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There are still moments when the ghosts of 2021 still haunt Trevor Lawrence and the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Even in the good times — and so far this offseason has been a very good one for the Jaguars’ quarterback and his team — Lawrence admits last year’s experience under Urban Meyer and his coaching staff led to a breach of trust between players and those coaches.
“I think that’s the biggest thing in a team is just trusting each other, trusting the guys in the locker room but also the staff,” Lawrence told reporters Monday. “That’s something, clearly, we didn’t have a lot of last year, so, I mean, I think our locker room did a great job last year of staying together.”
This is not a takedown of Meyer or a reprise of last season’s debacle. It is, however, a comparison because new coach Doug Pederson, on the job all of three months, is already getting high marks all around.
And it has started with Lawrence believing in the new coach.
“It’s cool to see [Pederson] make [trust] a priority and he knows and understands that that is definitely something that we have to make sure that we have in this building,” Lawrence said. “I do think we’re building that, and from everything I’ve seen, everyone’s trusting one another, really just going to work, and preparing ourselves.”
At times on Monday, Lawrence’s talk with reporters felt like a progress report on how the new Jaguars are handling everything that is new from the lens of the team’s most important player.
And Lawrence, who showed his displeasure with multiple issues last season, thinks things are apparently pointed in the right direction now.
It starts with his relationship with the new coach. And how that’s been a blessing because the new coach happened to play quarterback in the NFL.
“I think you can always tell the way a coach communicates with a quarterback because he’s been in my shoes,” Lawrence said. “Quarterback’s an interesting position. It’s not a big rah-rah, chew somebody out position.
“I mean you have some coaches that are like that but for me, that’s just not what I need. I can have a conversation and Pederson’s great about that. At every play, he gives you a piece of feedback that
another coach might not give you just because he knows what it’s like and it’s something little that he
might see that someone else doesn’t see.
“Having the head coach be able to step in, even today a couple times, three or four times, after a play, he’ll come over and give me a little tip or whatever. Just having a head coach that can do that and really, really knows what he’s talking about is cool.”
The Jaguars are installing a new offense now. Well, they’re putting in a new offense and defense.
But as far as Lawrence can tell on his side of the football, the process is going exactly as planned and certainly in quite a comfortable manner for him.
“Obviously, you’re going to always have a few things here and there you want to clean up, but I really like where we’re at,” Lawrence said. “I feel like we’re, I don’t want to say ahead of schedule, but I really feel like we’re right where we need to be.
“The way that coach Pederson and [Offensive Coordinator] Press [Taylor], all of those guys, our whole staff has installed the offense is really strategically. I really like where we’re at and the guys are picking it up great.”
The Jaguars offense has added receiver Zay Jones and Christian Kirk, tight end Evan Engram and guard Brandon Scherff this offseason. But the club got great news Monday when 2021 draft pick Travis Etienne finally returned from the Lisfranc injury and ensuing surgery that ended his rookie season before it really began.
“Travis has been cleared for everything,” Pederson announced. “He’s been doing really well through the whole offseason program. We’re still going to monitor and make sure he’s 100 percent. We don’t want to have any setbacks at this stage, but he’s been doing really good.”
So more good news for Lawrence because the return of his Clemson teammate can only make him better.
“It’s nice,” Lawrence said. “Last year we had a year-long break, and everybody’s been anxious for him to get back, including myself. He’s looked great. He adds a lot of versatility for us, really explosive. We’re all pumped to have him back.”
Follow on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero