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Trent Baalke Explains Long Term Vision for the Jaguars at the 2024 NFL Combine 

022924 Baalke Recap Article

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The foundation is there – with work to be done.

Trent Baalke and Doug Pederson spoke to the media this week during the 2024 NFL Scouting Combine – and the two were unanimous on that front:

The goal is clear, and the coming weeks are crucial to the goal.

"We're only in it to win it; we're not in it for second place," Baalke, entering his fourth offseason as the Jaguars' general manager, told Jaguars Media Tuesday.

"Every decision we make is focused on that end goal."

Pederson, entering his third season as the Jaguars’ head coach, spoke to Jaguars Media along with Baalke at the combine. He agreed that while the 1-5 finish to the 2023 season that followed an 8-3 start was disappointing, the finish provided a focused approach to the offseason – and that there is a strong base on which to build for the future.

"We have the right nucleus of guys," Pederson said.

Pederson said that nucleus begins with quarterback Trevor Lawrence, who will enter his fourth season as the Jaguars' starting quarterback next season.

"We all feel like the quarterback is in place," Pederson said. "We have to continue to work him and get him better, just like we do the rest of the team. But that just comes through the hard work and preparation we put in – not only in the classroom but on the football field.

"That process will begin April 15 when we start the offseason program."

Pederson, Baalke and the Jaguars' coaching and personnel staffs spent the past seven weeks assessing the 2023 season and planning for the mid-March beginning of free agency with the 2024 NFL Draft to follow in late April.

"You have to address the whys," Pederson said. "You assess that, but then you move forward. You put a plan together and then you go execute the plan. That's what we're excited about for this coming season."

Baalke described the Jaguars' mood after missing the playoffs on the final day of the 2023 regular season "extremely disappointed, but focused."

"Anytime you finish the way we finished, there's disappointment," he said. "We were 8-3 at one point, we finished 9-8. We won one more game down the stretch. It was a disappointment. I don't think anybody you talk to in our organization would argue differently. We have a clear understanding of what we need to do and from an organizational standpoint.

"It's never one thing. You can't just point to one thing and say, 'That's why we finished the way we finished.' There are multiple things, tentacles that stretched into different areas of the organization. We all have to own it and no one better to own it than me. When I look at this thing, extremely disappointed where we were at and where we finished, but motivated to fix it."

The offseason plan for the Jaguars is multi-fold, beginning in the weeks after the offseason when Pederson made major changes on the coaching staff – including replacing defensive coordinator Mike Caldwell with Ryan Nielsen and a mostly new defensive staff – and continuing with decisions to be made on the salary-cap situations of current players before the March 13 start of the 2024 NFL League Year.

Baalke also said this week the Jaguars have had – and will continue to have – discussions with key projected free agents such as outside linebacker Josh Allen, wide receiver Calvin Ridleyand offensive guard Ezra Cleveland.  

Baalke said the plan is for veteran left tackle Cam Robinson, who is entering the final year of his contract, to return. Observers had speculated that Robinson could be released because of a high salary-cap figure.

"You've got a checklist of all the things you hope to accomplish this offseason and you just work diligently," Baalke said. "I think we have a pretty good football team. We have some really good football players who are bought into the culture we're establishing.

"We're always looking to add to that. We'd like to sign all our own back. That isn't always feasible or reasonable. You take a look at where we're at, what moves we need to make and you put a plan together. You put a plan together with the coaching heavily involved in what needs to take place over the next weeks and months to build this team into a championship-caliber team."


  • Baalke on the draft*:* "You're never going to get criticized for taking a good player. If it doesn't work and the player doesn't end up reaching his level of competency or expectation of the pick, then it's a bad pick. It just comes down to whether you made the right decision or not."

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