JACKSONVILLE – Doug Pederson was transparent about his goal.
When it comes to achieving that goal, the Jaguars head coach said he feels good about the 2022 outdoor season. Very very good.
Pederson, the Jaguars head coach since Feb. 6, said he wanted to restore team culture in the wake of a difficult – and sometimes turbulent – 2021. of approach.
“It just shows the character and who these guys really are,” he said.
Pederson spoke during last weekend’s 2022 Rookie Minicamp at TIAA Bank Field. That was part of an off-season program that continues this week with Phase Two of the voluntary off-season schedule, with Phase Three — non-padded workouts known as organized team activities — slated to begin Monday.
Player participation has been high so far and Pederson likes what that says about the team.
“Football is important to them,” he said. “Winning is important to them. They are willing to change and want to change and need to change, of course. It is an honor for the players and the leadership of this team that we have so many guys in the offseason program. “
Pederson on Friday was specifically asked to continue from a 2021 season in which the Jaguars finished 3-14. Then-head coach Urban Meyer was fired 13 games that season, ending a tenure with multiple incidents and distractions off the field. The 13 games were one of the shortest head coach stints in NFL history.
“I really believe there has to be some kind of healing with the situation that happened last year; there’s a trust that’s been broken,” Pederson said. “For me it’s about regaining trust. They have to see it through me. They have to see the transparency, the honesty.
“I’ve always said I’ll be open with them and I want them to be open with me. It just comes down to communication and an open line of communication. We’ve been able to have some conversations in team settings that way.
“I think the guys have really embraced it and are doing well.”
Pederson discussed the team’s kicker situation last weekend. With the team releasing kicker Matthew Wright last week, the Jaguars now have two kickers on their roster: freshman veteran Ryan Santoso and rookie free agent Andrew Mevis.
“You get to a place where you don’t want to have too many kickers in the room, but we have great competition there with Ryan and now Mevis,” Pederson said. “[We] just want to see consistency in what we’re asking from that position. We know we have to improve there and get better and that’s a big part of wins and losses and whether we have to kick off or three points or whatever it takes This will be great for both guys who are now moving forward to create that league.”
Pederson also discussed the team’s 2022 schedule during the mini camp, which was announced last Thursday and which includes just one prime-time game — a Thursday night game against the New York Jets on December 22. The Jaguars have had only one primetime game each of the past four seasons and haven’t played on Sunday nights since 2008 or Monday nights since 2011. “I know the history here,” Pederson said. “In order to do that in the future, we have to win, on a Sunday or Monday night, and I get that. That’s the challenge for us to do.”
Jaguars LB Devin Lloyd on fellow Jaguars 2022 first round roster, No. 1 overall OLB Travon Walker: “Just about what I expected, athletic freak. He’s very powerful and he’s someone I’m glad I’m not playing right and left ’cause that’s a bad man. It’s really fun being there with him and pushing each other to get better.”