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NFL Annual Meeting 2024: "We're Going back to the Hunter…"

0326 Doug Owners Article

ORLANDO – This was about off the field as well as on.

The Jaguars thus far have spent the 2024 offseason revamping, refocusing and retooling – with the focus on improving depth and talent with a heavy eye on championship experience.

As Doug Pederson sees it, that last theme perhaps defined the last month.

"This is the culture I want to establish in Jacksonville," he said.

Pederson, entering his third season as the Jaguars' head coach, spoke to the media Monday morning at the 2024 NFL Annual Meeting at the Ritz-Carlton Grand Lakes. Among the topics: A busy 2024 offseason in which the Jaguars have hired a largely new defensive coaching staff while acquiring a slew of free agents around the roster.

The focus in those acquisitions: Veterans from winning teams, players who can provide leadership and a successful blueprint for a team that missed the postseason by one game this past season.

"We're going back to the hunter again," Pederson said.

The Jaguars this offseason not only hired former Atlanta Falcons defensive coordinator Ryan Nielsen to the same position, they have signed multiple free agents and also acquired reserve quarterback Mac Jones in a trade with the New England Patriots.

The Jaguars’ 24 free-agent signings: Wide receiver Gabe Davis (Buffalo Bills), center Mitch Morse (Bills), wide receiver/returner Devin Duvernay (Baltimore Ravens), cornerback Ronald Darby (Ravens), defensive tackle Arik Armstead (San Francisco 49ers), safety Darnell Savage (Green Bay Packers), linebacker Trevis Gipson (Titans) and kicker Joey Slye (Washington Commanders).

All players except Gipson and Slye played for teams that made the postseason last season, with the Bills, Ravens, 49ers and Packers combining for 17 postseason appearances in the last five seasons.

"These guys have been captains on their teams and they've been to Super Bowls, they've been to AFC Championship games," Pederson said. "These guys know how to win and that's the influx of talent that we want to bring onto our young roster: Guys that have been there, done that."

Added Pederson, "That's the reason why you go get guys like that, that have been there and done it. They're the pinnacle of our sport and I need guys on our team that have had accolades and awards like that, so that our guys can see exactly what that looks like. That's kind of the next step and the next phase for us as a team moving forward."

The Jaguars, after winning their last five regular-season games to win the 2022 AFC South title with a victory over the Tennessee Titans in the regular-season finale, led the South by two games at 8-3 before losing five of their final six regular-season games last season. They lost the South title with a loss to the Titans in the regular-season finale.

Pederson this week discussed the need for the Jaguars to regain confidence on game day and said their free-agent acquisitions were made toward that end.

"There are going to be games you're going to get beat, I understand that," he said. "But you've got to have that confidence and that swagger that you're going to get the job done on game day. I think bringing in some of these free agents we did this spring are going to help that."


  • Pederson this week discussed multiple offseason topics, including the team's decision to release three veteran players – safety Rayshawn Jenkins, defensive tackle Foley Fatukasi and cornerback Darious Williams – shortly before the March 13 start of the 2024 NFL League Year. Jenkins started 48 games over three seasons after signing with the Jaguars as an unrestricted free agent in the 2021 offseason, with Fatukasi starting 29 games in two seasons after signing as a UFA and Williams starting 29 games after signing as a UFA. "That's part of free agency sometimes," Pederson said. "It's part of your roster construction. There are tough decisions that have to be made and all three of those guys were very valuable to us. They helped us win a championship in 2022 with the AFC South, get to the postseason and all that and they've battled through some injuries themselves. It's part of our business, part of our league, you have to move on and try to replace them if you can."

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