JACKSONVILLE – Another week, another lesson.
For Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence, it's also another opportunity to develop.
Lawrence this week discussed his focus moving forward, and what he must learn from two consecutive difficult Sundays that followed the best two Sundays of his professional career.
"Just don't make a bad play worse," Lawrence said. "As a quarterback, you're going to make some mistakes. If we didn't get the look we necessarily thought we were going to have or the first two guys aren't open, don't make a bad play worse. Throw the ball away, scramble for no gain, a yard or two, whatever it is, and move onto the next play.
"That's the lesson to learn."
Lawrence, the No. 1 overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft, has been a major topic this week as the Jaguars (2-3) prepared to play the Indianapolis Colts (2-2-1) at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis Sunday at 1 p.m.
Lawrence, after being named AFC Offensive Player of the Week after a three-touchdown-pass performance in a 38-10 Week 3 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers, committed seven turnovers in the last two games. The Jaguars lost both games – 29-21 to the unbeaten Philadelphia Eagles in Week 4 and 13-6 to the previously winless Houston Texans in Week 5 this past Sunday.
"I do strongly feel he's going to be good in this league," Head Coach Doug Pederson said Wednesday, and offensive coordinator Press Taylor – speaking to the media Thursday – agreed.
"That's two games in a 17-game season that he – and the offense – hasn't performed as we expect to perform," Taylor said. "It's not Trevor alone. We all struggled as a unit. The last two weeks we haven't played to the standard we set for ourselves as an offense.
"That's Trevor as well as a lot of other people, coaches included. We have not met that standard. We all take responsibility for that."
Lawrence in the last two weeks has completed 36 of 70 passes for 460 yards and two touchdowns. He lost four fumbles against the Eagles and threw a red-zone interception with the Jaguars trailing 20-14 in the third quarter. He threw two interceptions against the Texans, including an end-zone interception with the score tied 6-6 in the third quarter.
"Being a great player is making all the routine plays, even the great plays, but it's also, how do I minimize the bad plays?" Lawrence said. "Maybe I misread something, but it doesn't turn into an interception, it's just an incompletion. You throw it away. The great ones, that's what they do really well. They don't make bad plays worse, and they really minimize them."
Pederson, a 13-year NFL coaching veteran who played quarterback 13 seasons in the NFL, has talked often since joining the Jaguars in February about the need for consistency around a young quarterback –and about a young quarterback needing time in a new offensive system.
He revisited the topic speaking to the media this week, also discussing the difficulty of balancing time to develop with an urgency to improve and win.
"There has to be patience with that," Pederson said. "You can't wait too long, but at the same time it's our job as coaches to make sure he's improving every week and pointing out the good and the bad. That's just how you grow. It's how you learn.
"I know Trevor's young. He's learning this game. One thing I appreciate about Trevor is his work ethic – how much he wants to improve and get better and help this team win. I also want him to understand he doesn't have to do it himself, that there's 10 other guys out there – and then obviously the coaches – to put him in position to be successful."
Pederson on Wednesday recalled learning the Green Bay Packers' system as a backup quarterback in the mid-1990s.
"It was vanilla and basic compared to what we're teaching today, and we always said, 'Three years,''' Pederson said. "We always said, 'That's the benchmark,' but I don't think you have three years. I think you have to get your players ready to go now. There has to be some improvement and you can't just put it one player. It takes all three phases to win games.
"You have to look at the whole picture, what we're trying to do and what we're trying to get accomplished. We have a young quarterback who's learning and growing."
Pederson also said he believes Lawrence's eventually growth will be "sustainable."
"That's why I'm here," he said. "It's why Press is here. It's why [quarterbacks coach] Mike [McCoy] is here. So we can get him heading in that direction. When you have that kind of turnover, you're learning a new language every single year. It's hard to get consistency, and that's what we're trying to get to – with the whole offense and really the whole team."