‘He’s talking to us like grown men’

Doug Pederson is entering his first season as head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars, and he’s already doing something right: Not being Urban Meyer.

It’s hard to describe the current state of the Jaguars, but “recovery” might be the right word after arguably the most disastrous head coaching hire in modern NFL history. Not only did Meyer’s team look unfit for the NFL in his lone season, he personally looked unfit for a league that was entirely new to him.

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No one knew this more than the Jaguars players, and it shows. Like when Jaguars Pro Bowler Josh Allen discussed what was new with Pederson at the helm with reporters Tuesday.

Basically, Pederson is treating his team like professionals. From the Jaguars:

“It feels good to be part of a professional locker room. Not only in the locker room, but when you talk to the coaches. It’s a professional setting. You’ve got to hone in onto the details. If you’re not listening to the details, it’s not getting on you, it’s telling you what’s right and what’s wrong.

As guys, as grown men, we need to understand that and he puts it in a way we can understand and grow. He’s not getting on us, he’s letting us know what’s real. He’s talking to us like grown men.”

Allen doesn’t mention Meyer by name, but it’s not hard to guess which person, by contrast, wasn’t treating the Jaguars like grown men. That was one of the litany of criticism directed at Meyer throughout, and especially after, his 13-game NFL career.

Not only was Meyer known to treat his grown, professional players like the 18-23-year-old amateurs he was used to ordering around, he also went to a bar instead of flying home with his team after a losswaited days to address his team while changing his story in the fallout, allegedly kicked his kicker Josh Lambo, berated his assistants — all of whom had more NFL experience than him — as “losers” and repeatedly threw his players and coaches under the bus while speaking with the media.

Doug Pederson had 13 years of NFL coaching experience and 13 years of experience as an NFL player when the Jaguars hired him. Urban Meyer had zero. (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)

Doing all that while going 2-11 is going to lead to a short NFL career. Meanwhile, Pederson went 42-37 in five seasons as head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles and won Super Bowl LII in 2018. His Eagles tenure may have ended poorly, but no one can accuse him of not knowing how an NFL locker room works.

And at this point, that’s all the Jaguars are looking for.

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