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Doug Pederson closer to Jaguars job with Byron Leftwich bowing out

Pederson’s biggest competition for Jags job bows out originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

Doug Pederson is apparently one step closer to landing his next head coaching gig as one of the other top candidates for the Jaguars job is reportedly withdrawing his name.

Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich was once considered by many as the heavy favorite to land the job in Jacksonville, but is now expected to bow out of the race, Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times reported.

Stroud says that Pederson and former Raiders interim head coach Rich Bisaccia remain strong candidates.

Pederson, 54, initially interviewed with the Jaguars back on Jan. 5, before the 2021 regular season ended. The Jags got a jump on the interview because Pederson didn’t have a job and they had already fired Urban Meyer.

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And then nothing happened for a long time.

Pederson finally took a second interview with the Jaguars earlier this week. Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer reported that Pederson was “lukewarm” about going to Jacksonville with the current state of that franchise.

In addition to this job, Pederson has also interviewed with the Bears and Saints within the last moth. The Bears have since hired Matt Eberflus, while the Saints job remains open. Pederson is close with former Saints head coach Sean Payton, who stepped down after the season.

The other known candidates for the Jacksonville job are Bucs DC Todd Bowles, former Lions HC Jim Caldwell, Cowboys OC Kellen Moore and former Texans HC Bill O’Brien. The Jags also expressed some interest in Cowboys DC Dan Quinn, who is heading back to Dallas, and Rams OC Kevin O’Connell, who is the expected hire in Minnesota.

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So Pederson’s possibilities are down to Jacksonville and New Orleans. The Saints are a much more stable franchise and maybe Pederson would prefer to go there. But he might not be able to choose his landing spot either. The Jaguars should also be further along in the process.

If Pederson ends up with the Jags, he’ll have last year’s No. 1 pick Trevor Lawrence to mold. That might be the most enticing part of that gig.

In his five years in Philadelphia as the Eagles head coach, Pederson went to the playoffs three times and led his team to a win in Super Bowl LII.

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