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Jaguars' Head Coach Doug Pederson 'calm' Ahead of 2023 Season Opener

JACKSONVILLE – Doug Pederson likes how this feels, and he's not surprised.

The Jaguars' second-year head coach senses calm as the 2023 regular-season opener approaches. That's by design, and Pederson said it's a positive.

"I think if I'm calm, they'll be calm," Pederson said. "That's where it starts."

Pederson, speaking to the media Friday as the 2022 AFC South Champion Jaguars prepared to play the Indianapolis Colts in the 2023 regular-season opener at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis Sunday at 1 p.m., called the Jaguars "a mature group."

"Even though they're young, they're mature, great leadership," Pederson said. "It doesn't surprise me that they're relaxed and focused."

The Jaguars enter the regular season as defending division champions for the first time in five seasons. They won their final five games of the 2022 regular season to clinch the AFC South title before beating the Los Angeles Chargers in an AFC Wild Card Playoff game and losing to the eventual Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs in an AFC Divisional Playoff game.

The Colts enter the opener expected to start rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson, the No. 4 overall selection in the 2023 NFL Draft.

"Our biggest thing is we just can't beat ourselves," Pederson said. "I think every head coach probably says the same thing. Just don't create a mess for yourself – the critical errors, turnovers. You just have to stay focused on you and what you're doing.

"Our team has heard that enough now that they're kind of speaking the same language in the locker room. We just have to understand that it's a long season. It's a one-day, one-game-at-a-time approach."

Pederson on Friday also discussed:

  • Outside linebacker Travon Walker, the No. 1 overall selection in the 2023 NFL Draft who Pederson said has made "steady progress each day, each week. Every time he gets to step on the field to work on his craft. He's really worked on the pass rush and using his length to get to the quarterback in different ways."
  • Wide receiver Calvin Ridley, who will play his first NFL game in nearly two years Sunday after being acquired in a trade last November from the Atlanta Falcons: "He's really settled into his role. I don't feel like he's pressing as much as he did maybe back in the offseason when we first got here – and maybe early in training camp. I'm excited for him."


  • The Jaguars on Friday officially ruled out rookie safety Antonio Johnson with a hamstring injury and defensive lineman Tyler Lacy with a hip injury. Johnson did not practice this week and Lacy practiced limited Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. They were the only Jaguars players on the injury report this week.


  • Pederson on feeling excitement in Week 1: "You still get those nervous feelings, you get those butterflies, just like you did as a player. You go into it with confidence, obviously, but you feel the emotion. We're on the road. It's going to be a great crowd there. We're excited for our team. It's a new team, a new year. Everybody's kicking off this weekend and you still feel all that emotion."

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