The Jacksonville Jaguars have undergone a seismic change in culture over the last 12 months, as expected from the Urban Meyer experience to the player-friendly coach in Doug Pederson. The difference is night and day, which Josh Allen clearly pointed out after just one training camp practice and an entire offseason with Pederson and his staff.
“It feels good to be a part of a professional locker room, not only in the locker room but also when you talk to the coaches. It’s a professional setting,” Allen said Tuesday. “You have to hone in to the details. If you’re not listening to the details, it’s not getting onto you, it’s telling you what’s right and what’s wrong.
“As guys, as grown men, we’ve got to understand that, and he puts it in a way we can understand it and grow. He’s not getting on us, he’s letting us know what’s real, and he’s talking to us like grown men. With that, nothing but respect. We want to grow. We want to be great, and plus, he has the respect in his resume.
“We want to be an organization where we can get to that point someday. If we do things right and we listen, I feel like we can get to that point.”
The Jaguars certainly had a unique experience under Meyer last season, a tenure that was full of embarrassment and scandal. In addition to questionable coaching hires, Meyer had numerous run-ins with players and reportedly called his assistant coaches “losers.” Then there was the viral video of Meyer dancing with a young female in a Columbus bar that wasn’t his wife, which he apologized to the Jaguars organization in the aftermath of the event two days later.
Pederson isn’t just a coach that listens to his players, but he won as a result of his culture. He went 42-37-1 in his five seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles, winning two NFC East titles and taking the franchise to three consecutive playoff appearances (2017 to 2019). He turned the Eagles around in a hurry, becoming one of just 11 head coaches to win the Super Bowl in his first two seasons as a head coach.
The Jaguars have been the laughingstock of the NFL for nearly a decade, a franchise that has won over six games once in a season since the start of 2011 — an NFL worst 47-130 in that span (.266 win percentage). Meyer made matters worse, going 2-11 in his 13 games before he was fired last December.
Jacksonville is building a new culture in year one of the Pederson regime, which Allen is clearly embracing. Allen has already earned praise from defensive coordinator Mike Caldwell on embracing the veteran role and helping the young defensive players — which has stuck out in the early portion of camp.
“It’s a sign of him being a leader, a good teammate and also being the man that he is,” Caldwell said. “However you got here, you’re here, now you’re in Jacksonville. You can help us. We’re going to try to get everything we can out of you, so he’s a guy that’s been through it. He understands it.
“He’s able to spill his knowledge onto the young guys, and they’re gravitating towards him.”