JACKSONVILLE – Quarterback remains Topic No. 1 around the Jaguars.
In that vein, the Jaguars' play-caller in recent weeks remains convinced the Jaguars have the right player in the position – and that rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence's future is bright.
"I have no question that Trevor's going to be a terrific player," Jaguars passing-game coordinator Brian Schottenheimer said Thursday, adding: "He definitely has the right makeup."
Schottenheimer, speaking as the Jaguars (2-14) prepared to play the Indianapolis Colts (9-7) at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville Sunday at 1 p.m. in the Jaguars' 2021 regular season finale, covered multiple topics meeting with the media via videoconference Thursday. Among them:
What has gone wrong with an offense that ranks last in the NFL in points this season. The Jaguars after scoring 19.3 points a game in the first six games, have averaged over 11.1 in 10 games since.
"You can't point it to one thing," said Schottenheimer, who has handled play-calling duties in the last two weeks and will do so again Sunday. "Ultimately, it comes down to all of us collectively – coaches and players alike – calling games, making adjustments, having the players prepared, the players executing the calls. It's bigger than one thing."
Lawrence, the No. 1 overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft, has started all 16 games this season. He has struggled over the last eight games, throwing two touchdowns and eight interceptions. Lawrence has 17 interceptions this season, including three in a loss to the New England Patriots this past Sunday.
"No. 1, you can't turn the football over," Schottenheimer said Thursday when asked the single area where Lawrence must improve most. "Like I told him last week after the New England game, 'The great quarterbacks don't throw multiple interceptions in a game.' He has to protect the football. That's what the great quarterbacks do. He understands that. He had been taking care of it in terms of the passing game much better the last few weeks."
"The No. 1 thing I would say is taking care of the football better." Schottenheimer said that means Lawrence understanding "how to manage the play" when receivers are covered.
"Defenses in this league are good," Schottenheimer said. "There are going to be times when they're going to cover everybody. What's his response? All those tidbits he's learning will help him to improve that and make very quick strides in his progression over the next couple of years of his career."
Lawrence on Wednesday joked that the drama of the Jaguars' 2021 season perhaps had prepared him for whatever might be in his NFL future. Schottenheimer said how Lawrence has handled what by any measure has been a difficult season indeed will serve him well.
"It's a hard game anyway," Schottenheimer said. "It's a humbling game anyway. He has been challenged. We've all been challenged. We know that. The things he has been tasked to do has been a lot on top of playing and preparing. He has handled then all really well, which gives you confidence, which gives this organization confidence they have the right guy."
"I keep saying it, but the guy is going to be a great player. I think we'll all look back in three-to-five years and say, 'Who would have thought in Year One he's doing what he's doing now?' He has the right stuff to bounce back from this and he'll do that."
With Head Coach Urban Meyer having been dismissed December 16, and with the Jaguars interviewing replacements as Sunday's regular-season finale approaches, defensive coordinator Joe Cullen on Thursday was asked about his desire to remain on staff if asked. "I love Jacksonville," said Cullen, who served as the Jaguars' defensive line coach from 2010-2012. "Obviously, I love Jacksonville. It's a great place, a special place in my heart. The chips fall where they fall; I'll leave it at that. Obviously, we had some really good moments this year. In the middle of the year, we were doing a great job. Unfortunately, in the last couple of games we kind of fell off. We're not going to give COVID as an excuse. Our job is to stop people. We didn't do it in [a 50-10 loss to] New England. We're going to put our best foot forward and do it here."
More Schottenheimer on Lawrence: "This season hasn't gone the way any of us wanted. There are things he's learning each and every day, and there are things he's learning each and every game. There are positives he can take from each game. There are negatives and things he can learn from. He has a lot of grasp of what we've been doing. He's going to be a terrific player. I really believe that."
Cullen on Sunday's game: "We've got our hands full. The motivation for this week is 'One Last Time.' You can always sell out for one game and knock them out of the playoffs."