Pederson refreshed and ready rebuild culture with Jaguars

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INDIANAPOLIS — Doug Pederson heard the question and couldn’t help himself.

Are there things he wants to do differently this time around as a head coach?

Are there things he wants to do differently?!

“Besides win another championship?” Pederson quipped before breaking into a smile and entertaining the crowd. “He’s one of those Philly guys.”

After a year out of the league in 2021, the 54-year-old Pederson is refreshed as he takes over the Jacksonville Jaguars.

It seems like that year off did wonders. He’s going to need that energy.

“You know, that’s what I’m saying,” Pederson continued with a smile. “That’s where you learn from your mistakes, but I think that obviously what we did there are things that I can take into this new chapter and this new job and I’m motivated I’m excited, I’m looking forward to working with a new team and really having a new life as a head coach.

“I still feel like I have a lot to offer, a lot to give, a lot to bring to Jacksonville and I can’t wait to get my hands on this team and really start working with them.”

Turning around a laughingstock franchise like the Jaguars will be no easy task.

That Jags haven’t been to a playoff game since 2017. They’ve had one winning season in the last 14 years. They had one win in 2020 and three wins in 2021, both seasons earning them the No. 1 overall pick. They hired Urban Meyer, a move that proved to be a disaster immediately and then justly fired him before the season ended.

If Pederson can turn around this organization, well, let’s just say he’ll end up with another statue.

On Tuesday at the NFL combine, Pederson talked about the importance of “chipping away at some of the negativity” around the Jaguars.

It’s a blunt observation about the state of the franchise he’s taking over. But he’s right. Obviously, the Jaguars need good players and coaches and schemes but, first and foremost, they need to rebuild the culture in Jacksonville.

The Eagles clearly weren’t as far gone when Pederson took over in 2016, but he still needed to rebuild that culture after the Chip Kelly years. This should prove to be an even bigger challenge.

Pederson looked back at the 2013 season with the Chiefs as an example. Back then, he joined Andy Reid in Kansas City to take over a team that went 2-14 in 2012. In the nine years since, the Chiefs have had nine winning seasons, including six consecutive division titles and a Super Bowl title in 2019. Reid changed the culture in Kansas City.

Pederson wants to change the culture in Jacksonville.

“There is a cloud and you have to try to lift that cloud,” he said. “And in Jacksonville right now until we prove otherwise, that’s who we are. That’s why I am excited to really begin to work with this group and bring another set of free agents and another round of draft picks and having the resources that we have to begin to lighten that cloud a little bit.”

The biggest Jaguars news on Tuesday was that owner Shad Khan announced he’s pausing their search for an executive vice president of football because Pederson has “instilled a structured and disciplined approach that is clearly making a different in our culture and mindset.”

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So, for now, it’ll be Pederson and GM Trent Baalke leading the way.

While Pederson says he’s still a coach first, he appears to have more interest in the personnel side of things in his second stint as an NFL head coach. He had input in Philly but it seems like he wants a little more in Jacksonville and it looks like he’s going to get it.

Back when the Eagles fired Pederson in 2021, owner Jeffrey Lurie admitted Pederson didn’t deserve that fate. But Pederson is in a good spot now, albeit with six months before the real games start.

“You know last year I went through a lot with family off the football field and it was a great time for me, you know, and things work well,” he said. “As you guys know through faith, I think it happened for a reason, and it was a great time to be away, great time to recharge and I’m looking forward to this next chapter.”

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