The Jaguars are hiring an offensive-minded coach to replace Urban Meyer on a full-time basis. He isn’t the people’s choice, though.
Former Eagles coach Doug Pederson is getting the job. The team announced the hiring late Thursday night after ESPN’s Adam Schefter and NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport reported it was happening. Pederson led Philadelphia to a victory in the 2018 Super Bowl over the Patriots and now-retired QB Tom Brady. He entered coaching lore in that game by letting Nick Foles run a trick play, “Philly Philly” (aka “Philly Special”), on fourth down near the goal line in the first half. The Eagles scored on the play and went on to win the game.
The magic didn’t last. Pederson was fired after the 2020 season and he spent the 2021 campaign out of the league. Now he’s back, and he inherits a potential franchise quarterback, just as he did with the Birds.
Why did the Jaguars hire Doug Pederson as head coach?
At first glance, there are two main reasons for this move: Pederson’s championship season with the Eagles and top candidate Byron Leftwich’s withdrawal from consideration. Let’s look at each one separately.
Pederson took Philadelphia to the Super Bowl in the 2018 postseason as NFC East champs, but without No. 1 quarterback Carson Wentz, who suffered a severe knee injury in Week 14 of the 2017 regular season. Journeyman backup Nick Foles replaced Wentz and proceeded to go 5-1 (regular season and playoffs) en route to the title. In Jacksonville, Pederson will get to work with last year’s No. 1 overall draft pick, QB Trevor Lawrence. The Jaguars also have the first selection in the 2022 NFL Draft.
“Doug Pederson four years ago won a Super Bowl as head coach of a franchise in pursuit of its first world championship,” Jaguars team owner Shad Khan said in a statement. “I hope Doug can replicate that magic here in Jacksonville, but what is certain is his proven leadership and experience as a winning head coach in the National Football League. It’s exactly what our players deserve. Nothing less.
“Combine this with his acumen on the offensive side of the ball, and you have why I am proud to name Doug Pederson the new head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars.”
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Fans were hoping Leftwich would get the opportunity to turn Lawrence into a star. The Buccaneers’ offensive coordinator was drafted by the Jags and was their starting quarterback for four seasons. Leftwich helped Tom Brady play at an MVP level during his two seasons in Tampa. But unconfirmed reports this week said Leftwich told Jaguars ownership in a job interview that he did not want to work with general manager Trent Baalke, who has earned a reputation within the league for creating organizational dysfunction. Baalke was in charge in Jacksonville when Urban Meyer was hired a year ago. Meyer lasted 13 games, with two wins. Darrell Bevell was named interim coach and went 1-3.
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Doug Pederson coaching, playing career
Pederson, 54, went 42-37-1 in five seasons as the Eagles’ head coach. He had three consecutive winning seasons, including a 13-3 mark in the Super Bowl year, and won two division titles, but he lost his job after a 4-11-1 campaign in 2020.
Prior to taking over the Eagles, he was an assistant under Andy Reid in Philadelphia and Kansas City from 2009-15. He was the Chiefs’ offensive coordinator for three seasons (2013-15). KC finished in the top 10 in scoring in two of them with Alex Smith at quarterback.
Pederson’s primary starting QB with the Eagles was Carson Wentz, the second pick in the 2016 draft. Their peak together was the 2017 season, when Philadelphia finished third in the league in points and seventh in yards.
Pederson also received a Super Bowl ring as a player. He was a third-stringer in Green Bay when the Packers won the title in the 1996 season. Reid was on Mike Holmgren’s coaching staff. Pederson completed 286 of 522 passes in his 14-year NFL career (1991-2004), for 2,762 yards, 12 touchdowns and 19 interceptions.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism