JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Shad Khan is ready for the new era in Jacksonville.
With a franchise quarterback on the way and a new coaching staff that’s ready to win now, the future is finally starting to brighten up in Jacksonville for Khan and Jaguars fans.
Khan knows it and feels the difference, too. Khan has spoken since he made sweeping changes after the team’s 1-15 season that there’s plenty of reason for optimism entering 2021.
(Click below to watch full, uncut interview with Shad Khan and Cole Pepper.)
“Well, I think the most important thing is to win,” Khan said Thursday afternoon before the Jaguars hosted their draft party at TIAA Bank Field. “And you know it’s a little over three years ago, at least I thought maybe we’d turn the corner, and the rest is history. So, at the very least, what I’m hoping for is we’re going to have a sustainable, winning Jacksonville Jaguars team.”
Optimism and hope have been words that Khan has seized upon. The Jaguars have had eight seasons under .500 in Khan’s nine-year tenure as owner. They reached the AFC championship game in the 2017 season but hit the skids after that.
Khan said that he became a bit more plugged in to the football side of things over the last year and a half as the team underwent a roster makeover and cleaned up contract issues by releasing and trading players. The result was a miserable season, 15 straight losses, and the firing of general manager Dave Caldwell and coach Doug Marrone.
“Well, I got more involved a little over a year ago,” Khan said. “So, I worked with Dave and Doug, and much to their credit here, as we kind of cleaned up the situation over the last year or so where we have a young core team that wants to play for the Jaguars and wants to be in Jacksonville, and really build from that.”
Holding the No. 1 pick in the draft and selecting Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence is the start of that shift. The Jaguars are universally expected to pick Lawrence, one of the best quarterback prospects in NFL draft history. They have nine additional draft picks after that, including No. 25 and a pair of second-round selections.
When the dust settles after the next three days of the NFL draft, Khan said that it will finally be time to exhale.
“Well, I mean it’s going to be full of hope and optimism and taking a deep breath. And now, you know, you got to enjoy the moment and you got to enjoy the next few months, frankly, I know I am,” he said. “And then get ready for when the ball is snapped.”