JACKSONVILLE – The numbers are impressive. Really impressive.
But in the wake of a couple of the best performances in recent memory for the Jaguars' offensive line, starting right tackle Jawaan Taylor said what's just as important is this: This isn't the peak.
"There's definitely still work to be done," Taylor said.
Taylor spoke Monday a day after a 38-10 road victory over the Los Angeles Chargers. It was a day of impressive performances and impressive numbers for an improving team, but perhaps no performance or number from Sunday was as impressive as this:
No sacks. Two quarterback hits.
"It's just improved each week," Jaguars Head Coach Doug Pederson said of the line.
The Jaguars, after allowing two sacks and 10 hits in a Week 1 loss at Washington, indeed have improved the area dramatically in recent weeks. The unit allowed no sacks and two quarterback hits in a 24-0 Week 2 victory over Indianapolis, matching those numbers Sunday against the Chargers.
"These guys, they do a great job," Pederson said, with Taylor adding: "I feel like we've just been gelling together well, just trying to get better every week and keep doing great things and keep getting better."
Pederson on Monday lauded the group's communication, starting with rookie center Luke Fortner – a third-round selection in the 2022 NFL Draft who has started the first three games.
"They do a great job with that," Pederson said. "[Offensive line coach] Phil Rauscher has done a great job preparing these guys. We get to the point, too, where we just kind of scale back and do less. That way these guys get more reps and time on task with things and we're able to clean things up.
"That's what you're seeing now with the way they're playing. They're keeping the quarterback clean and still being effective in the run game."
The Jaguars through three games rank sixth in the NFL with 375.7 total yards per game and seventh at 28.5 points per game. Quarterback Trevor Lawrence, after completing 59.63 percent of his passes as a rookie in 2021, has completed 53 of 69 passes – 76.8 percent – for 497 yards and five touchdowns with no interceptions in the two-game winning streak.
Pederson asked the key to Lawrence's accuracy, replied: "Offensive line." Taylor said the performance of the last two weeks was a matter of achieving a weekly objective of protecting Lawrence.
"We take a lot of pride in that, and I feel like we had a great week of preparation, and we've got another great defense this week," he said. "We're just trying to have great weeks of preparation every week and just hone in on our technique and get better.
"I feel like we left some things out there on the field that we can get corrected, and we're just working on that and trying to get better each week."
- The Jaguars converted two of three fourth-down attempts Sunday, and have converted four of six such attempts over the last two games after failing on their lone fourth down in a Week 1 loss to Washington. "I don't necessarily have a percentage in mind," Pederson said. "I think it's more situationally and where we are in the game. If you're four out of six and you're in that range at the end of the year, that means you've done your job. You've stayed on the field. Most of the time, those drives end in points for us. I keep talking to this team about that. We're going to maintain aggressiveness both offensively and defensively. Our guys are excited about it."
- Pederson on returning to Philadelphia Sunday to coach against the Eagles, a team he led to a Super Bowl victory as head coach following the 2017 season: "My wife and I, our family … we have a lot of great memories back there. I'm looking forward to getting back there. I understand that city. I understand the passion for football, but now I'm on the other side." Pederson was asked what reception he expected from Eagles fans Sunday. "I don't know," he said, smiling. "It could be mixed. I've got to get this team ready. I'm not going to be concerned with that. You hope it's a good one, obviously, for the things you did there. But I also know that crowd. They can be a little hostile. I'm looking forward to that, too. Even when I was there and we were winning games or losing games, you're still getting booed. So it doesn't really matter."