- Jacksonville Jaguars’ head coach Urban Meyer has named Trevor Lawrence as the starter for the team’s Week 1 regular season game against the Houston Texans on September 12.
- Lawrence has been solid though not spectacular during the preseason despite little help from his offensive line.
- Lawrence is a +350 co-favorite with Justin Fields to win the 2021-2022 Offensive Rookie of the Year Award.
Not much of a surprise but Jacksonville Jaguars’ head coach Urban Meyer has named his starting quarterback. Former Clemson Tigers’ standout Trevor Lawrence will be the starter for Jacksonville’s September 12 regular season opener on the road against the Houston Texans. Lawrence will also start the Jags’ final preseason game this Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys.
As the first overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft it was expected that Lawrence would be ‘given the keys’ sooner rather than later. Head Coach Meyer insists that Lawrence earned the starting job rather than having it handed to him:
“We wanted him to earn it, as we do with every position. We felt he has, after [Monday] night’s performance was — it was good, obviously not great. We didn’t run the ball very well. I kind of in my mind had that [deadline] after the second preseason [game] that we kind of have to get someone ready to play in three weeks.”
Lawrence has shown a few flashes of brilliance but for the most part he’s been on the run behind a ridiculously porous offensive line and hampered by a non-existent rushing attack. He’s completed 20 of 32 passes for 184 yards in the first two preseason games against the Cleveland Browns and New Orleans Saints but was sacked three times. It’s a testament to Lawrence’s mobility that he hasn’t been sacked more as he’s been pressured on 37% of his dropbacks this preseason according to ESPN Stats & Information data. Jacksonville has rushed for just 91 yards in two preseason games. The Jaguars have scored only four touchdowns in exhibition play with the first team offense managing only three points. Credit to Lawrence for quickly adjusting to the constant pressure–it’s not much of a stretch to suggest that he played behind a much bettor offensive line at Clemson.
Jacksonville’s rushing issues were compounded this week as rookie running back Travis Etienne was placed on season ending injured reserve. He will undergo surgery for a Lisfranc injury in his left foot suffered during Monday’s 23-21 loss against the New Orleans Saints. Etienne was Lawrence’s teammate at Clemson where he became the ACC’s all time leading rusher with 4,752 yards and was selected 25th overall in the 2021 draft. The Jags’ running back situation was dubious prior to the Etienne injury and is now downright ugly–James Robinson is listed as the top RB on the depth chart ahead of Carlos Hyde, Dare Ogunbowale and Devine Ozigbo.
Meyer also praised Lawrence’s backup, veteran Gardner Minshew II, for his toughness and competitive fire:
“Minshew’s not giving it up. I’ve been asked that question, I’ve been looking at people like they’ve got several heads, like what are you talking about. Yes, competition brings out the best in all of us. But this is not a circus here. There’s a guy that actually has done O.K. in the NFL, not great yet, but Gardner Minshew, his numbers are decent. He’s a much different player than Trevor.”
“Trevor’s a down-the-field passer, this guy’s a scramble-around, make-plays guy, but I’ll tell you what he really is, he’s a warrior. And I appreciate warriors. It’s a street fight right now. When someone says, Oh, come on, well, why’d you ask me that question? It is what it is. It’s a battle. I see the stats every day, and the greatest thing that can happen is that it becomes a street fight for as long as possible.”
Lawrence, who led Clemson to a win in the College Football National Championship game as a true freshman, was clearly nonplussed by the competitive QB situation:
“I just think it’s all about competition. Especially I know coming from college like that was the same way once I came into Clemson. Kelly Bryant was the returning starter, was quarterback the year before, had a good season and coming into that it’s like — you don’t just walk in and get handed things, and I just think that’s a good way to run an organization, a team, whatever. People have to earn whatever they’re given.”
C.J Beathard and Jake Luton are the third and fourth quarterbacks on the depth chart.
At BetOnline.ag, Lawrence is a +350 co-favorite with Justin Fields to win the 2021-2022 Offensive Rookie of the Year Award. The other players available at single digit odds are Trey Lance (+400), Zach Wilson (+600), Mac Jones (+900) and Najee Harris (+900). Lawrence is also a +6600 longshot to win Offensive Player of the Year aka ‘offensive MVP’.