3 Reasons Why Doug Pederson Shouldn't Call Plays For the Jaguars in 2024 (2024)

With less than 10 weeks to go until opening Sunday for the NFL, the Jacksonville Jaguars still have to figure out one of the most important questions in football.

Who is calling the plays?

The topic has been written about countless times this offseason, whether in this space or others. The answer, though, likely won't be revealed until we inch closer to Week 1.

The two options are obvious: head coach Doug Pederson or offensive coordinator Press Taylor. Which way Pederson might lean in deciding the important role is significantly less obvious, with Pederson, Taylor and all other Jaguars' brass, staff, and players keeping mum and being non-committal on the topic.

Previously, we made the case for why the Jaguars' offense should be led by head coach Doug Pederson. Now, we make a counterargument and look at three reasons why Pederson should not call plays in 2024.

There are reasons the 2023 offense performed worse than the 2022 offense

When comparing the Jaguars' offense in 2022 and 2023, it is hard not to take the 2022 unit in an argument of which was the most successful. The Jaguars set a tone for the entire Doug Pederson era in 2022, with the passing game standing out amongst the league's best over the final stretch of the season.

But while the Jaguars' performance over the final month-and-a-half of the 2022 season and their playoff comeback vs. the Los Angeles Chargers left a lasting impression, the 2022 offense did have some clunkers just like the 2023 offense.

In terms of total dropback EPA earned in all 34 regular season games in the Pederson era, six of the top 10 such games belong to the 2022 Jaguars. All six of these are in the top seven, showing the Jaguars' passing game was ultimately more successful in terms of the ceiling in 2022 than 2023. But in terms of the bottom-10 games, the same six-to-four ration remains but this time, two of the worst five games belong to the 2022 Jaguars. The 2022 offense was better, but it had down points just like the 2023 unit.

So, what were the major differences? Only two starters changed, with the Jaguars swapping out Marvin Jones for Calvin Ridley and right tackle Jawaan Taylor for Anton Taylor. The only real coaching changes on offense were replacing Jim Bob Cooter as passing game coordinator with Nick Holz and replacing wide receivers coach Chris Jackson with Chad Hall.

Ultimately, injuries came down as the final factor. Quarterback Trevor Lawrence was injured for the final six weeks, while the Jaguars also missed Christian Kirk for the final five games of the season. Wide receiver Zay Jones was injured most of the year, with the Jaguars never truly having their core pass-catching trio together at full health. There was also a revolving door at left tackle and left guard, with the Jaguars having four different players take snaps at left tackle during the season.

Injuries happen in football, but the Jaguars were mostly healthy in these spots in 2022. Most importantly, a toe injury for Lawrence in 2022 was the only thing that impacted him, while he racked up four different injuries in 2023 and missed the first start of his career. The Jaguars did lose their Week 1 left tackle and left guard to injuries, but Walker Little and Tyler Shatley solidified each spot instead of going in and out of the lineup like the 2023 unit.

Is it a smart bet to assume the Jaguars' offense, now with different faces at wide receiver and center, will rebound in 2024? The answer likely depends on the health of the unit. Health proved to be the biggest impact in 2023, and it will again this season.

Pederson was hired to be the one to make these decisions

Jaguars owner Shad Khan said it best when talking about the play-calling situation; Doug Pederson is empowered. Khan would never be the owner to force his head coach's hand, allowing Pederson to show he can do the job Khan hired him to do in 2022. And in many ways, this seems like the right path to go down. If the Jaguars' owner feels like he has to make decisions for his coach, than what is the coach really doing? That doesn't seem to be the case of the 2024 Jaguars.

In short, Pederson was hired to make these decisions. And if Pederson decides offensive coordinator Press Taylor should call plays, then that should be that. Pederson was hired to develop Trevor Lawrence and take the Jaguars' offense to new heights, not to listen to others about what is best for the offense.

Pederson could elect to call plays himself as well, which is a choice that should be respected just as much as the alternative. Whatever Pederson decides, it is important knowing it is his decision. He was hired to know what is best for the Jaguars' offense. I

Could Pederson be a better coach while overseeing the whole team?

There is a legitimate question of whether a head coach is better when he is calling plays against when he is able to oversee the entire team. Pederson did both in 2022 when him and Taylor took turns calling the plays, but 2023 allowed Pederson to take a step back and focus on all three units. And while Pederson never said much on why the decision was made, he was asked about it during an appearance on The Pat McAfee Show last year.

"Obviously it is not an easy decision to come to, it takes a lot of soul-searching and thought that has to go into that because I do enjoy calling plays. And it keeps you involved in the game," Pederson said,

"But I just felt like that my best as far as a leader, as far as the head coach being able to control the football game and manage the game and do different things, spend time on defense, spend time special teams, managing all of that has been a lot better for me. I see the game differently. I see the game more clear, proably, than when you are kind of focused and locked in to calling plays all the time. And listen, Press and I have been together foe seven years, all the way back to our days, you know, in Philadelphia when he was a quality control coach for me. So I got a lot of trust in him and how he puts gameplans together."

The Jaguars' 8-3 start in 2023 was the best early stretch of any Jaguars team in decades, so perhaps Pederson was on to something. Whether he was a better coach due to the set up is something only he knows, so there should be some faith in his decision regardless of what it is.

3 Reasons Why Doug Pederson Shouldn't Call Plays For the Jaguars in 2024 (2024)

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