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O-Zone: Sunshine

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Unhipcat from Carlsbad, CA

Hi, John. I have zero idea if Pederson will be a good coach, but the optics of the search should be embarrassing to every person involved. How is this supposed to give fans any confidence at all that there are better days ahead?

I have received many, many, many – MANY – emails about "optics" in recent days. That's to be expected considered the rampant angst/criticism in the fan base late in the Jaguars' head-coach search, a search that ended with Thursday's announcement of the hiring of former Philadelphia Eagles Head Coach Doug Pederson. I know I'm flying solo – or close to solo, anyway – here, but I'm worried less about "optics" than reality. And the reality is Pederson appears very capable of handling the position and giving the franchise a chance to escape the hole of four victories over the past two seasons. I know from experience that "optics" are largely about the offseason and my impression is we often overthink "optics" in sports there days – mainly because there is so much "coverage" and because social media provides a 24-7 avenue to discuss it. Did the Jaguars take a lot of criticism during their coaching search? Yes. Was some merited? Perhaps. But if Pederson is the right choice and the Jaguars begin to win, the past few weeks will be perceived far differently. As for the fans' confidence … sure, maybe "optics" hurt that somewhat. But winning is the only thing that will regain meaningful confidence. That's the task and it will solve any "optics" issues.

Jim from Callahan, FL

Do you think we settled for Pederson? Just asking because it feels that way. Also, all of the "hot" names out there and I never got that impression about Pederson. Why not Brian Flores? Eric Bieniemy? I know you don't know, but it just feels like we are trying hard but really don't know what we are doing.

Fans and media love "hot names" in coaching searches. I put little credence in "hot names," because there's little correlation between being a hot name and succeeding as a head coach. I suppose I'll always think of Indianapolis Colts Head Coach Frank Reich when discussing timing of coaching searches. Or Buffalo Bills Head Coach Sean McDermott. I don't recall either being a "hot name" during their coaching search. Reich was hired by the Colts only after Josh McDaniels accepted the job and subsequently opted to return to the New England Patriots. The success of both of those coaches since their hirings doesn't mean Pederson will succeed with the Jaguars. It just points out that grading coaching searches on name value or opinions in the moment is something of a pointless task.

_Jeff from Atlantic Beach, FL        _

Doug Pederson made Carson Wentz an MVP candidate and Nick Foles a Super Bowl champion. If a big part of this coaching search was about finding the best fit for Trevor Lawrence and his development at quarterback, I'm not sure there was a better choice.

Hey, one fer Pederson …

Maurice from Westside

Seriously! Who is making the decisions! I'm really starting to beleive that want to lose!

… and one not fer Pederson (or fer that pesky "i before e" thing) …

Ed from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL

Head coach experience, Super Bowl champion, quarterback coaching experience, worked under Andy Reid. I am so HAPPY.

… and another fer Pederson …

Blaine from Prescott, AZ

Dear Mr. O, three things I really like that happened with the franchise: the hiring of Rick Spielman and the hiring of Doug Pederson which I hope will equate to them being in charge of personnel decisions. The third thing I like is their new head coach won a Super Bowl with a backup quarterback and beat the Patriots!

Hey, one fer Spielman. And one fer Pederson. And fer beating the Patriots. And fer all those things!

Ray from Vernon, FL

O mighty Zone, so thankful we now have a head coach. And an experienced one at that. Any thoughts on who might be in Coach Pederson's radar for coordinators? Can't wait to see how much Trevor improves in year two.

Early names reported as possibilities by Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network: Colts offensive assistant Press Taylor (offensive coordinator) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers inside linebackers coach Mike Caldwell (defensive coordinator). Taylor makes sense because he worked for Pederson with the Eagles as quarterbacks coach and passing-game coordinator and he also has worked for Reich, who was offensive coordinator under Pederson in Philadelphia. Caldwell makes sense because he has worked under Buccaneers defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, considered one of the NFL's best defensive minds. There's a looong way to go here. Stay tuned.

Howard from Homestead, FL

So, the Jaguars were soooo impressed with Pederson they waited over a month before the second interview, during which time they conducted several second interviews with other candidates hired by other teams before the Jaguars could act (one because they forgot to submit his name to the league on time), finally hiring Pederson an hour after Byron Leftwich removed himself from consideration, but that's just a coincidence because Pederson is the guy they wanted and the best man for the job? Got it.

Howard is not "buying it."

Bill from Hawthorn Woods, IL

When will we get more from Khan other than a late night, carefully scripted statement? If he is to hold on to a shred of goodwill left, he will get in front of a microphone, explain his thinking, process and decision … and then answer what I hope would be pointed, tough, fair questions from journalists. I am hanging on by a thread, O. Soooo many are. Pederson is a fine hire. As you did, I had him on my short list from that word go. A lot of water has passed under the bridge since then, and without some context and clarity, it only leaves me to assume the dysfunction will continue in other forms, and I am no longer willing to hang around for that. Are we going to hear from him?

Patience, Bill, patience. The Jaguars announced Pederson's hiring late Thursday. A press conference is scheduled for Saturday. I expect Jaguars Owner Shad Khan to speak then.

ShanghaiStevie from Jacksonville

Zone, I'm stoked with the HC pick. Finally, someone that we know can throw a game at the end of a useless season to make sure we get better draft picks. In the past we had to worry that a boneheaded coach would win a pointless game at the end.

ShanghaiStevie's got jokes.

Ryan from Reality

John, is it fair to say that Pederson wasn't our first choice - but more like our fifth choice? He was the first candidate we interviewed for the position, all the way back in the December. After that interview, we scheduled second interviews with three non-Pederson candidates, and then it was widely reported that Kevin O'Connell was the favorite, despite not having interviewed at all before he agreed to take the Minnesota Vikings job. So now we have Pederson. And don't get me wrong, I like the hire and I hope he can do for Lawrence what he was able to do for early career Wentz. But it sure looks like he wasn't the guy the Jaguars really wanted.

What's fair to say is that Khan did a thorough search and did everything he knew how to get this decision right. I'm not privy to Khan's inner thoughts throughout the process, and decisions like this are often more complicated and nuanced that is portrayed in the media.

Art from Drexel Hill, PA

This was an embarrassing process. Shad needs to provide answers about this process and why it done the way it was done. This was in no way "the plan all along"

I would expect the coaching search and other related topics to be discussed when Khan and Pederson speak to the media Saturday.

Daniel from Jersey City, NJ

O-man, are you as happy as I am that we can finally discuss something new on Twitter?

I'm always happy. I am one of life's bright-eyed optimists.


"It's exactly what our players deserve." Khan usually chooses his words pretty carefully for these statements, so I find it interesting that he didn't say that it's what "our fans" and "our city" deserve. Sounds like he's fed up with the fan backlash.

You perhaps are overthinking this one a bit. Khan when announcing Pederson's hiring mentioned fans, Duval, downtown and community. He was announcing a head coach, not sending any sort of angry message to the fans.

_TC from Kingsland and Section 124          _

Doug Pederson is the new head coach, who makes the pick on draft day?

We'll see.

Jeremy from Wise, VA

I love the hiring of Doug Pederson. Experience is key. A winner. It's always darkest before the dawn. ..and the sunrise isn't far away..

A day without sunshine is like … night.