For nearly two months, Trevor Lawrence and the Jacksonville Jaguars were without a head coach. Urban Meyer was fired on Dec. 16 with four weeks to go in the season, giving Jacksonville a seeming head start on other clubs to locate its next leader.
But it wasn't until Thursday night, almost 50 days after Meyer's departure, that the Jags found their guy in former Philadelphia Eagles coach Doug Pederson.
For Lawrence, the wait for a new director left him and the team directionless, but Saturday's introductory press conference of Pederson felt, finally, like the start of something special.
"We're really excited obviously," Lawrence told Jaguars team reporter Ashlyn Sullivan on Saturday. "I talked to him briefly on the phone Thursday night, and then today, first time meeting him in person, just seems like a really great guy. Obviously, he's had a lot of success. His resume kind of speaks for itself. He's an offensive guy, played quarterback in the NFL. All of those things make me really excited, and it's something that I'm just excited to get to work with him and see what he brings to the table.
"I think everybody's excited. Everybody's really relieved we got our guy, and to be able to move forward and go to work now is a really good feeling."
Lawrence struggled early in his rookie season, as first-year quarterbacks are wont to do. The former Clemson QB completed 59.6 percent of his passes for 3,641 yards, 12 TDs and a league-high 17 INTs as Jacksonville stumbled to a league-worst 3-14 record. In an uninspiring offense, Lawrence did not look comfortable in the pros until late in the campaign.
After working for less than a season under Meyer, a longtime college coach who never played in the NFL, Lawrence sees in Pederson, a former NFL quarterback who's coached in the pros since 2009, someone to whom he can relate and with whom he can prosper.
"He played the quarterback position," Lawrence explained, "so he sees it through my lens more so than a lot of coaches that haven't played the position."
A major reason Pederson was considered and eventually hired to be the seventh head coach in Jaguars history was to get the most out of Lawrence, the 2021 first overall pick and face of the franchise. Pederson struck gold in Philadelphia with 2016 second overall pick Carson Wentz in the QB's second season before he was lost to a season-ending knee injury, and he worked wonders with journeyman backup Nick Foles when Wentz went down, as Philly marched to an improbable win in Super Bowl LII and its first title.
Pederson hopes to bring Jacksonville its first Lombardi Trophy by working similar magic with the prodigiously talented Lawrence.
"That's something I obviously looked at with the teams that were searching for head coaches, 'Who is the quarterback?' and 'Is that person in place?' And here, it is, I truly believe that," Pederson said Saturday of Lawrence. "Everything, as I've done my research on Trevor and talked to people, even talked to coaches who have played against them this past year say nothing but great things and kind of the sky's the limit.
"I'm just excited to come in here, roll up my sleeves and go to work, create a system that enhances his skillset and be successful."
If the pair's first interactions in Duval are any indication, the Jaguars are in good hands.