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Scouting Combine: "We have the resources to make a difference…"


INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Doug Pederson likes a lot about his situation.

That was true when he took the Jaguars' head-coaching job – and it remains true three weeks later as he participates in his first Scouting Combine with the team.

"I'm excited about the team," he said.

Pederson spoke in various forums Tuesday in Indianapolis – at a podium to national media, to, to local media and on various other outlets. He again spoke positively of quarterback Trevor Lawrence, and emphasized his belief that the organization can change direction.

The Jaguars have won four games over the last two seasons, finishing each season with the NFL's worst record and earning the No. 1 selection in the 2021 and 2022 NFL Drafts.

"We're not where we want to be," Pederson said. "But we have the resources to make a difference, and make a difference with Jacksonville – and really start chipping away at some of the negativity that has surrounded this organization for so many years.

"I really think we can make an impact."

Jaguars Owner Shad Khan on Tuesday praised Pederson's quick impact on the team's culture, citing it as a reason for pausing his search for an executive vice president of football operations. General Manager Trent Baalke on Tuesday praised Pederson as a "natural leader."

"He really is," Baalke said. "He comes in the building; he is positive every day. I always tell him that. He is the optimist, I am the pessimist. I like to say I am a realist. What is a realist? It really is a pessimist in hiding. It has been a good mix. He has a great personality. You like being around it every day."

Pederson on Tuesday was asked if addressing negativity was a reality.

"It's real," he said, citing the Kansas City Chiefs' turnaround from 2-14 in 2012 to a perennial postseason contender. "It's a real thing. [Chiefs Head] Coach [Andy] Reid took over a Chiefs team that the year before won one or two games. There's negativity and there's a cloud. You have to try to lift that cloud.

"In Jacksonville, until we prove otherwise, that's who we are. That's why I'm excited to really begin to work with this group and bring in another set of free agents, another round of draft picks and have the resources we have to begin to lighten that cloud a little bit."

Pederson said the time since his February 4 hiring has been spent building a coaching staff – and also evaluating the Jaguars' roster as he and Baalke prepare for unrestricted free agency, which is scheduled to begin March 16.

Pederson called the roster "a work in progress." The Jaguars are projected to enter the League Year in mid-March with the second-most salary-cap space in the NFL. They also have 12 selections in the 2022 NFL Draft, including the No. 1 overall selection.

"The biggest thing obviously was evaluating our own roster," Pederson said. "That's kind of what we've come out of with a new staff – just evaluating our guys and seeing the level of talent we have."

Pederson spent 2016-2020 as the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, coaching the Eagles to three consecutive playoff appearances from 2017-2019. The Eagles won the Super Bowl following the '17 season, with Pederson spending the 2021 season out of football.

The Jaguars parted ways with former Head Coach Urban Meyer in mid-December, interviewing Pederson in late December and hiring him 35 days later. Pederson said he believed throughout the process that the Jaguars were the position he wanted – and cited the team's youth and the presence of Lawrence as reasons.

"When I looked around at the opportunities that may come up in the NFL, Jacksonville for me was an opportunity I really embraced and was hoping that we would get to where I'm at today," Pederson said. "For me, that was the target. Even as it went thirty-something-plus days before I interviewed again, there was always that anticipation and that hope that it was going to come true. I'm just excited and really thankful for the opportunity to get a chance to work with Trent and the team."


Pederson on what he learned from his time as Eagles head coach: "Obviously what we did there are things I can take into this new chapter, into this new job. I'm motivated. I'm excited. I'm looking forward to working with a new team and really having a new lease on life, especially as a head coach. I feel like I still have a lot to offer, a lot to give, a lot to bring to Jacksonville. I can't wait to get my hands on this team and really start working with them."

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