LONDON – Shad Khan likes the direction. He likes the core, too.
The Jaguars will play at Wembley Stadium for the first time in three seasons Sunday. It's Doug Pederson's first London game as their head coach and Trevor Lawrence's first game at Wembley as their quarterback. The duo, Khan said, is unquestionably the key to the Jaguars' future.
And Khan said that's a very good thing for the franchise.
"The two critical parts of the modern NFL team are the head coach and the quarterback," Khan told Jaguars Media Saturday morning. "We're blessed to have them both who can help shape this team into a consistent winner."
Khan, now in his 11th full season as the Jaguars' owner, spoke to multiple media members at The Dorchester in downtown London Saturday morning – a day before the team's game against the Denver Broncos at Wembley at 9:30 a.m. Sunday. He discussed multiple topics, including the team's return Sunday to Wembley.
The Jaguars played a home game at the historic stadium every season from 2013-2019. They did not play in London in 2020 because of COVID-19, then beat the Miami Dolphins at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London in 2021.
"It's an iconic stadium, and it's our home away from home," Khan said of Wembley. "The London game is a huge part of the Jacksonville Jaguars. It's going to be a historic game in many different ways. It's part of our DNA now and we'll be continuing it."
The Jaguars, after NFL-worst records of 1-15 and 3-14 the last two seasons, this past February hired Pederson – who coached the Philadelphia Eagles to a Super Bowl victory following the 2017 season – as their seventh head coach. He replaced Urban Meyer, who was dismissed 13 games into his first season as head coach last December.
"He's been to the summit, and he's been absolutely phenomenal as a person and as a coach," Khan said of Pederson, adding that Pederson's approach has impressed in eight months in the position with "how open he is.
"He's looking for input," Khan said. "That has been a pleasant surprise – then how thorough he is and how demanding he is."
Khan also said he likes the long-term direction and culture of the franchise – and the organizational structure overseen by Pederson and General Manager Trent Baalke along with Khan.
"It's collaborative, it's transparent and it is literally teamwork on evaluating what our needs are, and then identifying and getting the talent," Khan said. "We've got the communication, the transparency and the discussion and then the decision-making. There isn't a key decision that has been made in the last two or three years that I haven't been a part of – good, bad or indifferent.
"That tells us how we got where we did and if things aren't working out … why and how do we change that?"
Khan, too, spoke highly of Lawrence – the face of the franchise since joining the Jaguars as the No. 1 overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft. Lawrence has started all 24 games since joining the Jaguars, throwing nine touchdowns with four interceptions through seven games this season after throwing 12 touchdowns and 17 interceptions last season.
"The first time I met Trevor on Zoom, way before the draft, I was blown away," Khan said. "We know his talent, but what a great human being he is. The more I've gotten to know him – and I think I know him fairly well – I think he's absolutely a prototype of if I was coming up with a wish list of who should be the face of the franchise it's Trevor Lawrence."
Though the Jaguars are 2-5 through seven games with four consecutive losses, all five losses this season have been decided in the final minutes. Khan on Saturday noted that the Jaguars have led in the fourth quarter in six of seven games this season after losing 19 games by double digits in 2020-2021.
"What we've seen is much more competitive games," Khan said. "What I want to see obviously is the team to reach its full potential. What I'm excited about is every game before the game during the week they believe they can win.
"The players have grown and the coaching staff – Doug and the assistants – have really done a great job developing them. The last drive [of games] has pretty much determined our won-loss record. How we close them out and turn that into a W is the next stage."
Listen to the full interview with Jaguars owner Shad Khan, below.