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Coachspeak: Commanders 28, Jaguars 22


LANDOVER, Md. – Senior writer John Oehser examines Head Coach Doug Pederson's press conference following the Jaguars' 28-22 loss to the Washington Commanders in a 2022 Week 1 game at FedEx Field in Landover, Md., Sunday

1. Easy analysis. Pederson saw this one simply. "We beat ourselves," he said following his first regular-season game as the Jaguars' head coach. The Jaguars rallied from an 11-point halftime deficit to take a 22-14 fourth-quarter lead before Commanders quarterback Carson Wentz threw two of his four touchdown passes to rally Washington.

"We had some costly mistakes at the wrong time," Pederson said. "Games come down to three-to-five plays every week. We have to finish better and take care of the little things."

2. A lot to like. Pederson didn't like the loss, making it clear afterward that he doesn't believe in moral victories. But he said he still found a lot of positives. "I look at the plays that were out there on the field that we could have made," he said. "Little things become big things. That part you take away and you learn from. It's a group of guys that are young a little bit and still understanding some of these situations, and not making these critical errors at these times. There are a lot of positives and things we can take away and learn from."

3. "Finish." The Jaguars, after taking an eight-point lead on an 11-yard run by running back James Robinson, had remarkable momentum for a team that had trailed 14-3 at halftime. They not only held an eight-point lead, but they had also scored 10 points off back-to-back takeaways. They then allowed long touchdown passes on the Commanders' final two possessions, drives that covered 78 and 90 yards.

"It's finish," Pederson said. "It's finish, finish, finish of the game. Finish a play, finish a series, finish a drive. They're all teachable moments, and that's what we're going to do as a staff. We're going to teach these guys. This group's going to be better because of it. We don't make any excuses, but there are a lot of good takeaways for us."

4. Impressive start. Jaguars rookie outside linebacker Travon Walker, the No. 1 overall selection in the 2022 NFL Draft, started Sunday – and registered the first sack and interception of his NFL career. Walker became the first Jaguars player since linebacker Kevin Hardy in 1996 to register a sack and an interception in his first NFL game. "I thought for the first game, 60-minute game, he did some great things," Pederson said, calling Walker's game: "A pretty good performance."


5. The right kind of jitters. Sunday marked Pederson's first regular-season game as a head coach since the 2020 regular-season finale. Pederson at the time was the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, where he had coached since 2016. "For me, it was exciting," he said of Sunday. "I'd be lying if I said I didn't have butterflies before the game because it's just the way I am: Competitive."

6. Taylor out, Walker in. Fourth-year veteran Jawaan Taylor started at right tackle Sunday, with second-year Walker Little the backup. Little replaced Taylor on the Jaguars' final offensive series, with Pederson saying the move was made because Taylor was cramping. Taylor and Little competed for the starting position throughout training camp and preseason, with the team announcing the starter this past Wednesday. "I believe it was just cramps," Pederson said of Taylor's late-game absence. "It did get a little humid there in the second half."

7. Understand the situation. Pederson on Lawrence's lone interception of the game, which came when Commanders safety Darrick Forrest intercepted a deep pass down the sideline that Lawrence threw under duress on 3rd-and-11 from the Jaguars 44 with 1:10 remaining: "You love the aggressiveness there, trying to make a play. You can't fault a guy for doing that. At the same time, we still need to understand the situation. We can coach them better and really put it on us in situations like that, and just keep walking him through those things. You're not going to fault the aggressiveness. We just need to coach that situation better." Pederson added:

“We’re going to keep shooting. We’re going to keep plugging. We’re going to learn from this and he’s going to be better for it. I’m excited for him and his future. He’s a bright kid. I told him, ‘We’re going to make these corrections and move on.’’’

8. Summing up. Pederson: "I learned a long time ago in this league there are no moral victories. We're going to show them. We're going to be honest with them. We're going to learn how to finish. We're going to learn how to practice better, meet better, study better. Whatever it is, we're going to do and try to put ourselves in position to win more of these games than we lose."

View real-time game photos of the Jacksonville Jaguars 2022 NFL Regular Season opener against the Washington Commanders.

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