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Jaguars coach Doug Pederson: Late-season collapse ‘a motivating factor’ for 2024



Jaguars coach Doug Pederson: Late-season collapse ‘a motivating factor’ for 2024

There were some silver linings following such a disappointing season in Duval county. It had been nearly 20 years since the Jaguars produced consecutive winning seasons, which coincide with Pederson’s arrival in 2022. The Super Bowl-winning coach has righted the ship in Jacksonville, and the front office has been aggressive in providing a competitive roster through free agency and the draft.

Lawrence and pass rusher Josh Hines-Allen‘s long-term extensions this offseason bolstered the Jaguars’ outlook, and solidifying franchise cornerstones was preceded by key free-agent additions such as wide receiver Gabe Davis and defensive lineman Arik Armstead. The drafting of WR Brian Thomas Jr. with the No. 23 overall pick is another move that’s expected to see immediate results in 2024.

“Well, I think that’s what we saw in Gabe Davis in Buffalo what he did, how he could kind of stretch the field,” Pederson said of the Jags’ offseason. “He was a big, tall receiver that could go over the middle, he was physical and could block. I would say that’s a piece that we missed a little bit last year. Zay (Jones) was a little beat up, we missed Christian (Braswell) at the end of the season. We get Christian (Kirk) back healthy, we lost Calvin Ridley but now we get Gabe and Brian (Thomas) and Brian’s got the speed element that we probably lost with Calvin.

“We’ve got to integrate all that. We got to get on the same page early as we head into training camp but I’m excited for these guys and how they fit. And Devin (Duvernay) brings another element too in our return game with (Jamal) Agnew not back so we feel like we’re in a good spot. The big thing is just a matter of working and working together and building the camaraderie and the team around our quarterback that can help us all be successful.”

One of the bigger adjustments for Jacksonville this summer will be acclimating to new defensive coordinator Ryan Nielsen’s scheme. The Jaguars’ defense was torched throughout last year’s late-season fall, which was spurred on by the adversity the team faced offensively.

Pederson believes Nielsen’s scheme will help a talented pass rush that finished 25th in the league in sacks (40.0). Getting after the quarterback would also create more opportunity for a unit that managed to get 27 takeaways last season (tied fifth in NFL).

An effective defense could do wonders for an offense that was trending in the right direction last season when healthy. It’s all part of the Jaguars’ concerted effort to leave behind last season’s downfall.

“I think trust is everything with a football team,” Pederson said of the defense. “You got to lean on your brother, you got to lean on your coaches, coaches got to lean on each other. Not only in the good times but the bad. And obviously there were some changes made on staff last year and bringing in Ryan Nielsen and his staff on defense and sort of the new approach that he has with our defense and guys like Josh (Hines-Allen) with Travon (Walker) and the addition of (Arik) Armstead and guys like that that could really, really help us in the pass rush and be even better than we were before. You’ll see some differences with our defense, I think it’s all positive, but at the same time we got to get it all gelled on the same page, as we move forward.”

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