Philadelphia Eagles

Why the Doug Pederson-Jaguars pairing is a bad idea


Urban Meyer was fired by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the wee hours of Week 14 following a 2-11 start, myriad behind-closed-doors scandals and dramas, and a general lack of anything compelling from the ex-college coach.

Less than 10 hours later, the football internet believed it had found Meyer's replacement: former Eagles head coach and Super Bowl champion Doug Pederson.

Pederson's name was popping up all over the place, from fan theories to reputable reporters, all of whom were merely connecting dots at that point - but there seemed to already be a widespread consensus that Pederson in Jacksonville is a great idea.

And on Tuesday afternoon news came down that Pederson is officially going to interview for the job.

I'm here to tell Doug, if he's reading (I'm sure he is), that it is actually not a great idea.

Here are three reasons why:

1. The Jaguars are a bad organization

A large amount of the fallout from Meyer's firing is going to be looking back on all of his failures this year and roasting him, and rightly so. He's a bad NFL coach, he seems to be a bad person, and he should get torched.

But we need to remember that he was enabled by the people above him in the Jacksonville organizational structure, a group of people who saw fit to hire Meyer in the first place and then let him continue to besmirch their franchise for months after it was clear he was wrong for the job.

READ: Urban Meyer fired by Jaguars amid tumultuous first season

Meyer tried to hire an assistant coach who was fired over allegations of racism, yet Meyer kept his job. Meyer was caught up in a social media firestorm after not flying home with the team following a loss and winding up in a compromising situation at a bar, yet Meyer kept his job. It took Meyer fudging black-and-white facts about a game he'd just coached, combined with a story of him kicking a player, for Shad Khan to finally fire the guy.

The Jaguars were a laughingstock in the NFL before Meyer arrived, and they'll be one after he departs, because the organization is poorly-run. Why would Pederson want to get involved in that?

2. Pederson can afford to be picky

Doug Pederson isn't your run-of-the-mill head coaching candidate. He's not a typical retread looking to get back in the game after being fired after years of mediocrity, or a fresh-faced coordinator looking for his first shot.

This is a Super Bowl-winning head coach, a guy who went toe-to-toe with Bill Belichick in the biggest game on the planet and out-creative'd him, who most agree was forced out of his last job prematurely and without much cause.

Pederson doesn't need to hard charge into this offseason and desperately try to land whichever job calls first. Instead, he can afford to sit back and let opportunities come to him - and you'd better believe Jacksonville won't be the only org that calls.

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Should Pederson take the Raiders job instead? Eh. Just like Jacksonville that's an organization with a bunch of question marks in recent hiring practices and culture fits, although their team comes with more talent, the franchise has more gravitas, and the owner seems much more committed to winning.

Pederson isn't taking the Giants job, period. That's not a New York dude.

How about the Bears, if Matt Nagy is finally axed after years of uninspiring stewardship? That's the fit I really like for Pederson. The chance to work with a young quarterback who has a high ceiling; a franchise with a long, storied, successful history; a cold-weather city with a penchant for loving blue collar players and coaches? Now THAT is a perfect Pederson fit.

And frankly, I would say he might even be better served jumping back into the league as an offensive coordinator if an attractive job becomes available. What if Brian Daboll is hired away this offseason as a head coach and Sean McDermott wants a bright offensive mind to come help him win a Super Bowl with Josh Allen? The two ex-Eagles assistants would be quite a duo.

All of this is to say, Jacksonville will hardly be the only possibility for Pederson next month, and I certainly wouldn't put it anywhere near the top of the list.

3. Are we sure Trevor Lawrence is good?

The biggest reason I'm seeing for the Pederson-to-Jacksonville hype is the chance to work with Trevor Lawrence, the No. 1 overall pick last spring who was viewed as a can't-miss QB prospect.

I'm not going to completely write Lawrence off for his bad rookie season - rookies are bad sometimes! - but... folks, he has been very bad.

The talent around Lawrence is definitely lacking (another reason to be wary of this job) and Meyer's coaching clearly wasn't doing much to elevate him, but let's look at Lawrence's stat line through 13 games:

  • 58.7% completion
  • 9 TD (1.7% TD rate)
  • 14 INT (2.6% INT rate)
  • 5.9 yards per attempt
  • 27th EPA per play among 32 quarterbacks

That's all concerning, and it's not just the numbers that worry me.

Look at Lawrence's fourth INT of the game vs. the Titans earlier this month:

When that ball is picked off there are five Titans players and one Jaguars player in the frame, including three Tennessee players within three yards of Lawrence's target. That's bad!

The guy hasn't thrown a touchdown in four straight games. He's shown precious little in the way of actual exciting football play. I just don't know if this is the slam dunk we all thought it was.

Lawrence might be totally salvageable, but Pederson shouldn't be staking the future of his head coaching career solely on a guy who might be... just okay.

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