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#pounditTuesday, January 18, 2022

Trevor Lawrence

Bill Belichick has notable praise for highly-touted rookie

Bill Belichick looks on from the sideline

Bill Belichick is not known for offering a lot of praise for players, particularly those on other teams. On Friday, the New England Patriots coach did offer a ringing endorsement to a rival rookie.

Belichick said Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence has improved throughout the season, and that the first overall pick has the chance to be “great.”

“I think he’s gotten more comfortable as the season’s gone on and gotten comfortable with the offense,” Belichick said, via Grant Gordon of NFL.com. “I’d say the offense has gotten comfortable with the things that he does best. Definitely, a good level of execution there. They did a good job last week against the Jets, mixing in different varieties of passes: quick throws, moving pocket throws, deep balls, third down conversions, red area plays. He’s pretty good at all of them and continues to get better. I think he’s had a good year and I think he’ll be a solid NFL player, maybe great. I don’t know, but he’s certainly made a lot of progress this year.”

Statistically, Lawrence definitely has room to grow. He has just nine touchdowns to 14 interceptions on the year, though he does not have a great amount of talent around him. The Jaguars certainly still believe in him judging from the role they’re planning to give him as they hunt for a new head coach. A Belichick endorsement certainly can’t hurt his stock either.

Photo: Oct 10, 2021; Houston, Texas, USA; New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick reacts during the second quarter against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Trevor Lawrence makes request for Jaguars’ coach search

Trevor Lawrence celebrates

The Jacksonville Jaguars are facing a particularly important head coaching search, and rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence is taking an interest in the process.

During the broadcast of Sunday’s game between the Houston Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars, broadcasters Andrew Catalon and James Lofton said on the air that Lawrence told them he would like to have a say in the hiring of the team’s next coach, via Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. Lawrence said he would like “some role” in the process of finding Urban Meyer’s replacement, though he acknowledged that he was not qualified to make any decisions.

Interestingly, owner Shad Khan apparently agreed with Lawrence and said his rookie quarterback deserved at least some input in the hiring process.

Some might suggest that Lawrence is too young and inexperienced to deserve any say in the Jaguars’ hiring process. However, there’s no doubt that he is their franchise quarterback. The team has staked its future on the development of the first overall pick, and it’s pretty much essential that they get this hire right if they want to maximize Lawrence’s potential.

Lawrence has already shown a willingness to speak out and lead, even if it means clashing with coaches. No wonder giving him input makes sense to Khan and the Jaguars.

Photo: Oct 10, 2021; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) gestures after scoring a touchdown during the second half against the Tennessee Titans at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports

Trevor Lawrence calls out Jaguars coaches over James Robinson benching

Trevor Lawrence celebrates

James Robinson has been one of the Jacksonville Jaguars’ best players over the past two seasons, but some recent issues with ball security have resulted in him being benched for extended periods. Trevor Lawrence clearly does not agree with the disciplinary action.

Lawrence voiced his support for Robinson on Wednesday and told reporters the running back needs to be on the field as much as possible. The rookie quarterback said he expressed his concerns to Jacksonville’s coaching staff.

“Bottom line is James is one of our best players and he’s got to be on the field and we addressed it, and I feel like we’re in a good spot and the whole team, we’re good,” Lawrence said, per ESPN’s Michael DiRocco. “Whatever may have happened, I honestly don’t even know everything that went into it.”

Lawrence added that he does not to meddle in coaching decisions during the game. He did, however, express his displeasure in Robinson not being on the field at times over the past two weeks.

Robinson sat for 20 consecutive plays after he fumbled against the Los Angeles Rams last weekend. He was benched for 16 straight plays when he lost a fumble against the Atlanta Falcons the week before. Carlos Hyde also fumbled against L.A., but he was back on the field on Jacksonville’s next drive.

Urban Meyer said he doesn’t micromanage the decisions of his assistant coaches during games but that he will become more involved going forward. The head coach seemed to agree with benching Robinson, though.

“If you lay the ball on the ground and you come out for a few plays, and then it’s up to the position coach and whatever to put you back in whenever that’s time,” Meyer said. “And that’s not (just) James. That’s whomever. When the ball goes on the ground, you come (out).”

Robinson has averaged 4.6 yards per carry through his first two NFL seasons. He rushed for over 1,000 yards last season and has 678 this year. He has also scored seven rushing touchdowns this year, which matches his total from 2020.

You can understand why Lawrence wants Robinson on the field, but it’s somewhat surprising that a rookie quarterback publicly criticized his coaching staff on behalf of a teammate. That’s not going to do anything to change the perception that Meyer has had some locker room issues in his first season with the Jags.

Photo: Oct 10, 2021; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) gestures after scoring a touchdown during the second half against the Tennessee Titans at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports

Watch: Trevor Lawrence appeared to twist Jalen Ramsey’s ankle

Trevor Lawrence tackles Jalen Ramsey

Trevor Lawrence had to make a tackle early in the Jacksonville Jaguars’ game against the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday, and he may have gotten a bit carried away while doing so.

Jaguars running back James Robinson fumbled early in the first quarter. Jalen Ramsey scooped the ball up and began running the other way, but Lawrence was able to stop him. While tackling Ramsey, Lawrence appeared to gator roll and twist Ramsey’s ankle. You can see the play below:

Another angle shows Ramsey slamming Lawrence’s head toward the ground, but he was obviously reacting to the way Lawrence tackled him.

It’s unclear if Lawrence actually twisted Ramsey’s ankle, but he definitely appeared to give an extra roll after bringing the Pro Bowl cornerback to the ground. We all know what happened the last time a rookie quarterback grabbed someone by the ankle. Don’t be surprised if Lawrence has to answer some questions about the tackle.

Jaguars coaches reportedly at odds over Trevor Lawrence

Trevor Lawrence celebrates

The Jacksonville Jaguars had hoped Trevor Lawrence would experience fewer growing pains in his first NFL season. The rookie’s struggles may lead to some significant changes within the organization when the year ends.

There has been disagreement among Jacksonville’s coaching staff over what offense Lawrence should be running, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reports. With Lawrence struggling to read defenses, Urban Meyer and some on his staff believe the No. 1 overall pick could benefit from the Jaguars implementing more run-pass option plays like the ones Lawrence ran at Clemson. Others feel that approach would come with a significant risk of injury.

Sources told La Canfora that frustration has been mounting between Meyer and his staff since the offseason. Meyer has supposedly expressed his displeasure with some of his assistants in front of players. Changes are expected, and it’s possible quarterbacks coach Brian Schottenheimer could be shown the door as a result of Lawrence’s struggles.

Lawrence has thrown eight touchdowns all year compared to nine interceptions. He completed just 16 of 35 passes for 162 yards in last week’s 23-17 loss to the Indianapolis Colts.

Meyer has set some ridiculously high expectations for the Jaguars this season. He doesn’t want to hear anyone using a new system or a rookie QB as an excuse, but the team is clearly struggling with that. Time will tell if coaching changes help resolve some of the issues.

Photo: Oct 10, 2021; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) gestures after scoring a touchdown during the second half against the Tennessee Titans at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports

Trevor Lawrence suffers apparent ankle injury against Bills

Trevor Lawrence hurts his ankle

Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence suffered an apparent ankle injury during Sunday’s game against the Buffalo Bills.

Lawrence had his right lower leg area inadvertently stepped on by a teammate just after he threw a pass late in the first half. He initially looked like he would be able to stand up, but the training staff came out after he remained down. You can see a video of the play below:

Lawrence was helped off the field and taken straight to the locker room. He was replaced by CJ Beathard.

The Jaguars and Bills were tied 6-6 at the time Lawrence left the game. He had played well to that point, completing 11 of 15 passes for 80 yards.

Watch: Trevor Lawrence made bold claim about Dolphins on sideline

Trevor Lawrence celebrates

The Jacksonville Jaguars entered Sunday’s game against the Miami Dolphins with zero wins in five games, but it would appear that Trevor Lawrence’s confidence remains intact.

The Jaguars moved the ball with relative ease on their first offensive drive in London. They probably would have scored a touchdown had it not been for a brutal dropped pass on 3rd down at the Miami 22-yard line. After they settled for a field goal, Lawrence was shown on the sideline telling teammates and coaches “they can’t stop us.”

Here’s the video:

Not surprisingly, Lawrence was proven wrong almost immediately. The Jaguars went three-and-out on their next two offensive possessions.

It’s good to see the optimism from Lawrence, but Jags fans aren’t going to care until their team gets into the win column. If defenses truly couldn’t stop Jacksonville, perhaps the insane goal Urban Meyer set for the offense wouldn’t be quite as laughable.

Photo: Oct 10, 2021; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) gestures after scoring a touchdown during the second half against the Tennessee Titans at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports

Trevor Lawrence disputes Urban Meyer about key QB sneak call

Trevor Lawrence

Jacksonville Jaguars coach Urban Meyer and quarterback Trevor Lawrence were not seeing eye-to-eye on a key playcall after Sunday’s loss.

The Jaguars were trailing 31-19 against the Tennessee Titans with about ten minutes to go in the fourth quarter and faced a key moment. They were facing a 4th and goal on the Titans’ 1-yard line, and set themselves up to go for it knowing a touchdown would make it a one-score game.

Instead of using Lawrence on a quarterback sneak, the Jaguars handed off to Carlos Hyde, who was stuffed for a three yard loss.

Meyer was asked after the game why the Jaguars didn’t opt to use Lawrence on a sneak at that point. Curiously, the coach said Lawrence wasn’t comfortable enough with the play, and the team had not done enough practice with it.

That explanation sounded curious to say the least. When the question was put to Lawrence, the quarterback admitted he hadn’t run it in an NFL game yet, but he was perfectly comfortable doing it.

It’s not a particularly good look for Meyer. A quarterback sneak is a pretty basic play, and if he really thinks the team isn’t capable of executing it in a game, it says he’s the one who hasn’t adequately prepared them. The fact that his franchise quarterback is willing to publicly dispute him isn’t good either.

It’s a fair question how much control Meyer has over his team right now in light of the controversy he sparked last week. This might provide further evidence that reports like this one have some truth to them.

Trevor Lawrence’s Week 1 loss breaks amazing personal streak

Trevor Lawrence

Trevor Lawrence has been a huge success everywhere he’s gone in his football career. So successful, in fact, that his NFL debut marked the end of an incredible personal streak.

Coming into Sunday’s regular season opener, Lawrence had never lost a regular season game at the high school or college levels. All of his previous defeats came in playoff games. That streak of 68 consecutive regular season wins was broken with Jacksonville’s 37-21 loss to the Houston Texans.

The Jaguars were never going to go 17-0, so this streak was always going to end. It’s still pretty remarkable that it lasted as long as it did, and it speaks to the consistent success Lawrence has achieved through his entire career.

Lawrence completed 28 of 51 passes for 332 yards with three touchdowns and three interceptions. He wasn’t bad, but he needs improvement, as expected. It caps off a week that he probably won’t remember fondly when all is said and done.

Trevor Lawrence rocks Georgia colors after losing bet with teammate

Trevor Lawrence Georgia colors

Clemson got its first taste of life without Trevor Lawrence on Saturday night, and the result was not pretty. Lawrence may no longer be with the team, but there were still consequences for him after his alma mater lost to Georgia.

Lawrence and Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Terry Godwin made a friendly bet before the Georgia-Clemson game. The deal was that Lawrence would wear Georgia colors if the Bulldogs won and Godwin, a Georgia alum, would wear Clemson colors if the Tigers won. Georgia pulled out a 10-3 victory.

On Monday, Lawrence paid up.

That type of bet is very common among NFL players and coaches. If you remember, New York Giants head coach Joe Judge was forced to humiliate himself after losing a similar bet with Evan Engram last year (video here). Lawrence might be hesitant to bet on his Tigers going forward.