JACKSONVILLE – Ten days in, Brian Schottenheimer likes a few things.
One thing is the early development of quarterback Trevor Lawrence – and the Jaguars' veteran passing-game coordinator on Saturday said he is confident the rookie is learning and absorbing the offense as expected.
As far as that offense goes …
That's another thing Schottenheimer likes.
"We're going to be difficult for people to defend," Schottenheimer said Saturday during his first media availability of 2021 Training Camp.
Schottenheimer, a veteran of 12 seasons as an NFL offensive coordinator, on Saturday discussed the Jaguars' offense and Lawrence extensively. He focused on the versatility of an offensive scheme coordinated by 14-year coordinator Darrell Bevell with heavy influence from Head Coach Urban Meyer and Schottenheimer.
"There's going to be multiple sets, multiple personnel groupings," Schottenheimer said. "You see us spreading people out. You see us getting up to center. Sometimes that takes a little while – to get guys up to speed, but they picked it up really well today. It was a good crisp practice today."
Lawrence, the No. 1 overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft, has split repetitions with the starters with veteran Gardner Minshew II throughout '21 camp. Schottenheimer on Saturday said Lawrence's learning of the offense and ability to translate what he has learned to the field continues to be a process.
"He's doing really good," Schottenheimer said, adding that there has been good and bad for the rookie in the last day or two. "He's quick with questions. He's going to text you at 9:45 or 10 o'clock (p.m.) with questions, so you know he's working at it all the time.
"He's progressing nicely. There are going to be interceptions. He has thrown those. That's going to happen. Now, if he keeps repeating those mistakes that's when you know he's not listening and he's not listening and not making corrections. But he's not repeating those same mistakes. That's when you get excited."
Schottenheimer said the "process" with Lawrence is as much about off the field as on it.
"We've been talking not just about football, but about routine," Schottenheimer said. "'OK, what do you during the week of a regular season game? What if it's a night game? What if it's a Thursday game?' There are many things that go into playing quarterback. He's ahead of the schedule with that, but it's not just Xs and Os with these guys; it's also about bringing them along and managing your time."
Schottenheimer also praised Lawrence's college teammate, rookie running back Travis Etienne, citing his ability to contribute as a receiver – and to the offense overall. Etienne, the No. 25 overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft, is expected to contribute as a running back and wide receiver as a rookie.
"He's a matchup problem," Schottenheimer said. "He has the ability to run routes like a receiver. His lower-body strength is unbelievable, so when you get in the ball in space he's able to create."
But Schottenheimer said a play Saturday showed why Etienne finished his career as the all-time leading career rusher in Atlantic Coast Conference history.
"The guy's a tremendous runner as well – his vision, his speed, the ability to capture the edge," Schottenheimer said. "We were coming out, backed up. He put his foot in the ground and swung from left to right. It was awesome. He's certainly not just a receiver. He's certainly not just a running back.
"He can do so many cool things, which again – going back – is a multiple factor people have to deal with."
Schottenheimer said the staff has not yet determined who will start at quarterback against the Cleveland Browns Saturday in the 2021 preseason opener at TIAA Bank Field. "We don't know," Schottenheimer said. "We're just going to keep rolling them. We'll get through tomorrow (a scrimmage at TIAA Bank Field), get through to next week and we'll see. It's all about competition. It's been fun to watch those guys push each other. Trevor has certainly played a bunch of football. He's not going to be perfect, whether he goes in with the ones or the twos. Whoever goes in and starts won't be perfect. That's what the preseason's for – to go out there, perform on the big stage and make mistakes and let us correct them."
Schottenheimer on Saturday praised not only veteran wide receiver and former first-round selection Laquon Treadwell but also veteran wide receiver Pharoh Cooper. "They've been around camps," Schottenheimer said. "They know how to prepare and know how to take care of their bodies. Both of those guys have had a really good camp so far."