Doug Pederson eager for challenge of rebuilding Jaguars: 'This is not an overnight fix'

The Doug Pederson era is underway in Jacksonville.

Two days after tabbing him as their new head coach, Jaguars owner Shad Khan and general manager Trent Baalke formally introduced Pederson in a news conference on Saturday afternoon.

Pederson made sure in his opening remarks to express to the fans in Duval County that he hopes to bring better fortune following a tumultuous season under Urban Meyer.

"I know you've been through a lot, even this past season," Pederson said, "But that's about to change."

The 2021 season marked the franchise's fourth consecutive losing season, with the club posting a 3-14 record en route to earning the No. 1 overall pick for a second straight year. Meyer's firing following a Week 14 loss to the Titans and variety of issues throughout his brief tenure underscored a glaring need for change within the organization.

After taking a year away from the game, Pederson hopes to bring the success he found during his five seasons with the Eagles, a stint that included a 46-39-1 regular-season record and a victory over Tom Brady and the Patriots in Super Bowl LII four years ago.

"It was a great year for me," Pederson said. "I had opportunities to get back in the NFL at the end of the season last year and I just felt like at the time, I needed a break, I needed to step away and kind of just re-focus myself, kind of re-center everything about me. I knew still in my heart of hearts that I did want to coach and still be a head coach in this league and still be successful, that never left. I just needed time to kind of just step away and gather myself a little bit."

Pederson's year of rest and relaxation helped pave the way for one sure to be filled with its share of trials and tribulations as the 54-year-old takes on a new challenge of rebuilding a struggling franchise.

The Jags have a few shiny franchise cornerstones already in place -- Trevor Lawrence, linebacker Josh Allen, running back James Robinson -- but there a number of building blocks that still need to be laid. Pederson is ready to build that foundation.

"This is not an overnight fix," he said. "This is not, we're just going to snap our fingers and start winning football games. Our goal is to win football games, but we're going to do it one player, one coach, one person in the organization at a time. And I'll challenge our team, and I'll challenge our fans. It's about ownership. It's about support. It's about leadership. And that's what I'll bring. That's what I'll bring to the organization. And I'm not going to settle for anything less than a championship-caliber team."

Despite having an up-and-down rookie year, Lawrence -- the No. 1 overall pick in 2021 -- is the guy the front office hopes will one day live up to his star potential. Pederson, a former NFL QB who played 13 seasons, demonstrated through his time with a young Carson Wentz that he knows how to groom young talent at that position. Coaching Lawrence was a noteworthy draw for Pederson when scouring the market.

"That's something I obviously looked at with the teams that were searching for head coaches, 'Who is the quarterback?' and 'Is that person in place?' And here, it is, I truly believe that," Pederson said of Lawrence. "Everything, as I've done my research on Trevor and talked to people, even talked to coaches who have played against them this past year say nothing but great things and kind of the sky's the limit. ... I'm just excited to come in here, roll up my sleeves and go to work, create a system that enhances his skillset and be successful."

The task of creating and implementing that system will, of course, fall on the shoulders of Pederson and his staff, which, as of now, includes only the newly hired coach. Finding the right mix of coaches and assistants will also factor into Pederson's desire to continue calling plays, which he said he feels "really comfortable" with from his days in Philly and as the Chiefs offensive coordinator.

Among the many topics discussed during Pederson's lengthy presser, his excitement to be back in the NFL stood out in his responses on more than one occasion. It won't be easy, it rarely is for any coach, but Pederson made it clear he's aware of the challenges ahead. The reception he's received thus far has helped him as he gets his new job going.

"The excitement that I've seen already, the enthusiasm surrounding the Jaguars, from the time my wife and I hit the ground this morning to the folks at the airport. And that to me sends a great message to me, personally, and now as the head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars because it's a fanbase here that desperately wants to win. And so, for me to come here today, I just felt that just walking in this building. I'm also excited with the new building coming in the future and that just drives enthusiasm and we're just here to continue that growth and put the product on the field that people are proud to support."

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