Jacksonville Jaguars coach Doug Pederson off to good start building around Trevor Lawrence

New Jacksonville Jaguars coach Doug Pederson was an NFL quarterback and has surrounded quarterback Trevor Lawrence with several other former quarterbacks as coaches. James Gilbert/Getty Images

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – New Jacksonville Jaguars coach Doug Pederson is off to a good start in terms of making sure quarterback Trevor Lawrence has everything he needs to be successful in his second season.

In addition to hiring a former head coach in Mike McCoy to be the quarterbacks coach and Press Taylor as offensive coordinator, Pederson also brought in Jim Bob Cooter as passing game coordinator.

All three are former quarterbacks, which means Lawrence will work daily with four coaches – including Pederson – who see the game the same way he does.

“It's going to be a really good dynamic because what I understand of Trevor is his mindset, how he thinks,” Pederson said. “He's eager to learn. He wants to grow. I've got great teachers in the room that can help him and help him be successful.

“That's not only on the field, but I think off the field, as well, and that's what I'm looking forward to in April when we get the guys in here.”

Lawrence completed 59.6% of his passes for 3,641 yards and 12 touchdowns with 17 interceptions as a rookie, but those numbers have to be looked at within the framework of the most dysfunctional season in franchise history because of former coach Urban Meyer.

Owner Shad Khan had to make Lawrence -- the No. 1 overall pick in 2021, who was called a generational prospect -- the focal point of his coaching search.

Pederson, who played 10 years in the NFL as a backup quarterback, clearly did the same when hiring his staff. McCoy, who played at Long Beach State and Utah and spent time with five NFL teams, was the then-San Diego Chargers coach from 2013-16 -- the Chargers ranked in the top 10 in passing each season. Cooter played at Tennessee and has coached in the NFL since 2012, which includes three seasons as the Detroit Lions’ offensive coordinator (2016-18).

Taylor won back-to-back NJCAA national titles as the starting quarterback at Butler Community College before signing with Marshall. He spent eight seasons as a quality control coach, assistant quarterbacks coach, quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator with the Philadelphia Eagles, including five seasons under Pederson.

Pederson said he’ll work with the three coaches and Lawrence to come up with a game plan each week, and he and Taylor will make the final decisions on what the Jaguars do offensively. With that many people involved, nothing should fall through the cracks with the offense, which was an issue in 2021.

“That's one of the things I like to do in the places I've been is we like to interject everybody and their ideas,” Pederson said.

Getting Lawrence a strong support staff is a good start, but there are two other major issues Pederson has to address -- figuring out what’s going on at left tackle and beefing up the receiving corps.

Left tackle Cam Robinson is scheduled to become a free agent. The Jaguars could use the franchise tag on him for the second year in a row (at a cost of $16.5 million), sign him to an extension or let him walk. That would mean adding a left tackle in free agency, taking one with the first overall pick or going with 2021 second-round pick Walker Little as the starter.

The Jaguars led the NFL in dropped passes (33) and dropped passes by wide receivers (21) last season. Thirteen of the 33 drops came on third down (again, a league high), and there’s no question the inconsistency from the pass-catchers hurt Lawrence’s development. So did the lack of speed at the position when DJ Chark Jr., who is scheduled to become a free agent, was lost for the season with a broken ankle in Week 4.

Jamal Agnew, who was originally signed as a kick returner and has been a full-time receiver only since May 2020, started to get more work as a speedy deep threat until he went down for the season with a hip injury in Week 11.

So expect the Jaguars to chase a receiver in free agency and draft at least one from what is regarded as a deep class.

“It's about building the best possible offense, and you've got to take a lot of factors into that,” Taylor said. “We can all walk out there and say we want that top free agent, but at some point, he costs a certain amount, and there's a big-picture salary cap.

“It's all kind of the whole organization working together to make sure, again, we're building the best possible offense for the Jacksonville Jaguars or that's going to contribute to our team, complement our defense, complement our special teams, put us in position to win as many games as possible.”

So far, Pederson has gotten off to a good start.