The Jacksonville Jaguars officially entered the coaching carousel on December 16, and now it appears as though two former NFL head coaches in Doug Pederson and Jim Caldwell might be the frontrunners. Additionally, could Vic Fangio be the Jaguars’ defensive coordinator if he is fired as the Broncos’ HC? Let’s take a look at the latest that Pro Football Network’s NFL Insider and Chief Draft Analyst Tony Pauline is hearing about the job in Jacksonville.
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Doug Pederson or Jim Caldwell could be just the high-character veteran coach the Jacksonville Jaguars are looking for
After the drama-filled month of the Urban Meyer regime, it is understandable if the Jaguars want to go down the “tried and trusted” method with their next head coach. That is the direction Pauline heard the team may look to take with their next hire.
“They want a veteran. A guy who is not only going to change the culture of the locker room but change the culture of the franchise. They want a guy with high character, a guy who is well respected. That is why you are hearing the names of Caldwell and Pederson.”
Additionally, a key part of this coaching search will revolve around the development of QB Trevor Lawrence. That is another part of the reason why the likes of Pederson and Caldwell are desirable candidates.
“They want a veteran coach, a Caldwell, a Pederson, who would work well with Trevor Lawrence. When you look at their history of developing quarterbacks, even though Lawrence has had an up-and-down season, no one believes anything other than that he is a true franchise quarterback, that if coached properly will carry that Jacksonville team, that Jacksonville offense moving forward.”
The Jaguars could be set to pass up a couple of young offensive coordinators
Unfortunately, that could mean we see young, up-and-coming coordinators left out in the cold. The Jaguars requested interviews with Buccaneers OC Byron Leftwich and Cowboys OC Kellen Moore, but look set to potentially pass them over.
“It does not look like they want a newbie. So, Byron Leftwich, it would be a shock if he was hired to coach the Jacksonville Jaguars. They want a guy who has been there before and commands the respect of the players in the locker room.”
Could the future of Vic Fangio be instrumental in who the Jaguars hire?
The Jaguars may yet take an intriguing angle with their head coach search, as Pauline discussed on the show.
“What I am told is the perfect scenario for the Jaguars, something they are strongly looking at, is if the Denver Broncos fire Vic Fangio, they actually want to bring Fangio in as their defensive coordinator. Because they feel like they have a lot of underachieving talent on defense that Fangio can light a fire underneath. Then, the head coach would be chosen based on who works the best with Vic Fangio.”
Trent Baalke looks set to remain in Jacksonville
While Meyer left in early December, the future of GM Trent Baalke is still up in the air. However, Pauline discussed the latest he is hearing regarding the future of Baalke entering Week 17.
“When you talk about the Jaguars, you have to start with Trent Baalke. The last time I was on your show, right before Meyer was fired, we discussed whether Baalke would survive … It looks like Baalke’s going to remain with the Jaguars and be part of the team that picks the new head coach.”
Pederson has an interesting history as a coach in the NFL
Overall, Pederson’s record is neither a glowing advert nor a reason that a team should avoid him. In five seasons, he coached a total of 80 regular-season games. During that time, Pederson had a 42-37-1 record. Entering Week 17 of the 2021 season, Pederson ranks 75th all-time with a 0.531 win percentage. He sits narrowly behind Tom Coughlin and actually has a marginally better winning percentage than Hall of Fame head coach Tom Flores (0.527).
During his time as head coach of the Eagles, Pederson had a 4-2 record in the playoffs. Included in that was the Eagles’ superb run to the Super Bowl in 2017. Pederson received great acclaim for that run as his team overcame the loss of starting QB Carson Wentz, with Nick Foles leading them to heights never before scaled by the franchise.
Pederson finished his tenure in Philadelphia in 2020 under a cloud. In his final year, the Eagles went 4-11-1, and the last weeks were marred by a QB controversy involving Wentz and rookie QB Jalen Hurts. However, during his five years, Pederson led the Eagles to three winning seasons, making the playoffs in each of those years.
Prior to becoming the Eagles head coach, Pederson worked under Andy Reid. The pair were together in Philadelphia from 2009 to 2012. Pederson then became Reid’s offensive coordinator when the latter took the Kansas City job. Pederson spent a total of seven seasons with Reid as either OC, QB coach, or offensive quality control coach. After being fired by the Eagles, Pederson spent 2021 out of the NFL.
Jim Caldwell has had two stints as an NFL head coach
Caldwell actually has a better record during his seven years as a head coach. His overall record is 62-50 in 112 regular-season games. During his time with the Colts, he went 26-22, including both 14-2 and 2-14 seasons.
In his first season as a head coach, Caldwell and QB Peyton Manning led the Colts to the Super Bowl where they were defeated by the New Orleans Saints. Caldwell’s final campaign in Indianapolis came in 2011 after the team struggled following Manning’s neck surgery.
Caldwell was not unemployed for long. Just 13 days after being fired, the Ravens hired him as quarterbacks coach. He would progress to the role of offensive coordinator before being hired as the Lions head coach in 2014. In four years with Detroit, Caldwell took them to the playoffs twice and suffered just one losing season. However, after a 9-7 campaign in 2017, Caldwell was somewhat surprisingly fired as the Lions failed to make the playoffs.
Caldwell first coached in the NFL in 2001 as QB coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He would then follow Tony Dungy to the Colts, where he was QB coach and assistant head coach before taking over when Dungy retired. Caldwell has been coaching since he was 22, working his way through the college ranks. He was head coach of Wake Forest from 1993-2000. Yet, during that time, the team went 26-63 and had just one winning season.