While the tremors have yet to muffle following the firing of troublesome head coach Urban Meyer last week, the Jacksonville Jaguars have once again found themselves paddling upstream with a gaping hole in its oar. Currently 2-12 amid a campaign headlined with a litany of off-field drama and limited on-field success, Jaguars owner Shahid Khan, for the second consecutive offseason, is preparing to endure the hiring process for a franchise that has made just one playoff appearance since 2007.
While I could go on and on as to why the hiring of Meyer was a mistake from the onset of his tenure in Duval, let’s try to stay positive here, shall we?
A team whose focus should remain on building and adding talent around 2021 No. 1 overall pick Trevor Lawrence, there are pieces to build on with plenty of upcoming draft assets and free agency capital to work with as they sludge their way to another sub-.500 season. For Lawrence, year one has been an anomaly with little assistance from his juvenile head coach on how to lead a group of men and perform on the field accordingly—Meyer was an individual of little substance and a mute voice in a locker room desperate for a sound to revolve around. While Lawrence was right not to take advice from someone who was unable to stare at his own reflection, it’s placed him in a tough spot as he approaches his sophomore season where learning a potentially brand new offense could be in the cards for the former Clemson standout.
But, there should be help on the way.
While the list of potential head coaches will continually grow as the days wear on, and Jacksonville—sooner or later—locks up the 2022 NFL Draft’s No. 1 pick, one man has seen his neck stick out above the crowd as the potential best fit for Lawrence and a Jaguars organization in search of a newfound culture.
Former Philadelphia Eagles head coach—and the man that captained Philadelphia to its first-ever Super Bowl ring back in 2017—Doug Pederson could represent the match made in heaven Khad initially hoped he had in pairing up Meyer with Lawrence. A known quarterback whisperer of sorts whose relationship with Carson Wentz resulted in boatloads of success for the former No. 2 overall pick, Pederson in Jacksonville could accelerate a rebuild currently expected to drag on for years. And although Jacksonville’s organizational structure and the way they hang their hat has come under fire before the hiring of Meyer (and will continue to until the Jaguars begin to consistently win football games), Pederson is the type of individual to lead a 53-man roster, placing his teams in the best position to win week in and week out… something Meyer failed to do on all accounts.
While Pederson has already been linked to the vacant job, there is tons of behind-the-scenes work to be done for Khan to firmly lend the keys over to his franchise. However, a season where many of football’s most intriguing coordinators have enjoyed suboptimal seasons that could see them avoid a bevy of interviews, it's hard to ignore the players-coach figure in Pederson as the ideal Robin to Lawrence’s Batman in North Florida. A coach that demands respect whose gaudy ring on his finger tells you all you need to know about his ideals, Pederson has become an awfully intriguing candidate with just a few weeks left in the regular season.
All in all, the Jaguars couldn’t have done any worse than hiring Meyer. Seriously. And while the nasty taste of his presence will remain on the palette of Jaguars brass and Jacksonville faithful for months to come, a look at the near future and the potential man to lead them back to relevancy should, for now, be enough to sate their appetite.