NEW ORLEANS, La. – Trevor Lawrence assessed his second NFL preseason game as follows.
There were improvements made. And more are needed.
"We've got to click a little bit more," the Jaguars' rookie quarterback said following a 23-21 loss to the New Orleans Saints in a Preseason Week 2 game Monday at the Louisiana Casers Superdome.
"We've still got some work to do."
Head Coach Urban Meyer agreed, saying that the Jaguars' first-team offense struggled to find a rhythm for a second consecutive week. Meyer also said he felt Lawrence improved as the game continued Monday night.
Lawrence, the No. 1 overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft, completed 14 of 23 passes for 113 yards and no touchdowns with no interceptions. He completed nine of 14 passes for 86 yards on the final two of his six series, leading the Jaguars into the red zone on both possessions.
"I thought he got a little better and I thought we protected him a little bit better," Meyer said, with Lawrence adding: "The first two series weren't great. We have to do a better job of consistently moving the ball. I thought we improved as the game went on, which was good to see. We just have to get better."
The Jaguars' first-team offense produced just 30 yards and one first down on the first four drives, then drove 53 yards for a 34-yard field goal by kicker Josh Lambo on the fifth drive. They drove 50 yards to Saints 16 on the final drive of the half before Lambo missed off the right upright from 43 yards.
"We should score touchdowns on at least one of those drives," Lawrence said. "We have to do better finishing there. That's kind of a different game if we score on those drives."
Meyer said the plan entering the game was to establish the run and get into the play-action passing game to get Lawrence comfortable.
"That was the plan," Meyer said. "We just didn't execute."
Lawrence, who said he held the ball too long at times in a Preseason Week 1 loss to the Cleveland Browns, said he felt he improved in that area against New Orleans. He also said the area must continue to improve.
"I've got to get a little better at getting the ball out, taking completions and staying out of second and long and third and long," Lawrence said. "It makes it really hard for Coach Bev (offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell). It's hard to convert all those third and longs. That's staying ahead of the chains."
Lawrence also said he felt he did a better job making "plays with my legs" Monday, adding that that was an area he wanted to emphasize entering the game.
"I got out of the pocket a couple of times, so that was an improvement," he said. "Overall, as an offense and as a team, we've got a lot of work to do. But I think we're heading in the right direction, for sure."
The Jaguars' run defense showed up for the second consecutive week, holding the Saints to just 63 yards – and 28 of those came on just three carries. It's an encouraging sign for a defense that struggled mightily last season allowing 4.7 yards per carry and 153 yards per game on the ground. Meyer called the run defense: "Solid again." He added: "Our defense is built to stop the run. We just have to make sure we have those corners ready to make plays in man coverage."
The offensive line didn't show as well as their defensive counterparts. Part of that was the absence of starting left tackle Cam Robinson (ankle), starting left guard Andrew Norwell (elbow) and starting center Brandon Linder (knee). Part of it was an aggressive and talented Saints defensive front. The Jaguars couldn't get the ground game going and managed 45 yards on 2.3 yards per carry, which put a lot more on Lawrence than Meyer would have liked. "The New Orleans Saints defense controlled the line of scrimmage," Meyer said. "We have to get our offensive line back and playing better. We have to run the ball."
Lawrence: "I felt like I could get [the ball] out quicker. Finding my back, checking it down, don't force stuff down field, just take what they are giving me… it's a long game."
Lawrence on taking a hard hit while scrambling for a nine-yard first down on a 3rd-and-7 play in the second quarter: "It was third down. That is the only reason I did not slide. I thought about it … third and fourth down you have to go get it."
Meyer on rookie Walker Little, who started at left tackle for the injured Robinson: "I think he has a great future in the NFL. The first game his hands were extremely low, and he worked very hard on it all week at practice."
Jaguars safety Rayshawn Jenkins: "My thing is in the preseason I'm looking more for warriors, those dogs I need to have on my team. In the preseason you know there's not a lot of plays being called, you got so many guys in, and you don't know who's there and who is not so it's just a feeling out process right now. I mean it's a huge difference between now and the regular season, a huge difference. We still got some work to do but at the end of the day we still trying to fit in those missing pieces right now. Preseason is the perfect time to do that, we've even got a lot of our guys pulled back, I think I played like two series tonight I didn't even get into a groove but it's okay I understand what it's for it's for those young guys to put film out not just for the Jaguars but those other 31 teams. That's how I look at preseason."