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JACKSONVILLE — Trevor Lawrence’s first interception sailed high and wide of the mark and settled right between a defensive back’s numbers. The second interception was a low throw to the goal line. The defender simply made a good play, scooping the football before it hit the ground.
The Jacksonville Jaguars second-year quarterback was not sharp during practice Wednesday morning.
There were passes thrown a bit late. There were a couple thrown out of apparent desperation to avoid pressure.
And there were even some completions that delivered good results only because receivers waited or reached back for the passes.
This was neither beauty nor poetry. This was a rough morning by the quarterback who is supposed to make the leap in 2022 after a difficult rookie season.
“You’re spot on,” Lawrence said when asked about the apparent struggles for himself and the rest of the offense. “It wasn’t our sharpest day offensively. That’s one thing I’ve learned, you’ve got to be focused on the next day, not worry about what just happened.”
Trevor Lawrence: Still Learning
The focus in Jacksonville is primarily Trevor Lawrence, last year’s No. 1 overall selection from Clemson. The Jaguars also had another No. 1 overall pick this year: outside linebacker Travon Walker of Georgia.
But Walker and everyone else on the roster is in Lawrence’s shadow. Because everyone else’s fate largely depends on how Lawrence plays.
Tough practice, sure, but it’s only one and it followed multiple days of good work. New coach Doug Pederson believes Lawrence is exactly as advertised.
“He’s still learning but he’s everything you want in a quarterback,” Pederson said. “He wants to learn, he wants to get better.”
Would Pederson admit it if Lawrence wasn’t it?
“Probably not,” Pederson said. “But it’ll show up on the field. He is as advertised, though. Whatever you hear, read, he’s that way. He’s genuine, he’s down to Earth, he’s humble. And he’s had a good camp so far.
“Gosh, I think he can only get better.”
It’s common for a quarterback to get better in his second year, no matter how difficult that rookie season. But the expectation for Trevor Lawrence isn’t for him to merely improve. It’s to make the leap.
We’ve all seen what that looks like: It’s Patrick Mahomes earning only one start as a rookie and throwing 50 TD passes his second season. It’s Lamar Jackson throwing six touchdowns as a rookie and 36 his second year. It’s Joe Burrow having his ups and downs as a rookie then taking his team to the Super Bowl the next year.
New System In Jacksonville
No one has said Trevor Lawrence cannot make that leap. But there are obstacles he faces that others have not. One of those is not having the benefit of playing in the same system his second year as his first.
Lawrence isn’t building on what he learned last year about the Jacksonville offense and how defenses typically react to certain calls in certain situations. He’s learning a whole new system.
And he isn’t working with the same coaches who are picking up his development from where they left off. Even if Pederson and his staff are an upgrade over Urban Meyer and last year’s staff, the fact remains they’re different.
So Lawrence may need time to re-acclimate as he kind of starts over.
Might that keep Lawrence from making that expected leap? Might he have to wait to do that until next season, his second under the then-familiar Pederson system?
“I don’t know,” Lawrence said. “I don’t really know how to answer that. I would say that for me, I want to make a jump because that’s going to help this team win. Like I’ve said before, if the quarterback doesn’t play well, you’re not going to win many games. So in order for us to get where we want to be come January, we’re going to have to play well.”
Trevor Lawrence isn’t thinking about the obstacles of learning a new system or memorializing one uneven practice.
“I’m excited to have that opportunity [to make a big jump],” he said. “I think this system offers that, and we’ve got a lot of answers, got a great scheme, and obviously we’ve got talent everywhere, especially receiver, tight end, running back, up front the guys have been playing great.
“So I’m excited to really see what we can do this year.”
Follow on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero