JACKSONVILLE – Senior writer John Oehser examines Head Coach Doug Pederson's press conference following the Jaguars' 13-6 loss to the Houston Texans in a 2022 Week 5 game at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville…
- Pederson has faith. Trevor Lawrence struggled big in spots Sunday. But while that was true of the Jaguars' second-year quarterback, Pederson strongly supported the No. 1 overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft. "He is going to get better," Pederson said. "I'm not worried about that at all. We have a lot of faith and trust in him, and he can definitely do the job. We've seen it this season. We just have to keep working on him." Lawrence, who committed five turnovers – four lost fumbles and an interception – in a loss to the Philadelphia Eagles last week, completed 25 of 47 passes for 286 yards and no touchdowns Sunday and had six completions of 20 yards or more. He also threw two interceptions, including one in the red zone to end the first drive of the second half with the game tied 6-6. "We as a staff have to figure out a way to kind of get him settled into the game, No. 1," Pederson said. "The thing is he sees everything. He sees the field well. We just have to continue to keep throwing and keep putting him in situations like that."
- Strong day for D. The Jaguars' defense, one week after allowing 210 yards rushing to the Eagles, improved dramatically Sunday. While rookie running back Dameon Pierce rushed for 99 yards and a touchdown, it took 26 carries to reach that total. The Jaguars held the Texans to 248 yards and one drive of more than 50 yards – a 12-play, 74-yard possession that ended with Pierce's game-winning one-yard touchdown run with 3:11 remaining. "I thought they played well," Pederson said of the defense. "That long drive they [the Texans] had, there were some missed tackles on that one, but I thought overall it obviously kept us in the football game and did some nice things. These guys battle. They play hard. They're physical. It's a physical group. They cleaned up some of the mistakes from a week ago, but we still have some work to do. We have to get some stuff corrected."
- Mistakes are hurting. Much of Pederson's post-game availability focused on mistakes, particularly Lawrence's interception in the end zone early in the third quarter and an unnecessary roughness penalty on rookie outside linebacker Travon Walker in the fourth quarter. Lawrence's interception came on 2nd-and-1 from the Texans 7 and ended the Jaguars' best touchdown opportunity while Walker's penalty came on 3rd-and-20 from the Texans 47 and extended the Texans' only touchdown drive. "Those are unacceptable plays that come up," Pederson said. "I keep telling the guys that a game usually comes down to three to five plays. You just never know which ones are going to be those plays. Those are hard to overcome. Again, they're all valuable lessons for us as a staff to teach and correct."
- What he thought they were. Pederson throughout the week repeatedly said the Texans were better than their 0-3-1 record entering the game, noting that Houston had led, been tied or been close in the fourth quarter of all four games. He reiterated the point Sunday evening, saying of Texans Head Coach Lovie Smith: "He has his guys flying around. That's what I saw on tape all week. This is a team that plays extremely hard. A lot like our guys, they play extremely hard. They were pretty much in every football game with chances to win. This is a good football team that came in here. I still believe we're a good football team. It just comes down to execution and just understanding where you need to be on any given play."
- Confidence remains high. Pederson made clear that the team remained confident throughout Sunday's game – and that he believes that will remain the case moving forward. Pederson said the team's belief Sunday didn't wane after Lawrence's end-zone interception. "We know we can't do that, but there was no waiver," he said "Our guys were confident. They felt good even going back out on the field. It could take a little bit [of momentum] out, but for the most part, our guys did a nice job of staying in there and staying together and sort of rebounding after that." The Jaguars, after one-sided victories over Indianapolis and the Los Angeles Chargers in Weeks 2 and 3, have lost back-to-back games to the Eagles and Texans. They have had possession in the final two minutes of all three of their losses this season with a chance to take the lead or two. "You just go back to work," Pederson said. "You entrust these guys with a lot. We ask a lot of them. You just keep working. You keep putting them in these situations, and they're going to learn. We're all going to learn together, and we'll be stronger and better for it."