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Scouting Combine: "Open and honest…"


INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Collaboration was one watchword.

Communication was another, with Head Coach Doug Pederson and General Manager Trent Baalke on Tuesday each speaking positively about working together to run the Jaguars' football operations moving forward.

"I want it to be that way," Pederson said during the first day of the 2022 Scouting Combine. "I want it to be transparent. I want it to be open and honest."

Jaguars Owner Shad Khan on Tuesday announced he has paused plans to hire an executive vice president of football operations, an announcement that marked the major news around the Jaguars on the first day of the '22 combine.

Khan cited Pederson's positive influence on the team's culture since his February 4 hiring, saying in a statement: "We're best served at this time by allowing Doug, Trent and their assistants to take ownership of our path forward."

"I'm all for anything that's going to help this organization move forward," Baalke said. "We've been stuck in neutral for a while. We're going to continue to address those levels of leadership, but I think we're very comfortable. I really appreciate Shad having the confidence in myself and Doug that he has shown."

Baalke called Pederson "collaborative" and "really engaging."

Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson speaks at a press conference on Tuesday, Mar. 1, 2022 in Indianapolis. (Kevin Sabitus/NFL)

"He's very easy to talk to and very easy to communicate with, so all of that has been positive," Baalke said. "The good thing is we don't just talk about football. We talk about life. The collaborate-iveness of what we're doing is very good right now.

"We've been through a lot professionally, both of us have. You get an opportunity like this to take over a franchise and move it forward that's been stuck in neutral … that's what we're trying to do. It's going to be a very collaborative effort. It has been that way since Day 1 and it will continue to be that way."

Pederson said the honesty and openness he covets in his relationship with Baalke has been a reality not only since his February 4 hiring but during the pre-hire interview process.

"We're not always going to agree," Pederson said. "That's part of this process, but at the same we can walk out the door and be united? That's the most important thing, that we're keeping the organization and we're keeping the players first.

"That's the biggest thing we've been able to do and we're building on that relationship every day."

Pederson on Tuesday said his influence on the Jaguars' culture has been a matter of "coming in and being me."

"It speaks volumes what our owner has said," Pederson said. "He's really given confidence to Trent and I to really build this thing. Not to say we can't continue to add value to the personnel department. We can still do that. At the same time, it shows the confidence he has."

Khan for a little more than a year has spoken of the Jaguars being a coach-centric organization, with the team taking on the personality of the head coach. While Pederson said his focus will remain on coaching, input into personnel from his position is a positive.

"I'm always going to be a coach," Pederson said. "That's the part I love about the game – being with the players and coaching the game. But you also know you want to coach the player you want to bring onto your football team. If you have input there, I definitely want to have input.

"I feel like what Trent and I have built so far in less than a month is something we can continue through free agency and the draft process and on through training camp as we construct this roster."

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