I’m trying to ‘strengthen’ the front office around GM Baalke

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville Jaguars have a new head coach, and soon they will have a new front-office structure.

Owner Shad Khan said on Saturday that the plan is to hire an executive vice president of football operations and add someone to work under current general manager Trent Baalke. It’s a structure Khan has used before but dumped after the 2019 season, and it helped the Jaguars post their only winning season in his 10 years as owner.

“One of the reasons we had the search was not just to look for the head coach candidate, but really to learn about other organizations,” Khan said during the press conference, where he welcomed the new head coach Doug Pederson. “It’s a by-product of the coaching search. So some of the exercises, some of the structure that works, we got a lot of insight into it. Strengthening the football operation, more staff, that’s part of our goal. We’ve had too flat an organization, and we want to add brain power and more people to strengthen it. “

Khan said the team has notified the NFL that it plans to add an EVP. The Jaguars have already interviewed former GM Rick Spielman in Minnesota – though Khan did not say for what position – but they must interview at least two external minority candidates for the EPP job under the recent extension of the Rooney rule.

Khan hired Tom Coughlin as EVP and gave him total control over all football decisions in January 2017, and one of Coughlin’s first decisions was to keep interim head coach Doug Marrone. The pair worked that season as the Jaguars went 10-6, winning the AFC South for the first time, hosting a playoff game for the first time since January 2000 and running for the AFC Championship before losing in New England.

However, Coughlin ran against the NFL Players Association due to excessive fines and player complaints. It also didn’t help that the Jaguars won 5-11 in 2018, and the expensive signature of quarterback Nick Foles in 2019 turned into a disaster when Foles got injured and played so poorly when he returned that he was benched in favor for sixth place. -round rookie Gardner Minshew. Khan fired Coughlin on December 18, 2019, as the Jaguars were heading for a 6-10 season.

When Khan fired GM Dave Caldwell in November 2020 and Marrone after the 2020 season, he chose to take a coach-centered approach with Urban Meyer. It lasted only 11 months, after which Khan fired Meyer because he went 2-11 and committed a series of embarrassing mistakes that included inappropriate behavior at a restaurant / bar with a woman who was not his wife, as seen in two viral videos ; reports that he scolded in addition to his assistant coaches; and an attempt to hire a strength coach who was accused of making racist remarks and bullying black players in Iowa.

With the hiring of Pederson – who went 42-37-1, won a Super Bowl and played three playoff games in five seasons in Philadelphia (2016-20) – Khan said the Jaguars are taking a collaborative approach, though it is unclear how The EVP will find out at this point. Khan on Saturday also threw his support behind Baalke, saying the team did not offer the job to anyone other than Pederson. He said none of the 10 candidates the Jaguars interviewed – including Tampa Bay’s offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich – said they did not want to work with Baalke.

Pederson, 54, made it clear Saturday that he is excited to be back in the NFL after taking a year off, but also said it will take some time to turn around a franchise that has gone 4-29 and achieved no. .1 overall choose in back-to-back seasons.

“I’m excited to have this opportunity to lead your organization, but two, to be able to get in here, develop a coaching staff, develop our philosophies, develop our schemes for success on the football field,” Pederson said . “This is not a solution from one day to the next. It is not, we just have to snap our fingers and start winning football matches. Our goal is to win football matches, but we will do it one player, one coach, one person in the organization at a time. “

That Khan was receptive to it is a bit of a change from his approach when he hired Meyer. He said in October that he did not want to hear a coach say he had a four-year plan and that “the plan is that you should start winning now and tell me what you need and that is what we have to do Because it’s definitely a trap I do not believe in falling into. “

Khan was apparently willing to adjust his expectations in part because of Pederson.

“We wanted someone who knows exactly what it’s like to be the last team that stands in February and is passionate about doing it and doing it again,” Khan said.

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