Even a veteran Hollywood screenwriter couldn’t have scripted the Jacksonville Jaguars’ 2021 campaign to be more tumultuous.
Now the team moves forward, attempting to recover from the scandal that was notorious jabroni Urban Meyer’s short stint in the NFL, with new head coach Doug Pedersen. Think what you want of Pedersen, but things can’t possibly get much worse than last year.
At the least, Pedersen and his staff should be an upgrade for second-year starter Trevor Lawrence. Any more time under Meyer may have ruined Lawrence for good. Lawrence and the Jaguars get a fresh start under Pedersen, who led the Eagles to a Super Bowl title.
Of course, there’s skepticism with Dougie P., who’s only had one great season as an NFL head coach. In fairness to Pedersen, his team did cap off that magical season by winning Super Bowl LII and bringing the city of Philadelphia its first Lombardi trophy. Even if Pedersen is a sub .500 (29-34) coach outside of his Super Bowl year, he’s got to be an upgrade over the shit show of the previous regime.
Lawrence is already speaking highly of his new coach and went into depth about what he’s seen from Pedersen during a recent appearance on The Herd with Colin Cowherd.
“[H]is resume speaks for itself. But then seeing the way he carries himself, the way he treats people,” Lawrence said. “The way he leads, I think we’re similar — just our demeanors, our personality. Doesn’t get too high or too low. I think that’s really important to have if you’re going to be a really good head coach, especially in the NFL.”
The 2021 No. 1 overall pick pointed out a few things in that quote that should catch everyone’s attention. He mentions the way Pedersen carries himself. Lawrence’s first NFL head coach carried himself like an entitled frat boy. “The way he treats people” line may not have been meant as a shot but will undoubtedly be taken as one aimed directly at Meyer. The man kicked his kicker last year. Not to mention the lack of respect shown for his wife and family.
I think leadership could be the most relevant thing to his personal and professional growth as an NFL QB. Something else he learned very little about from Meyer. One of Meyer’s first hires in Jacksonville was a coach that had been fired from Iowa for being a racist. That hire by Meyer showed a lack of leadership but also a lack of awareness. It’s usually a good idea to read the room. Meyer couldn’t have cared less coming from the college game where he got away with any and everything.
This team needed a shake-up for the better, and I think Pedersen can bring that in helping develop Lawrence. I’m not saying they’re making the playoffs this year or will even have a winning record. But I can see them doubling their win total from three to six. After all, they play the Houston Texans twice, the NFC Least, and the Lions this season. Surely, there are a few wins in that bunch.
Right now, the Jaguars’ primary objective should be developing Lawrence. While they probably shouldn’t have hired Meyer in the first place, at least they didn’t let that era linger past one season. I still think Lawrence can become one of the better QBs in the league over the next handful of years, and that journey starts now.
A fresh outlook, a new coaching staff, and a new opportunity to show the world what he can do under better circumstances organizationally. Trevor has all the tools; big arm, prototypical NFL QB size, and he seems like an intelligent kid. Lawrence had been a winner before his NFL rookie year, so he knows what it takes to be one. It’s time to apply all those attributes and ride this new wave with Dougie P.