Trevor Lawrence’s first NFL snap ended with a sack that nearly turned into a fumble, but the Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback didn’t let that rattle him.
The 2021 No. 1 draft pick bounced back from that inauspicious start and turned in a solid but unspectacular performance in the Jaguars’ 23-13 loss to the Cleveland Browns at TIAA Bank Field on Saturday night.
Lawrence threw for 71 yards — including a 35-yarder to Marvin Jones Jr. to convert a third down — but failed to lead the first-team offense to any points in his two possessions and admittedly held on to the ball too long at times.
But he also made some good throws and left his head coach
feeling pretty good about the former Clemson standout — though there’s a lot
of improvement needed.
“I asked [passing game coordinator Brian Schottenheimer]
how he played, and he said he did pretty good,” coach Urban Meyer said.
“I thought the ball to his left right in front of us, I think it was on
third down, he really anticipated a nice out cut, scrambled and delivered a
nice one to Marvin Jones.
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“He certainly wasn’t awestruck. We’ve got to execute
better. We’ve got to protect him better. And we’ve got to get all our wideouts
healthy and just play better.”
Lawrence went 6-for-9 and, per NFL NextGen Stats, completed 3-of-4 of those passes into tight windows, which equaled the best completion percentage on tight-window throws by a Jaguars quarterback in 2020.
The offense also was much more effective under Lawrence (74 yards) than under Gardner Minshew II, who threw for 47 yards and an interception and led the offense to 46 yards in three possessions.
“I feel like the first time out there, I felt
comfortable, felt poised,” Lawrence said. “Obviously, the first
play’s not kind of what you want for the first play, but after that, I thought
we did a good job. We communicated well up front. They did a really good job of
protection. At least one of those sacks was on me, for sure, just holding the
ball too long. That’s something I’ll work on. Just maneuvering in the pocket is
something I’ve always got to work on.
“Other than that, I missed an easy one to Marvin, a
little quick out I wish I would have hit. But other than that, I felt good out
there. I think we were seeing it, all on the same page. There’s obviously
things to clean up, but I thought it was a pretty good day.”
The biggest thing for Lawrence to clean up is getting rid of the ball quicker, which he did at times on quick throws to LaViska Shenault. Meyer stated he would need to look at the film to figure out why Lawrence was hesitant to get rid of the ball, but there were times when the signal-caller had to wait for receivers to get clear.
Lawrence accepted to having a bit of nerves, but he stated
those went away quickly, as he felt more comfortable on his second drive than
on his first.
“The first play you’re a little bit, especially first game here in the NFL, you’re a little bit nervous; but after that, you’re just playing ball,” Lawrence said. “Definitely felt that [comfort] setting in.
“I usually typically get nervous before the first game of any season anyway, so that’s pretty standard. I was excited. I was ready to get out there. It’s been a long time coming. It’s been my dream.”
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