JACKSONVILLE – The competition continues.
Rookie Trevor Lawrence and veteran Gardner Minshew II both will play quarterback for the Jaguars against the Cleveland Browns in the 2021 preseason opener at TIAA Bank Field Saturday at 7 p.m., Head Coach Urban Meyer said Thursday morning.
Meyer said the starter – and likely game repetitions – will be decided Thursday night.
"We'll finalize that tonight, but they'll both play," Meyer said Thursday before Day 13 Jaguars 2021 Training Camp practice at the Dream Finders Homes Practice Complex. "We just want to make sure we protect both quarterbacks, but they'll both play."
Meyer, as he has done throughout the offseason and training camp, said he will rely heavily on offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and passing-game coordinator Brian Schottenheimer with quarterback decisions. The pair have a combined 26 years coordinating NFL offense whereas Meyer – one of the most successful college coaches of all-time – is in his first season as an NFL head coach.
"They both have a lot of experience with young quarterbacks; that's why I hired them," Meyer said.
Meyer said Thursday the quarterback competition remains very much open, with both Minshew and Lawrence having a chance to start the regular-season opener at Houston September 12.
"I think we'll answer that as we get closer," Meyer said.
Asked if the competition remained open, Meyer said: "Yes."
The Jaguars selected Lawrence No. 1 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft, and Meyer on Thursday agreed with what Bevell told reporters Wednesday – that the rookie has improved steadily during camp and has shown increased production and grasp of the offense during the past week.
"He's had really good days," Meyer said. "He's doing really well."
Meyer during Thursday's availability praised Minshew, who has started 20 games for the Jaguars over the last two seasons since the franchise selected him in Round 6 of the 2019 NFL Draft.
"He has earned my respect; I love that guy," Meyer said of Minshew. "He's a warrior, a competitor. He's a fighter. I just have great respect for Minshew. He brings it every day – every day."
Meyer said repetitions Saturday in some cases will be decided on a player-by-player basis.
"We don't have that finalized yet," he said. "I'm learning and listening. You have a guy like [center Brandon] Linder, who's an eight-nine-year veteran. He may come out a little earlier than a guy who's a starter who needs more reps. Instead of saying 'first team,' it's more of an individual basis."
Meyer said he overall on Saturday he wants "a clean game, taking care of the football, hustling on and off the field."
"I just met with all the units on the team," Meyer said. "To be fair, what's the expectation? The expectation is I want a clean game. We've spent an inordinate amount of time on the fundamentals of the game, and I expect a winner mentality. The reality is there are people across from you trying to take your job. Some of these guys are in survival mode. I respect that.
"Every play is going to be graded. You either win the rep or you lose the rep. I'm hoping you see a real competitive group Saturday."