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Doug Pederson Monday presser: “players need to execute better”

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By: SimonCarroll

Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Doug Pederson, Folorunso Fatukasi and Walker Little met the media on Monday after the Jaguars’ defeat to Kansas City

Sunday brought the Jacksonville Jaguars a reality check.

The hype surrounding the Jaguars has been at an all-time high the past 8 months. Ever since bowing out to the Kansas City Chiefs in the playoffs last year, fans were enjoying unfamiliar optimism ahead of the 2023 season. A Week 1 win only stoked the excitement. But another loss to Andy Reid and the reigning Super Bowl champions this weekend reminds us all that – despite the improvement across the board – there is still work to be done.

In his Monday press conference, head coach Doug Pederson was asked where he thought the game was won and lost. Rather than focus on playcalling, he was more interested in execution – from both players and coaches:

“I feel like I’m back in Philly. Run-pass ratio again. You look back on it and go, ‘Yeah, sure, we could’ve run it a few more times here, run it a few more times there.’ I’m honestly looking at this film again, it just comes down to coaches need to coach better, players need to execute better. That’s really what this film comes down to. I’m talking more offensively, I thought defensively they did some great things. They kept us in this football game, honestly. We don’t convert the fourth-and-five, they score. Then, the opening drive of the third, there was only two real drives that they did. Other than that, we kept a really good offense down. It could be a play here or there that you look at, but I thought offensively we got to do a better job.”

Some members of the media tried to identify some of the plays that defined a football game that was probably even closer than the 17-9 scoreline suggested. Pederson acknowledged that, with hindsight, the coaching team could have made some different decisions – particularly at the goalline:

“I think we’re just doing too much as a unit. We don’t need to necessarily take things into our own hands sometimes and just run the show, run the offense and from a coaching standpoint too, I’m saying we need to put our players in a little better situation. Don’t give them that type, maybe we don’t give Trevor [Lawrence] that type of option. We just say hey, you’re at the one-yard line, let’s run it four times in a row. Those are all things that it’s Week 2, we’re going to learn from it as a group and get better.”

The option play Lawrence ran in the second quarter became emblematic of the offense’s problems with converting redzone possession into six points. In reality, FOUR passess to the back of the endzone came agonizingly close to touchdowns throughout the course of the contest and were probably just as key to the result. Pederson didn’t mind discussing what went into the play, and what he felt went wrong when it came to taking chances:

“I think looking at the film I know why he [Lawrence] pulled it, because we saw the defensive end and the corner there crash. Again, he’s trying to make a play. The game yesterday, quite honestly, felt like from an offensive perspective that we were forcing some things. We were trying to make a play as opposed to just going out and executing the offense. That’s where there’s plenty of opportunity in the redzone to score and we just didn’t capitalize on it…

… I think it was that struggle all day, just maybe not getting in rhythm or in-sync, even in the passing game, just being off. Timing of routes, depth of routes, the protection being a little off, helping out when the backs can help out on D-ends, being able to do all of that. It just felt like that was the struggle and then ultimately trying to make a play, you press just a little bit, coaches try to do the same thing. We try to make a play or try to make a call that’s going to get us a chunk play and really we all need to stick with the gameplan.”

Dominant Defense

Despite the result, for the second game in a row the Jaguars’ defense gave an impressive performance. Not many teams will hold the Chiefs to 17 points this season, and Pederson was keen to single out some names for special praise:

“Josh [Allen] is playing extremely well right now. Travon [Walker] has been good, you see what Jenk [Rayshawn Jenkins] did yesterday with his ability to tackle in space and make some plays. [Andre] Cisco showed up yesterday, he could’ve had a second interception, but he had a big play there. Seeing it as just a combination of all that – those guys are playing well together.”

It’s fair to say the rise of this unit has surpassed all expectations. Pederson was quick to credit defensive coordinator Mike Caldwell for how his defense has began the season:

“I think that’s just a credit to the scheme, what Mike [Caldwell] is doing, utilizing the personnel this year, you’re seeing Travon and Josh up their game a little bit on the edge. The secondary is more in-sync this year, just the communication has been better. They’re playing faster, they’re stymieing the run and shutting that down. Other than a couple QB scrambles and some broken plays. They’re playing physical, that’s something that is the pride for the defense right now. Two weeks in a row, they’ve kept the offense in the game. They did it in Indy until the offense caught wind at the end of the game and then all day yesterday, they did the same.”

One person not impressed with every aspect on defense was lineman Folorunso Fatukasi, who also spent some time at the podium. He seemed in no mood to be receiving flowers after a loss:

“I’m still thinking about the game, there’s a lot of things that we need to work on. A lot of good areas, a lot of bad areas that we need to sharpen and fix together. At the end of the day, we just have to continue to execute what we need to do and it was tough but we got another pretty good opponent coming in here, so we gotta keep our mind focused on that. When you play a game, you have plays that are really good, you got plays that are not so good that you, by your standard, would consider bad. It’s tough to sit and point out every single play that we believe was bad because there’s some things that we really felt like we could do a lot better on. The ultimate mindset is to take those things we believe are bad, sharpen them, make them a little stronger, and we execute.”

Offensive Line Issues

With Trevor Lawrence sacked four times yesterday, Pederson inevitably faced some questions about a banged up offensive line. The Jags head coach did have some positive news, saying that both Luke Fortner and Brandon Scherff ‘came out good’ after carrying niggles into Sunday’s game. Asked if he had any worries about the line as a whole, Pederson was defiant:

“I’m not concerned. I’ve seen these guys work together. One thing about the offensive line, one it’s a cohesive and close group. Five offensive linemen need to play in unison with one another, there’s got to be great communication. It starts with Luke [Fortner] and of course Brandon [Scherff] to Anton [Harrison] and [Ben] Bartch out to Walker [Little] and all that. One of the things yesterday that I was proud of and we focused a lot on was identification and communication, that was one of our talking points with the team because of what Kansas City’s defense presents.”

“They’re a pressure team. It felt like coming out of the game that the identification and communication was great, but the execution failed. This is where we have to go back and evaluate it from a coaching perspective and say, ‘Hey. Are we doing too much? Do we have too many protections? Do we need to scale back just a little bit? Do we need to rep more of one thing in practice?’ There’s a lot of different things that we look at, but not concerned about the offensive line. It does take a little bit of time, I think if you look around the NFL right now, there’s a lot of offensive lines that due to injury or they’re trying to figure each other out, that’s where we are right now.”

Walker Little also spent some time with the media on Monday. As seems to be the theme amongst the staff and players, the left tackle also bemoaned execution:

“It’s Week 2, we’re all still figuring things out. We came in, we had a good gameplan, we just got to execute better as an offensive line. We had a lot of great plays out there as well as the whole offense did, but we also had a lot of things that we got to clean up. We watched the tape and we’re talking about it. The biggest thing is that we know we are a good group, keeping that confidence, and just moving onto the next game. Moving onto Houston, learning from this as much as you can but don’t dwell on it”

The offensive line faced a tough test against the Chiefs, with Chris Jones returning to the Chiefs in what appeared to be midseason form. Not every Sunday will be that difficult, and it’s good to keep things in perspective – it’s only week two, with plenty of time to get better. That starts this coming week against Houston.

One final nugget on the offensive line – tackle Cam Robinson was able to return to the practice field on Monday. Suspended for another two games, Robinson can begin to work with the team in preparation of a return in Week 5 against the Bills in London. Doug Pederson confirmed the development, but gave a ‘hands off’ to the media in attendance:

“Yes, he can start today and he is here. But he is off-limits to you guys.”

Originally posted on Big Cat Country – All Posts

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