JACKSONVILLE – Jawaan Taylor knew immediately this was going to be different.
He knew, too, that this time change was going to be good. The Jaguars' right tackle had that feeling – that good feeling – as soon as he met Doug Pederson.
"Ever since he's taken the job, it's just been tremendous," Taylor said.
Taylor, a four-year starter having perhaps his best NFL season, joined senior writer John Oehser for this week's 2022 Week 5 O-Zone podcast. Among the topics: Playing next to All-Pro right guard Bandon Scherff, re-earning his position in 2022 Training Camp and dedicating the 2022 season to his late father, Robert – who died this past January 18.
"Me and my dad were extremely close," he said. "This is a guy I talked to every single day. He sent me motivational tapes before every single game and he's really the reason I play the game. It's been hard for the whole family. He was the backbone and the guy who kept everybody together.
"It was a major loss for the whole family. It's motivation just to keep going because that's what he would have wanted me to do."
Taylor, a second-round selection by the Jaguars in the 2019 NFL Draft, didn't miss a snap in his first three NFL seasons – the only Jaguars player to play every snap the last three seasons. He competed with second-year veteran Walker Little for the starting right tackle position throughout training camp and preseason, being named the starter in the week leading to the regular-season opener.
"It was motivating, but I just embraced it," Taylor said. "That's part of the business. You have to compete for the job. Even if you're not being told you're competing, at the end of the day you're still competing. They're still watching. They're still evaluating.
"I feel like that gave me an extra push in training camp. I didn't get too high or too low. I didn't get upset about it. I just felt like I was the guy to get the job done. I just had to go prove it."
Taylor, too, discussed the Jaguars' culture under Pederson – a culture that Taylor said is a major reason for a 2-2 start that has the Jaguars tied for the lead in the AFC South.
"It's much different," he said. "Everybody's been buying in. Everybody's just been gelling together well. It's been amazing. It's a great coaching staff as well – a lot of guys with a lot of wins under their belt who have coached a lot of great players. It helps a lot.
"He always brings that energy every day. We see the fire in his eye. We see the passion and the vision he has. It's been a good change and it's been working for us."
Listen to the entire O-Zone Podcast with Taylor below.