JACKSONVILLE – Senior writer John Oehser examines Jaguars Head Coach Doug Pederson's post-game press conference following the Jaguars’ 37-17 loss to the Houston Texans in a 2023 Week 3 game at EverBank Stadium in Jacksonville Sunday
- Simply put. Pederson's post-game Sunday understandably was pointed and succinct, with an emphasis on the Jaguars needing to improve quickly and significantly in pretty much all areas. Pederson around the middle of the press conference paused several moments when asked about a pass rush that registered four hurries and no sacks on Texans quarterback C.J. Stroud, who had been sacked 11 times in the first two games. He started his response focused on the lines, then discussed the entire team. "You can maybe point to several things," he said. "But we have to do better. It starts upfront. It starts with the offensive line on offense, starts with the defensive line on defense. It starts right there. I'm going to say this again: We need to coach better. We need to play better. We need to execute better. Whether we are reading our press clippings, we need to get out of our own way right now. We need to evaluate ourselves, beginning with me. And we have to figure out how to win a game."
- No more reading. "Press clippings" were a topic multiple times with Pederson late Sunday afternoon. He answered candidly when asked if the Jaguars had "bought into their offseason hype" and other predictions around a team that won its last five regular-season games in 2022 to win the AFC South title. "I think that's real," he said. "I do. I think that's real. I've been around this game too long to not know: You can't live in the past or you're going to fail in the future. We just have to focus one day at a time. We have to get better each day and can't worry about next week or the week after. We can't worry about the London trip coming up. We just have to focus in on the week at hand. That part of it starts with me, in making sure that the guys are hearing that message loud and clear from me. We'll make sure that they get that message."
- Tough to predict. The Jaguars started slowly Sunday for a second consecutive week, with missed first-half opportunities again a theme. The Jaguars scored six points on five first-half possessions past midfield in a Week 2 home loss to the Kansas City Chiefs and scored no points on four first-half possessions past midfield Sunday. The Jaguars scored their first touchdown in six quarters on the first drive of the second half Sunday. Pederson was asked if he thought effort lacked Sunday. "At times, I think, but I thought these guys were actually in a good place going into this football game. Standing here right now, obviously, that might be a little different." Added Pederson, "I wish I had a crystal ball, honestly. That would probably answer a lot of questions. But I thought the guys were more focused this week. The guys are doing and saying all the right things. It's just really hard to put a finger on it. Coaches need to coach, players need to play, leaders need to lead. That part of it starts with me. We've got ourselves in a little bit of a pickle here and we got to work it out."
- Lighting a fire. The Jaguars dominated early in Sunday's second half, scoring 10 points on the first two third-quarter possessions and pulling to within 17-10 before an 85-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Texans fullback Andrew Beck pushed the Houston lead to 24-10 with 4:19 remaining. "I think grabbing their attention at halftime and just letting them know that the first 30 minutes was unacceptable," Pederson said of the first two third-quarter possessions. "It [the first half] was not up to what our standards are and our expectations, including my expectations for this football team. I say we're too good, we've got the pieces, but we're not playing well. So, they came out, they executed extremely well. We got it back to that 17-10 mark and then the kickoff return happened. Those are just the moments that are just keeping us from pushing through this wall, getting over this hump. Those are the things; those are the moments that every man in there takes ownership and accountability. We just can't let those happen."
- Pederson on a Jaguars offense that has scored two touchdowns in the last two games: "You're seeing the drops. You're seeing the turnovers. You're seeing penalties, untimely penalties. You're seeing flashes of excellence and brilliance and then a setback. It's just the consistency that we need needs to improve. It's not there right now, we got to continue to work and continue to get better to figure some things out." Added Pederson, "Right now, it's not good enough; it's not good enough and that does start with me. That's a direct reflection on me. I have to make sure that we coach better, offensively, defensively, specialists. All three phases had a hand in this one today, all three phases."