JACKSONVILLE – Doug Pederson likes the Jaguars' future at quarterback.
That future: Trevor Lawrence.
Pederson, hired as the Jaguars' head coach last week, said during his introductory press conference at TIAA Bank Field Saturday that he studied multiple teams with head-coaching vacancies this offseason. When considering each, he asked whether the right quarterback was in place.
"Here it is, I truly believe that," Pederson said Saturday.
Pederson covered multiple topics Saturday, but perhaps none as critical as Lawrence – the No. 1 overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft. Pederson and Lawrence met Saturday as Pederson – named head coach Thursday night – toured TIAA Bank Field and met with the media.
"It is unfortunate that things didn't go necessarily smoothly this past year, but that's behind us now," Pederson said of Lawrence's rookie season, in which he threw 12 touchdowns and 17 interceptions in a Jaguars offense that finished 32nd in the NFL in total points.
"I'm just excited to come in here, roll up my sleeves, go to work, create a system that enhances his skill set, and be successful. I pride myself in that. We did it in my former place with Carson Wentz early in his career and really feel like that's a strength that I can help and be a part of that."
Pederson added, "One of the greatest things that we have going for us right now is the fact that he played every game, and he's got film that we can go back and watch and study and help him improve as well."
Pederson spent 2016-2020 as the Philadelphia Eagles' head coach. Wentz, the No. 2 overall selection by the Eagles in the 2016 NFL Draft, had perhaps his best NFL season in 2017 – throwing for 33 touchdowns and seven interceptions in 13 games.
“As I've done my research on Trevor and talked to people, even talked to coaches who have played against him this past year, say nothing but great things and kind of the sky's the limit,” Pederson said, adding: “Our job moving forward is to find more good pieces to put around him. So, I'm excited from that standpoint.” Head Coach Doug Pederson
Pederson, who spent 2013-2015 as the Kansas City Chiefs' offensive coordinator, called plays through most of his tenure with the Eagles.
"That's something I pride myself in," Pederson said. "I will say right now that I want to call the plays. I want to put myself in position to help this football team. I feel really comfortable doing that. That's just where I'm at. I want to do it. I want to continue to do it and be successful at it."
Pederson on returning to coaching after a year off in 2020: "By the time I got to the end of the season and we get into this hiring cycle again, I was ready to go. I was excited for whatever opportunity came before me. I had chances to interview with other clubs. This one really drew me in, and here I am and ready to go."
Jaguars general manager Trent Baalke: "In the situation we're in, I don't think it is an overnight fix. So, there's going to be some changes. I think the thing to keep in mind, we've got a lot of good young players here. The cupboard's not bare. We just have to add to that. We have to add some pieces at the right spots and get the right people in here. The type of players we're looking for are players that love the game, high character guys that are going to fit the style of play that we want and the culture that we want to build here. So that's the starting point is getting the coaches in here and then collaborating to see exactly how we're going to address the needs that we have."
Pederson on building a coaching staff: "At the end of the day, you find guys that you love coming to work with. And we all have the same common goal, to win games. We work together, and we're in place, to help the player to become the best version of himself. And that's how you end up winning the game one player at a time. Staff is important. I love guys that are high-energy guys because I'm going to be that way on the field, and guys that are great teachers and great communicators."
Baalke: "We have an owner (Shad Khan) that really wants to win. Whatever it takes to do that, he's been nothing but supportive to me through obviously some trying times. So, I know this. He wants to win. He's all about the community. I think his efforts show that time and time again. That's what we're here to do, build a winner."