Jaguars owner Shad Khan aims to 'strengthen' football operations, 'add brainpower' – NFL.com

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Doug Pederson was introduced as the new head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars on Saturday, and so too was a new plan for the structure of the front office in Duval.
Jaguars owner Shad Khan said Saturday during Pederson’s introductory news conference that the team has notified the NFL it plans to hire an executive vice president of football operations and will also add someone to the staff to work under general manager Trent Baalke.
Khan’s front-office construction plans come following reports earlier in the week via NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero and NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport that former Minnesota Vikings general manager Rick Spielman had been in discussions with the club for a high-level position in the front office.
“One of the reasons we had the search was not only looking for the head coaching candidate but really to learn about other organizations,” Khan said, via ESPN’s Michael DiRocco. “That’s a by-product of the coaching search. So some of the practices, some of the structure that works, we got great insight into it. Strengthening the football operations, more staff, that’s part of our goal. We’ve had too flat an organization and we want to add brainpower and more people to strengthen that.”
Adding brainpower would certainly seem to bode well for a franchise mired in a stretch of four consecutive last-place finishes and just one playoff appearance over the last 14 seasons.
That one postseason ticket was punched when Tom Coughlin was the team’s EVP of football operations, so it’s not a new concept for the Jaguars as they look to revisit their glory year, when they advanced to the AFC Championship Game.
Khan eventually fired Coughlin, who became known more for player fines and grievances than success produced on the field, in December of 2019. General manager Dave Caldwell was fired in November of 2020 and head coach Doug Marrone followed soon thereafter. Then came the ill-fated hire of Urban Meyer, who lasted less than a full year this past season and during his time was very much the face of the organization.
Following Meyer’s dismissal, a long search began that ended with Pederson.
At one point, various reports leaned to Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich being hired, but that didn’t come to fruition and some reports suggested it was due to Baalke being retained.
Though Baalke remaining with the team was surprising to some, Khan backed his GM on Saturday and denied that any candidates were deterred by Baalke being part of the team’s power structure.
“The candidates — I mean, we had discussions on how we’re structured, open, candid discussions, and there was no one — and Trent was there,” Khan said, via FanNation’s John Shipley. “Just like I think the harmony between the head coach and general manager, I think is very, very important. So these are open, adult discussions. So there was no one who said, OK, I don’t want to be part of it. I think everyone continued the process.”
It was a wild and wooly 2021 season for the Jaguars and the road to hiring Pederson was a bit rocky, too, but the aforementioned process is being changed a bit as another new dawn is upon Duval.
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