JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan reversed course on hiring an executive vice president Tuesday, leaving key football decisions to new coach Doug Pederson and general manager Trent Baalke moving forward.
Khan's about-face came less than a month after he said he planned to tweak the franchise's power structure to add “brainpower" to a “too flat organization.” Khan changed his mind after sitting in on staff meetings and witnessing a turnaround in terms of professionalism and chemistry.
"In just over three weeks, Doug Pederson has instilled a structured and disciplined approach that is clearly making a difference in our culture and mindset," Khan said in a statement. "I feel we’re best served at this time by allowing Doug, Trent and their assistants to take ownership of our path forward.
"We will continue to explore the addition of personnel to other areas of our football operations to provide everyone the best chance to win.”
The EVP would have been in charge of day-to-day operations, a person who reports directly to Khan and has ultimate say in football decisions. Pederson and Baalke would have reported to the EVP. It's a model the Jaguars first used with Tom Coughlin in 2017, the previous time they made the playoffs.
Khan went with a coach-centric model last year, with Urban Meyer having the final say. Now, they're likely to have Pederson and Baalke work in tandem.
The Jaguars have the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft for the second straight year and have about $60 million in salary-cap space, a number that could increase with potential roster moves over the next week.
Many expected Khan to clean house considering the Jaguars have lost 35 of their past 41 games and have a league-high 10 losing seasons in the past 11 years. But Khan insisted on keeping Baalke despite his presence creating concern for some coaching candidates.
Baalke has a less-than-stellar reputation in league circles, and his past five NFL seasons ended with a coaching change. But his first year as GM in Jacksonville was marred by Meyer, who was fired in mid-December after 13 games in what will go down as one of the most turbulent tenures in NFL history.
Khan kept the 57-year-old Baalke around to lead the coaching search, a winding process that started and ended with Pederson. Jacksonville hired Pederson five weeks after first interviewing the former Philadelphia Eagles coach. Pederson was one of 10 candidates interviewed in what Khan called an “exhaustive process with no preconceived notions.”
The 54-year-old Pederson was widely considered one of the top options. He made the playoffs three times in five seasons in Philadelphia and led the Eagles to their first Super Bowl victory following the 2017 season.
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