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Among the multitude of issues currently working against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Trevor Lawrence is one of the few problems that has a chance not just to improve, but become great.
The No. 1 overall pick out of Clemson is off to a rough rookie campaign: completing 58 percent of his passes, throwing nine touchdowns against 14 interceptions and guiding the Jags to a 2-11 record — tied with the Houston Texans at the bottom of the AFC South.
It’s a production and stability issue that the team must learn to fix, which is why head coach Urban Meyer decided to keep Lawrence in the game against the Tennessee Titans, despite Lawrence’s four interceptions.
However, the coaching staff was not opposed to benching the coveted freshman quarterback.
“There was some conversation about what would be best for Trevor at this point,” Meyer commented, alluding to conversations he had with his coaching staff on pulling the rookie after a spree of blunders on Sunday. “I obviously relied on [Darrell Bevell] and [Brian Schottenheimer] to give their opinions and we thought, all three of us, it would be best to let him finish.”
When asked about the state of the Jags, Lawrence did the commendable act of absorbing the blame after the loss but reminded fans, and the teammates, that any effort to pull this franchise out of the lower echelon of the NFL will need to be a collective effort.
“We’re just not playing well,” Lawrence told reporters after the loss. “I got to accept all the blame for what I did. I didn’t play well. I take that on the chin. We’re going to keep getting better and keep going to work. That’s all there is to do. The season’s not over yet.”
Down heavy in the fourth quarter against the Titans, a move to bench Lawrence could have actually been seen as a good thing, or a “business” decision. So in this case it’s hard to say whether the Jags’ perception of the situation could have held up should Lawrence have exited the game early — not on the coaching staff’s vollition.
Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback CJ Beathard is slotted behind Lawrence in the depth chart and may still see some time in the final weeks of regular season football, should Jacksonville do the reasonable move of preserving Lawrence for next season and the years beyond.
Follow along on Twitter: @AlejandroAveela