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Jaguars Owner Shad Khan Discusses Standard of Jaguars Football Following Stadium of the Future Approval

0627 Shad on Footballl Side of House

JACKSONVILLE – Shad Khan likes a lot about a lot these days.

A new stadium deal. Contract extensions for top players. Back-to-back winning seasons. And while the Jaguars' owner this week said he feels "very good" about the roster and prospects for 2024, recent history remains bothersome.

The Jaguars' 2023 finish wasn't good enough. And it still lingers.

"Personally, for me, not to be able to win two of the last six games … it still stinks," he said. "Even though the season's over, I still can't believe it."

Khan, while speaking to media Wednesday about Jacksonville City Council approving the Stadium of the Future, also spoke to a small group of media specifically on football matters. These were his first such comments since the team missed the 2023 postseason with five losses in the final six games.

"When you talk to the players, and talk to the coaches, it's all been about, 'Why did this happen?' -- and more importantly, 'What are we doing so it never happens?'" Khan said.

The Jaguars' 9-8 record each of the past two seasons marked their first consecutive winning seasons since 2004-2005.

"You talk about the growth in the football team," Khan said. "If this had happened five years ago or 10 years ago, you would be patting yourself on the back. Now it's, 'Yes, you want to have a winning season, but you want to be in the playoffs. 'You want to be in the playoffs every year." Jacksonville Jaguars Owner Shad Khan

The Jaguars began the '23 season 8-3 and were contending for the No. 1 seed in the AFC. Quarterback Trevor Lawrence then left three of the final six games with injuries, with wide receiver Christian Kirk also missing the last five games.

"You win as an organization, you fail as an organization," Khan said. "I look at it as an organizational failure. Injuries are a part of the game, regrettably. If you look at our record on injuries, our sports medicine, our wellness … it's one of the best in the league. Statistically, we were in the top quartile health wise.

"Obviously, with Trevor, we had some of those injuries. I think it's organizational failure that happened. When we talked to the players – Trevor, [edge defender] Josh Allen, all of these players – it's like, 'How did this happen? What happened?' For me, it's really a cause for self-reflection and for something good to come out of it because we just can't have that this year."

The Jaguars moved aggressively in the offseason, signing free-agent center Mitch Morse and free-agent defensive lineman Arik Armstead to bolster units that struggled at times late last season. They also signed Allen and Lawrence to salary-cap defining long-term contracts.

"I think they're great players," Khan said of Allen and Lawrence. "We drafted them. They love this city. These are players who are just woven in the fabric of Jacksonville. They really wanted to be here. We're counting on those players providing the leadership and representing the city and helping us move forward."

Khan also said the team must improve and build through the draft moving forward.

"I think there's a sea change for us – and this is for our coaching, that they have to develop young players," he said. "Our solution isn't going to be we're going to be signing free agents every year. We don't have the ability.

"Bottom line is that young talent has to be developed. The coaching, the coaching staff, their priorities have to change. Their mindset has to change. That's where we're going to get our future players.

"We cannot have this addiction to free agents."

Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Tennessee Titans

QB Trevor Lawrence and HC Doug Pederson

Lawrence, the No. 1 overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft, signed a five-year contract extension earlier this month that means his contract will run through the 2030 season. Khan said while he long has been comfortable with the idea of signing Lawrence, he didn't influence the move.

"I was comfortable to committing a long time ago, and I told them [personnel and coaching], 'It's not my decision,''' he said. "These aren't things I want to impose. I want the coaches to believe that. I want the general manager to believe that. I want the personnel people to believe that and really be vested in it.

"I didn't tip my hand to these people until they told me why they were sold on Trevor."

Khan called knowing Lawrence is signed for more than a half decade "comforting."

"I think a lot of other teams are kind of envious of it," Khan said, "and I have a lot of confidence in [Head Coach] Doug [Pederson]. I think we have the right person there who has won at a high level and can do it."

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