Who would have thought that the 2022 version of the Jacksonville Jaguars would symbolize a playoff team, not in the making, but right now. After winning only three games last season under the dysfunctional and inept Urban Myer, a smart offseason and draft to match has the Jags off to a great start.
Doug Pederson has tied Urban Meyer for fifth all time in most wins by a Jaguars coach.
— Will Brinson (@WillBrinson) September 25, 2022
Addition By Subtraction
Circle back to the middle of December, 2021. On December 15th, Jaguars kicker Josh Lambo, who is no longer with Jacksonville, went public and accused Meyer of physical abuse. Meyer went public saying he was repeatedly kicked in his leg during warmups stretches prior to the team’s final preseason game. Lambo stated that it was inexcusable for any boss at any workplace to strike an employee. Later that same day, the kicker would inform his representation of what had happened. Agent Richard Irvin would contact the Jaguars legal counsel. Within hours of these revelations, owner Shahid Khan made the decision to relieve Meyer from his position and informed him of this in the early hours of December 16th, 2021. The legendary college football coach would finish his brief NFL career with a record of 2-11.
February 3rd, 2022 saw the Jacksonville Jaguars hire their ninth head coach in the history of the franchise. Doug Pederson was tabbed as the man to turn the Jags around and into a contender in the AFC South. In addition to what many saw as something of a project, the former backup to Brett Favre in Green Bay needed to turn the NFL experience into something positive for 2021 first overall draft pick, quarterback Trevor Lawrence.
With the No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 @NFLDraft, the @Jaguars select QB Trevor Lawrence.
📺: 2021 #NFLDraft on NFLN/ESPN/ABC pic.twitter.com/6KaGOGGAXr
— NFL (@NFL) April 30, 2021
Lawrence performed at a level in college football that made him one of the highest rated prospects the game had ever seen. In 2019 he led Clemson to a national championship as a freshman. For the Jaguars, he’s a player you can build around. He’s been touted as the next Peyton Manning or John Elway. With Pederson as a quarterback guru, Trevor Lawrence finally has a coach fully-vested in his team. Keep in mind, Pederson beat the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII 41-33 as head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles The MVP was NFL journeyman Nick Foles. Imagine the possibilities with a quarterback like Lawrence.
Building For The Future
Jacksonville had a 2022 draft that provides for the here and now, and for the future. Understanding that youth can be a double-edged sword. The first three picks the Jags would make saw them draft players who can provide an impact on defense beginning week one. To open the draft the Jaguars went all defense. With EDGE rusher Travon Walker from Georgia, linebacker Devin Lloyd from Utah, and Luke Fortmer, an offensive lineman from Kentucky. After those first three selections they would add two cornerbacks, and one linebacker in addition to adding depth at the running back position. Youth and potential go hand in hand with the learning curve being established by a new coaching staff. The defense has embraced new challenges and are aggressive, which is a new wrinkle being faced by opposing offenses this season. On the offensive side of the field, optimism is sky high. In weeks two and three, the Jaguars would beat the Indianapolis Colts 24-0 followed by a week three destruction of the Los Angeles Chargers 38-10. Even when they lost their season opener at Washington 28-23, you could tell a winning culture and championship temperament was emerging.
Don't sleep on the Jaguars in 2022, according to @bykevinclark…
"I think they're going to be pretty good and in the mix for the AFC South." pic.twitter.com/LJGevDNSTz
— Herd w/Colin Cowherd (@TheHerd) August 5, 2022
The AFC South looks to be wide open. The addition of Matt Ryan is a jury still out, and Houston is stuck in neutral. Add to that some very winnable games on the schedule and Jacksonville has a limitless ceiling. Doug Pederson will get every last ounce from Trevor Lawrence and on defense, a “go get the ball” attitude has the Jaguars a playoff team not just in the future, but right now.