JACKSONVILLE – Darrell Bevell worries not a bit.
When it comes to rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence's short- and long-term development, Bevell – the Jaguars' offensive coordinator – made that much clear Thursday.
"Trevor Lawrence is going to be fine," Bevell said as the Jaguars (0-2) prepared to play the Arizona Cardinals (2-0) at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville Sunday at 1 p.m. "We just need to continue to: one, to get better around him; and to continue to get better at his position as well."
Bevell spoke to the media Thursday, as did defensive coordinator Joe Cullen and special-teams coordinator Nick Sorensen. Bevell addressed multiple topics, including balance on offense and the continuing development of Lawrence – the No. 1 overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft.
"From Game 1 to Game 2, maybe not from everybody's perspective – or numbers or any of that – there were improvements he made and things we're excited about," Bevell said of Lawrence, who completed 14 of 32 passes for 118 yards and a touchdown with two interceptions in a 23-13 loss to the Denver Broncos this past Sunday. "It was a better game overall for him just in terms of some of the things he did, he did make improvements."
Lawrence through two games has completed 50 percent of his passes – and while Head Coach Urban Meyer said there is validity to thinking Lawrence could check down to receivers more, Bevell said it's equally important that Lawrence continues to look downfield.
"I don't want to take away what's inside these guys," Bevell said. "We're not asking him to not play the way he wants to play. But there are things he can improve on. We can get to our check downs quicker, though progressions quicker. The more he sees defenses, he'll start doing that.
"It's a feel. When you get a more natural feel and let the game come and you get that comfort level, all of that stuff starts to open up. I saw that happening last week."
Bevell addressed offensive balance through two games, reiterating what he said last week – that game situations have contributed to the offense passing more than running. The Jaguars through two games have thrown 84 passes and run on 32 plays. "Situationally has a lot to do with it," he said. "One game (the regular-season opener at Houston), we had a lot of penalties and [difficult] down-and-distance situations. I'm going to stand up here all the time and tell you, 'That's the goal, is to be balanced.' That puts more pressure on the defense when you can do that." Bevell also said the defensive design and personal on a specific play often dictates whether the Jaguars run or throw on that play. "Sometimes one's called and the other happens depending on what is presented to us," he said. "That is always the issue when you run some of those plays – that you don't end up with the numbers [on defense] that you're looking for." Bevell also said a lack of offensive plays contributed to the ratio last week, with the Jaguars running just 50 plays – with 16 runs. "We need more plays," Bevell said. "That's on us as well. We have to do a better job on first and second down. We have to convert on third down to be able to get more plays. There were too many three-and-outs, so there's no plays. That would really help us."
As Meyer did early this week, Sorensen on Thursday expressed confidence in Josh Lambo after the kicker missed all three of his field goal attempts – from 55, 52 and 48 yards – in the first two games: "He's very diligent in his he works and how he practices. He has to carry it over and I think he will. He's going to win some games for us. I believe that." Lambo made 76 of 80 field goals for the Jaguars from 2017-2020.
Cullen on Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray: "He's a fast cat. You would like to have all eyes on him. He can beat you with his arm and his legs. He extends plays so well. You think you have him pinned on his throwing hand, he spins out opposite and all of a sudden someone (a receiver) spins out of the coverage and he always hits the guy. He throws some up to, but it's going to be a battle every snap."
Center Brandon Linder returned to practice on a limited basis Thursday after missing Wednesday with a back injury – and defensive tackle Jay Tufele returned on a limited basis after missing practice Wednesday with an illness. Cornerback Tre Herndon (knee) and defensive lineman Roy Robertson-Harris (ankle) practiced limited for a second consecutive day while right guard A.J. Cann (hamstring) and defensive end/outside linebacker Jordan Smith (knee) practiced full after practicing limited Wednesday. Cornerback CJ Henderson (groin/illness) missed practice Thursday with defensive end/outside linebacker Lerentee McCray (hamstring) and wide receiver Laviska Shenault Jr. (shoulder) practicing full for a second consecutive day. Veteran wide receiver Marvin Jones Jr. missed practice Thursday with a rest day.
WEEK 3 · Sun 09/26 · 1:00 PM EDT