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Trevor Lawrence Being Failed By Entire Jaguars Organization

  • The Draft Network
  • November 1, 2021
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When the Jacksonville Jaguars took Trevor Lawrence first overall back in April, he was a consensus no-brainer pick. He was a generational talent set to take a cursed Jaguars franchise and turn them into a contender. A golden-armed prodigy taking the form of something the NFL hadn’t seen since Andrew Luck.

Fast forward a few months and Lawrence is near the bottom of the NFL in virtually every quarterback category, whether it be basic stats like interceptions, completion percentage, and yards per attempt, or even more complex ones like completion percentage above expectation and EPA/play.

So what’s happened? Where is this quarterback we were promised?

It’s a combination of things, but unsurprisingly, it mostly comes down to the Jaguars being, well, the Jaguars. This is a team that had an entire offseason—and an immense amount of resources at their disposal—to structure their team and mold it to what suited Lawrence best. It’s pretty obvious through eight weeks that they ended up doing none of that.

Some injuries—one to first-round running back Travis Etienne and another to their top wide receiver D.J. Chark—definitely hurt Jacksonville in this regard, but they still essentially wasted what was the most critical offseason in franchise history and have now coupled it with one of the worst regular seasons in franchise history (which is really saying something).

Lawrence is stuck dealing with a mentally checked-out, flight-ditching, club-promoting Urban Meyer as his head coach, an offensive coordinator and passing game that treats him either like a toddler or prime Dan Marino (there’s absolutely no in-between), and a receiving group that’s top target is a lifelong special teamer who wears No. 39. Couple that with a horrid defense that has Lawrence playing from behind before he can even blink and it’s no wonder his stats look so bad thus far.

Take this past weekend's game against Seattle for example. Lawrence threw it an eye-popping 52 times—most of that when the game was helplessly out of reach—but he did a lot of good things that just won’t show up anywhere. There were two third-down plays—one a drop and one a miscommunication where the wide receiver cut off his route—during the first half that stalled drives in no way because of him. He threw a bad pick, but his wide receiver was supposed to cut the route flatter as opposed to drifting downfield. 

In the fourth quarter, he threw three passes on an eventual garbage-time touchdown drive—one a dime on 3rd-and-16, another escaping pressure with about five minutes left, and the final one laying a perfect ball into the Cover-2 hole on the sideline—that were all dropped. Marvin Jones created no separation (like he has all year), Laviska Shenault fought balls into his frame and looked more like a gadget player than a full-fledged wide receiver, and Tavon Austin made Kyler Murray look huge. These are professional players who obviously are very skilled at what they do to get to this point, but it was a straight-up pathetic performance.

Then you also tack on the coaching aspect. Meyer was disinterested on the sideline, mismanaging essentially everything despite a bye week to prepare. At one point they had a 12 men on the field penalty then still had to call a timeout on the very next play to avoid the same penalty. Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell was no better, giving a vertical, shot thrower like Lawrence an average depth of target of just three yards heading into the fourth quarter, rotating between running high-school-level screen passes on early downs and a ‘figure things out for yourself’ approach with Lawrence once it inevitably got to 3rd and 4th-and-long.

All of this isn’t to say Lawrence himself didn’t experience growing pains in the match-up. His lone pick was still thrown into double coverage regardless of how the wide receiver ran his route and he's struggled mightily with turnovers and protecting the football throughout the year—but that’s natural with any rookie quarterback, even someone with his resume. He’s learning NFL coverages, trying to see what he can and can’t get away with at this level, and experimenting with things. What’s not natural is throwing up 3rd-and-long prayers to special teams players while your coach thinks about his Ohio bar on the sideline.

At the end of the day, just because guys like Justin Herbert and Dak Prescott had insane rookie years doesn't mean that Lawrence has been a disappointment relative to what he showed at Clemson. He just hasn’t been able to turn a circus into a functioning act. There’s no shame in that, especially when you look at the history of guys who were taken first overall in their first years. Even Luck had similar advanced stats (particularly CPOE, CMP%, and air yards) to Lawrence through his first eight starts, which goes to show that the NFL just isn’t built for young players to carry franchises. 

Right now Lawrence is essentially Captain America facing Thanos’ army alone. A brave and talented soldier, but one with no chance at success if things stay the way they currently are. It doesn’t matter that you’re Chris Evans with a sick suit, your top three targets on Sunday were Jamal Agnew, Carlos Hyde, and Dan Arnold.

Let’s hope the Jags pull a Dr. Strange and open some portals soon, because misery and suffering when Blake Bortles is your quarterback is one thing, but ruining Trevor Lawrence? That’s unforgivable.

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