August 12, 2022 6:00am

Civic and business leaders want to support Jaguars new head coach, but feel burned by the past

Doug Pederson has engendered some support by Jaguars fans, but they want proof with wins.

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By Drew Dixon
Jacksonville, FL Correspondent

The August Power Poll centers on the Jacksonville Jaguars and a new season under yet another new head coach. It appears many movers and shakers in Jacksonville like the hiring of Doug Pederson to run the team on the field. But most are reluctant to get their hopes up.

After a disastrous 2021 campaign which ended in the firing of Urban Meyer as head coach before the season was over, Jaguars owner Shad Khan hired Doug Pederson to take over the helm of the beleaguered NFL franchise. Pederson coached the Philadelphia Eagles to a Super Bowl championship in the 2017 season.

Power Poll found the power elite in Jacksonville are encouraged by the hiring of Pederson on the cusp of the 2022 season. But they’re also uncertain about getting their hopes up for a turnaround this season after so many embarrassing years of futility.

When asked how encouraged they were about the hiring of Pederson heading into the season, 36% of those taking part in the poll said they have learned not to get their hopes up about the Jaguars no matter who is in charge. Another 30% said Pederson coached the Eagles to a Super Bowl victory so they’re excited while 20% said at least Pederson is from the pros as opposed to Meyer who was only a college coach, so there’s some hope. Another 14% said they’re not sure or had no opinion.

When it comes to the losing ways of the Jaguars, there’s plenty of blame to go around but owner Shad Khan is taking the most. Some 32% of respondents said it’s Khan’s fault and he can’t handle owning the NFL franchise. Another 30% said it’s coaching including Meyer and previous coach Doug Marrone. Another 16% said it’s the players fault while 22% said they have no opinion or don’t know.

There are signs of optimism among power players when it comes to the impact Pederson is having on the team. Early media reports indicate players are embracing Pederson’s philosophy and the team is recovering from the negative impact from Meyer. Some 56% of Power Poll participants say it’s important the players feel good about Pederson to negate Meyer’s damage. Another 34% said it doesn’t matter who is coaching until they start winning. Only 2% said this year seems like a counseling camp which may not be good for a football team while 8% said they don’t know or had no opinion.

And finally, power players in Jacksonville are rallying around quarterback Trevor Lawrence, who was the first overall draft pick by the Jags in 2021. He struggled in his first year under Meyer, but civic and business leaders in Jacksonville think he can bounce back under Pederson. Out of all the respondents, 76% said they are optimistic about Pederson’s track record and skill with quarterbacks and they are optimistic about Lawrence. Another 14% said first round QBs are twitchy so it’s anyone’s guess. Finally, 10% said they don’t know or had no opinion while no respondents said Lawrence was ruined under Meyer.

About Power Poll: Power Poll asks questions of the most powerful, influential people in U.S. cities. It is not a scientific survey. But because the people responding to the surveys comprise the leadership structure of their cities, the results afford a fascinating glimpse into the thoughts, opinions, and beliefs of those in a position to make change. Power Poll is distinctly nonpartisan.

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