Jacksonville Jaguars show improvement under Doug Pederson’s leadership

JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA - OCTOBER 23: Head coach Doug Pederson of the Jacksonville Jaguars against the New York Giants at TIAA Bank Field on October 23, 2022 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images)
JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA - OCTOBER 23: Head coach Doug Pederson of the Jacksonville Jaguars against the New York Giants at TIAA Bank Field on October 23, 2022 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images) /

As the Jaguars prepare to visit the Chiefs, we check in on the progress made by a young team under Doug Pederson’s leadership.

It’s been a while since Chiefs Kingdom has seen the Jacksonville Jaguars.

The last time the Jags and Chiefs suited up to play each other, it was the Gardner Minshew debut that made him an instant hit. In case you forgot, it was a pass defense from the Chiefs that allowed 22 of 25 completions for Minshew in a losing effort that gave the Jags some hope that perhaps they found a late-round gem in the mustachioed prospect. It was also a nearly 200-yard game from Sammy Watkins if that jobs the memory.

Now that the Jags are coming back around to Arrowhead Stadium, we knew we needed to update ourselves and our readers on what to expect from a team that’s replaced so many coaches, leaders, and players from the last time around. Just how formidable of a team are they these days, and how much hope do they have for the future?

We recently asked our friend Carlos Sanchez, site editor for Black and Teal, to tell us more about

What’s the feeling among Jags fans about Doug Pederson halfway through his first season?

Fans are tired of losing, so they would of course like to see the Jaguars win in Doug Pederson’s first year at the helm. But Pederson warned everyone that this wouldn’t be a one-year rebuild and for the most part, fans have tempered their expectations this season. The fact that the Jags have been competitive more often than not and Trevor Lawrence has shown improvement has also helped Pederson’s case.

In what areas have you seen Trevor Lawrence take a step forward this year?

Trevor Lawrence’s ability to process the field has improved. He looks more comfortable going through his reads. He hasn’t developed yet into the kind of quarterback that can carry a team on his shoulders but he’s getting there.

Lawrence is averaging nearly one more year per attempt this season and his completion rate is in the mid-60s. Having said that, he needs to be more consistent. He will complete over 80 percent of his passes in one game and make costly mistakes the next but he’s definitely making strides.

What remains the biggest hurdle for Lawrence at this point?

His decision-making. It sometimes feels like he’s still threading the needling and figuring out what he can’t or can do in the NFL. He will sometimes force the ball or be overaggressive, which will in turn lead to turnovers. In all the Jaguars’ losses this season, he made mistakes that could’ve changed the outcome. On the bright side, he’s just 23 and this is going to help him improve.

The Christian Kirk deal raised a lot of eyebrows this offseason. How are things looking for him so far?

Giving Christian Kirk a four-year $72 million deal even though he hasn’t logged a 1,000-yard season definitely generated plenty of negative headlines. But the thing is that the Jaguars didn’t pay him for what he did or didn’t do in previous years but rather because of what he could do in their offense. Moreover, other wide receivers have gone on to sign even richer deals than the ones Kirk signed.

Kirk is currently on pace to tally over 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns, so you could say that the Jags are pleased with their investment. Is he a top-10 receiver? Probably not but he gives the Jaguars a movable chess piece that can line up at several spots across the line of scrimmage and most offensive coordinators would love to have a player who offers that kind of flexibility.

The Jags weren’t sellers despite rumors about various players. Were you surprised to see them hold onto their assets?

Right tackle Jawaan Taylor, wide receiver Marvin Jones Jr., and outside linebacker Josh Allen are all scheduled to be free agents next offseason, so it would’ve made sense for the Jags to trade any of them and get something in return.

In particular, Allen garnered plenty of interest during the trade deadline and the Jags could’ve traded Taylor and plugged sophomore Walker Little at right tackle but I think the Jaguars didn’t deal any of them because they’re still focused on this season. But trading any of them would have sent the message that the Jags are already planning for next year. Sure, they acquired wide receiver Calvin Ridley from the Atlanta Falcons but made that deal with their sights on the future.

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