JACKSONVILLE – Improvement remains critical.
That's true for the Jaguars overall. And for the offense specifically. And if the improvement must begin with further development from quarterback Trevor Lawrence, Press Taylor said there's a positive on that front.
That's that Lawrence is willing to do what's necessary to improve.
"That's the one thing about Trevor: His maturity level is off the charts," Taylor said this week as the Jaguars began 2023 organized team activities at TIAA Bank Field.
Taylor is entering his second season as the Jaguars' offensive coordinator, his second season working with Lawrence – the No. 1 overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft. Head Coach Doug Pederson has talked often of Lawrence taking a significant jump in 2023, his second season in Pederson's offensive system – and Taylor on Monday said Lawrence has been "very receptive" this offseason.
"You're able to sit down and say, 'Here's what we see, here's what we need to improve on,'" Taylor said of Lawrence, who passed for 25 touchdowns with eight interceptions in 2022 after throwing 12 touchdowns with 17 interceptions as a rookie in 2021.
Taylor said such conversations rarely hold surprises.
"He generally has the same notes, for the most part,'' Taylor said. "We'll ask, 'What are your thoughts?' And he kind of says the same thing we're tracking. That's very encouraging for us as a coaching staff to kind of already see the same things, and to want to improve on the same things, whether that's fundamentals with him or schematics in terms of a whole offense."
Pederson throughout the Jaguars' AFC South Championship 2022 season and into this offseason has talked not only of Lawrence's possible improvement, but of the chance for the offense overall to improve – not only because of the addition of players such as veteran wide receiver Calvin Ridley, but because players could be more familiar with one another and more comfortable in a second season in the offense.
"With all our guys, the biggest thing is they're not hearing something for the first time," Taylor said. "Now we install something or talk about a concept or get into detail, the questions they're asking are much further beyond what they're asking last year. It kind of gets into the specifics of the defenses.
"Now we do this and you have a little bit deeper level of conversation from that, especially with the quarterbacks, which is always the goal – to be on the same page with those guys. It's been fun to see all our guys take the next step in the system."
And while much of the discussion about continuity has focused on players and scheme, Pederson on Monday said having a coaching staff return largely intact also matters.
"It's important," Pederson said. "I think it's huge. In going from 2016 to 2017 [entering his second season as the Philadelphia Eagles' head coach], I blocked a couple coaches from leaving … so there was a continuity in Year Two.
"Times have changed obviously from then, but having the same guys speaking the same language around the team and their position groups is huge in this second year. It goes back to the trust factor that the players have in coaches and coaches ultimately having in players."
- Pederson and Taylor on Monday both praised wide receiver Calvin Ridley, who has been with the team throughout the offseason program. "I've been impressed with him," Pederson said of Ridley, who was acquired from the Atlanta Falcons in a November trade. Ridley hasn't played since October 2021, missing the 2022 season while serving an NFL suspension for violating the league's gambling policy. "He's been here," Pederson said. "He's been focused, engaged, doing the things we asked him to do. It's just being on the same page with Trevor. He has done a great job in the classroom and he has been able to take that out to the field. We just want to see that continue to develop." Added Taylor, "I've really impressed with Calvin. I've watched every snap Calvin's played in the NFL just like a lot of our guys have. We were very confident in the player we're getting. The work he's put in this offseason has been impressive in terms of meetings, the extra work he does. You can tell he is doing it because he comes in the next day, he's got his list of questions that are very thought out. You can tell he's peeked ahead of the install for us just looking a couple days ahead as we go on."
- Pederson: "Last year's done, and it's in the rearview mirror. We're still trying to establish another team this year and putting all those pieces together. We have the amount of guys we have here because they understand the type of work we do goes a long way. As you get into December and January, that's where the trust and camaraderie come into play. We're building that foundation. Every year's a different year."
View top photos from the Jaguars first day of OTAs, which took place at TIAA Bank Field.