If you need a guy to turn around your franchise and win a championship, who better than a guy who’s turned around a franchise and won a championship?
Doug Pederson finds himself in Jacksonville in a very similar spot to where he was in Philadelphia in 2016. Taking over a team left in shambles by a big-name college coach who failed on the NFL level.
And he said Wednesday in a chat with Philly media that his experiences here six years ago have helped shape his approach this year in his first season with the Jaguars.
“You know, I’ve thought about that a lot, how we started the year in 2016 and I think we started 3-0 and got off to a hot start and that was my rookie season,” he said.
“So I was learning week to week and and obviously looking back on that, you pull a lot of similarities, you pull a lot of messaging, you learn from everything that we do in this league and that really shaped kind of who I am now as a second-time head coach in this league and again with a young football team.”
The similarities between 2016 in Philly and 2022 in Jacksonville are striking.
Chip Kelly was a ballyhooed hire here in 2013, but by 2015 he and the franchise had lost its way. After that 2015 team fell to 6-9 after a 3-3 start, Kelly was fired.
And Urban Meyer was a ballyhooed hire with the Jaguars last year but like Kelly he didn’t last the season after a 2-11 start.
In Philly, Pederson had a young franchise-type quarterback in Carson Wentz, and in Jacksonville he has one in Trevor Lawrence.
“I think we're the third-youngest team in the NFL,” Pederson said. “And these guys are eager to learn, they want to learn, just like back then in ’16, and so it's my job to continue to pour into them those lessons I learned over the five years.
“And, really, I would say that we're probably ahead of the curve here with this football team than we were in ‘16, but it was a work in progress, too.
“And, obviously proud of the way we started in ’16 and even the way we finished. We won our last two games that year and it sort of catapulted us into that offseason and then obviously that championship season.”
That 2016 Eagles team started out 3-0 before losing nine of its next 11 games and eventually finishing 7-9. A year later, they won the Super Bowl.
The Jags are 2-1 this year with back-to-back blowout wins over the Colts and Chargers as they head into Philadelphia.
It may be too early to predict history will repeat itself even more and the Jags will win a Super Bowl next year, but Pederson clearly has his players believing in themselves. Just like he did here.
The Jaguars went 10-6 in 2017 under Doug Marrone, but that was their only winning season since 2008.
Their .298 winning percentage from 2008 through 2021 – 67-158 – was worst in the NFL.
“We're just trying to use the momentum from week to week and learning how to win,” Pederson said. “This franchise hasn't won and we understand that and we own up to that. But that's one of the reasons why I'm here. To help flip that around.”
Pederson seems rejuvenated, recharged, re-energized two years after a nightmarish final season with the Eagles.
He stayed away from football last year, and it clearly paid off.
“It definitely feels good to be back out there on the sideline, to be in the locker room, be with these guys,” he said.
“It was just a really good time for me to step away and refocus and regroup myself and come back with a lot of energy and passion and just pour everything I learned in five years (with the Eagles) into this job, and make it the best I can be, have fun with it.
“I think that's one of the things that I learned the first time. Just have a little more fun with what we do and don't be so stressed out all the time.”