JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — New Jacksonville Jaguars Head Coach Doug Pederson got a chance to speak on Saturday for the first time since his hiring was announced late Thursday and his message was clear: he wants to win.
“I’m not going to settle for anything less than a championship caliber team,” Pederson said during his opening remarks.
Indeed, Pederson has the resume to back that up; he led the Philadelphia Eagles to a Super Bowl championship in 2018.
Jaguars owner Shad Khan said that finding someone “here to win” was important to him over the coaching search process, which was lengthy.
“We wanted someone who knows what it’s like to be the last team standing in February,” Khan said.
Pederson was the first candidate the Jaguars interviewed on December 30, Khan said, and he was also the last person the team interviewed, just a few days ago.
Pederson said the “interview process was very exhaustive. I can appreciate the process the Khan family went through.”
During that process, Khan said he got insights from current players and alumni players.
“Our goal was to get it right in the interview,” Khan said.
Though there was quite a bit of buzz around the possibility of Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator and former Jaguars quarterback Byron Leftwich being hired, Khan said during their search they never got to the point of offering the head coach position to other candidates.
“Doug is our guy,” Khan said.
Khan said the structure between Pederson and Jaguars General Manager Trent Baalke will be “collaborative.”
Baalke acknowledged it has been a difficult past month for him, with a vocal group of fans on Twitter calling for his firing, and several fans even dressing like clowns as a way to show their displeasure with the decision to retain him.
Baalke said he “had a vote of confidence from Shad.”
Khan said of Baalke, “I want to have the best people to help me, simple as that.”
With Pederson and Baalke in place, Khan said he is still looking to strengthen the team’s front office.
“We have filed a request with the NFL for EVP (executive vice president),” Khan said.
Several reports earlier this week indicated that the Jaguars interviewed former Minnesota Vikings general manager Rick Spielman to join the front office.
Khan didn’t outright confirm that the team had interviewed Spielman, but he did say “strengthening football operations is our goal.”
“We want to add more brain power, more people,” Khan said.
Pederson said he believes the Jags have the players to win, like franchise quarterback Trevor Lawrence, and it’s just a matter of adding some more key pieces to the roster.
“These guys want to win. Bottom line, they want to win,” Pederson said.
Josh Allen was one of several players who came in on Saturday to meet Pederson, saying, “I had to get here to meet my coach.”
“That just shows the type of players on this team,” Pederson said.
Pederson said it was unfortunate that things didn’t go smoothly last year, which came to a close with the firing of Urban Meyer, especially for Lawrence’s rookie season.
“But that’s behind us now,” Pederson said.
He also acknowledged how much the fans have been through not only over the last season, but over the last several years of losing records.
“To our fans: Listen, I know you’ve been through a lot, but that’s about to change,” Pederson said.
After the news conference was over, Pederson got to enjoy some Haagen-Daaz, his favorite, which was provided by Lawrence.
Hopefully the sweet start to Pederson’s tenure will be the beginning of sweet things for the Jaguars.
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