Mon, 06 Feb 2023

Jaguars insider: "We're starting to click"

Jaguars
25 Nov 2022, 04:06 GMT+10

Jaguars News | Jacksonville Jaguars - jaguars.comJohn Oehser

JACKSONVILLE - Ten games in, Trevor Lawrence likes his progress.

Jaguars offensive coordinator Press Taylor likes it, too. And as the Jaguars exit their 2022 bye week, it's a trend Lawrence and Taylor said must continue.

That's a major focus for the final seven weeks of the 2022 season.

"There's always things I can improve on," Lawrence said as the Jaguars (3-7) prepared to play the AFC North-leading Baltimore Ravens (7-3) at TIAA Bank Field Sunday at 1 p.m.

"I feel like I've played well the last two weeks, but there's still a few plays every game that I could do better, whether it's a missed throw, missed read, get through my progressions faster, protections, all that stuff. There are little things, but I do feel really comfortable, really confident."

Lawrence, the No. 1 overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft, has improved significantly in his second NFL season. He has completed 65.2 percent of his passes after completing 59.6 percent of his passes in 2021. He has thrown 13 touchdowns with six interceptions after throwing 12 and 17, respectively, as a rookie. He registered a passer rating of more than 100 in five of the first 10 games this season after registering just one such game in his rookie season.

Lawrence in the final two games before this past weekend's bye completed 76 percent of his passes for three touchdowns with no interceptions in a victory over the Las Vegas Raiders and a loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. His rating was more than 100 in each game.

Taylor said such repeated performances are the goal.

"It's really just the consistency," Taylor said. "Obviously he's put two good games in a row together. We want to continue to see the growth we feel like we've started seeing on a more consistent basis. As a unit, that's really where we need to be."

Taylor said the major objective offensively moving forward is improving in the red zone - specifically, eliminating turnovers there. The Jaguars had four such turnovers in Weeks 1-10, with Lawrence throwing red-zone interceptions in one-score losses to Philadelphia (Week 4), Houston (Week 5) and Denver (Week 8).

Running back Travis Etienne Jr. lost a fumble into the end zone in a Week 7 loss to the New York Giants.

"Obviously turning the football over has been the biggest thing that's hindered us in that situation," Taylor said, calling the four turnovers "inexcusable."

"That's too many for a season," he said. "That's really held us back."

Taylor said Lawrence's consistency in the last two games before the bye was a matter of taking "what the defense gives him."

"That's the biggest thing over and over: 'Understand the plan really well, understand the situation, put the ball in play, give our guys opportunities,''' Taylor said. "That gives our guys the opportunity to get the ball in space and create afterward. Overall, that builds up that trust and chemistry as a unit."

The Jaguars, after ranking 32nd with 14.9 points per game last season, rank 19th at 21.6 points per game this season.

"I feel like we're starting to click more and more as an offense, especially in the passing game, and I think that's something that's important, especially this time of year," Lawrence said. "You want to be playing your best football November, December, January. I like where we're at as an offense, really. When you really look at the details and some of the stuff we're doing, I think we're making a lot of steps.

"Just trying to continue that improvement and keep that confidence for myself and just for all of us. Obviously, that's a huge part of the game, playing with that confidence and trusting each other."

QUOTABLE I

Jaguars Head Coach Doug Pederson: "I'm encouraged by the attitude of the team. I think they're in the right frame of mind. Anything is possible. I've seen it. I've experienced it in this league. You get a little luck on your side, the ball bounces your way. Anything is possible. We're just taking it one game at a time right now, and we're focused on Baltimore."

QUOTABLE II

Jaguars defensive coordinator Mike Caldwell on Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson, the 2019 Most Valuable Player who has twice rushed for more than 1,000 yards in a season and who has rushed for 666 yards and three touchdowns this season: "He's an outstanding quarterback. He's a quarterback who does have a skill set that typical quarterbacks don't have. It's tough. You have to have enough guys on the field who can catch him and the guys on the field who are bigger than him have to be able to understand how to keep him in the pocket. It's a challenge. We'll have a plan for how we want to rush him and how we want to try to contain him and go do it. We have 11 and we're going to use all 11 at one time."

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