The challenges that Doug Pederson faces as the new head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars are perhaps even larger than the typical first-year head coach, as he has to follow up the disastrous stint of Urban Meyer.
And Pederson seems to know that.
A day after former kicker Josh Lambo sued the Jaguars for violating his rights under the Florida Private Sector Whistle Blower's Act when he reported Meyer allegedly kicking him in practice, Pederson spoke candidly about changing the culture in Jacksonville in an appearance on The Rich Eisen Show.
Eisen: "Do you feel that part of your job is healing?"
Pederson: "I agree with that, I do. I think there's a part of that. I know this is professional football, but listen, it's also life too. And these kids and the people that are here have families outside of this business and this organization, obviously. And I think part of the healing process is doing the best we can to flip the script and gain the trust of these players. And so, I do agree with that ... I do agree that there is some level of healing that has to take place. And it has taken place, and is taking place. But we're not where we need to be obviously right now, and we're gonna continue to work at that."
In addition to selecting edge rusher Travon Walker and linebacker Devin Lloyd in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft, the Jaguars added offensive guard Brandon Scherff, tight end Evan Engram, and wide receivers Christian Kirk and Zay Jones in free agency. They'll get running backs James Robinson and Travis Etienne both back from injuries.
No one is saying that Jacksonville is a playoff contender in 2022, but with a stable head coach and increased talent, Trevor Lawrence and company should take a major step forward this season.
Pederson will begin his tenure as Jaguars head coach in a Week 1 matchup against former quarterback Carson Wentz and the Washington Commanders at FedExField.