The Jacksonville Jaguars have been one of the surprises of the young NFL season, leading the AFC South with a 2-1 record and having one of the best defenses in the league. Trevor Lawrence also looks like the franchise quarterback Jacksonville drafted No. 1 overall.
It should be no surprise Doug Pederson has been at the center of the Jaguars' quick turnaround, considering he did the same thing with the Philadelphia Eagles when he arrived with the franchise six years ago. Pederson, who brought the lone Super Bowl championship to Philadelphia, returns to coach against the Eagles for the first time Sunday in Week 4.
The Eagles have a statue of Pederson outside Lincoln Financial Field, showcasing how much he meant to the organization in his five years as head coach. Pederson feels the same way about the franchise and the city it represents.
"My wife and I, our family, we have a lot of great memories back there," Pederson said Monday. "I spent eight or nine years there, once with Coach (Andy) Reid and then once obviously as the head coach and brought that city a championship and something to be proud of obviously.
"I'm really looking forward to getting back there. I understand that city, I understand that passion for football, but now I'm on the other side. It's still a long way away. It's seven days away or six days away, but we have to prepare this week like we have these last couple of weeks. But I'm looking forward to it, to getting back up there. It's been a great place. We did a lot of good things there and I'm looking forward to hopefully the welcome."
Pick Six Newsletter
Crafted By The Best NFL Experts
Get the day's big stories + fun stuff you love like mock drafts, picks and power rankings.
Thanks for signing up!
Keep an eye on your inbox.
There was an error processing your subscription.
Pederson went 42-37-1 in his five seasons with the 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.
What Pederson did with the Eagles made him a fan favorite, especially after Philadelphia defeated Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl. Pederson developed a reputation for being a gambler on fourth down and used analytics to detail his methods, including dialing up the "Philly Special" in the Super Bowl as the icing on the cake.
Pederson, who played and coached in Philadelphia, isn't really sure of the reception he'll get Sunday. Being on the other side shouldn't play a role this time.
"I don't know. It could be mixed. Listen, I have to get this team here ready to go and I'm not going to be concerned with that. You hope it's a good one obviously for the things you did there, but I also know that crowd and they can be a little hostile and (I'm) looking forward to that too," Pederson said. "Listen, understanding that and having been there and worked there, you just understand that it's (how it is). Even when I was there and we were winning games or losing games, you were still getting booed, so it doesn't really matter."
"My job is to prepare the team to go play in a great environment against a really good football team that's playing extremely well right now," Pederson said. "For us, it's the next one on the schedule and it just so happens to be Philly. But at the same time, it's my job to prepare the guys this week and go play."