will Anderson - to break through and block the kick.”

Pederson was remaining calm, but his annoyance at the culmination of multiple mistakes was clear. When asked about some mistakes in coverage throughout the game, he was frank - the secondary needs to be better:

“Miscommunication on the back end. Man coverage, just miscommunication. That one late in the game, and the post route in the first quarter. Both of those just miscommunication on the secondaries’ part. Again, unacceptable - those guys have been together too long to be making those mistakes.”

Attention finally turned to making the changes necessary before the Jaguars take on the Atlanta Falcons at Wembley on Sunday. With so many areas to clean up, how does Pederson and his staff cover all bases?

“Well you focus on the highlights but you definitely coach it all. That’s why days like today are so important; getting guys in the building to show them the mistakes and make those corrections today, before we hit the practice field again on Wednesday. You have to show the good, the bad, the ugly to the players. And it’s my job to paint the picture; this is where we are, this is not who we want to be, and this is where we’re going. All that stuff is ahead of us.”

Adjusting the mindset

Did the Jaguars’ run to the playoffs last season give them a false sense of security heading into 2023? Pederson acknowledged that it may have had an effect:

“I think there’s some of that. It’s human nature - you read into the preseason hype, and right now we’re not living up to that expectation. Yeah you wanna pick up where you left off, but you know it’s a new season. You still gotta go and put in the hard work and the preparation and put the work into practice. That’s the one thing I really appreciate about those guys - yeah they’re disappointed like I am. But they continue to work, and show the confidence they need to get it fixed.”

Asked if last year’s turnaround gives him hope an early season faltering can be overcome, Pederson was still annoyed the fast start this staff preached in training camp obviously went unheeded. Instead, The Jaguars find themselves in familiar territory:

“Obviously that’s a good thing, you know we’ve been in those situations before and pulled ourselves out. Yesterday was a little different however. Sure, we got back to 17-10, but then that kickoff return hit us. That sort of took the wind out of our sails. We still had chances and opportunities, but gave up those same chances on the other side of the ball. They scored on four of five possessions they had, including that return in the second half. This was a game where - it’s very rare - all three phases had a hand in this loss yesterday.”

It might not be how he wanted his team to start the season. But does Pederson believe Sunday’s loss to the Texans can give this team the same kind of spark as the Detroit Lions loss from last year?

“I think so. I hope so. I know that this is not who we are, as a team. There’s a lot of pride in the locker room, the coaching staff. But this is what’s on tape. This is what we’re putting out there. Atlanta, Buffalo, the rest of our opponents this season - this is what they’re seeing. We feel, we know, we’re a better team.”

“We gotta get back to being us.”