JACKSONVILLE – Trevor Lawrence made one thing clear Wednesday.
He's not doubting the leadership of the Jaguars, and the team's rookie starting quarterback has faith in Urban Meyer.
"He's still my head coach," Lawrence said.
Lawrence, the No. 1 overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft, on Wednesday afternoon spoke publicly for the first time since a video of Meyer went viral on social media over the weekend. The video made national news, with Owner Shad Khan issuing a statement Tuesday saying in part that Meyer need to regain the team's "trust and respect."
Lawrence and defensive end/outside linebacker Josh Allen – two of the team's seven captains – spoke Wednesday hours after Meyer apologized to the entire team in a morning meeting.
"I thought he did a really good job – he handled it well," Lawrence said Wednesday as the Jaguars (0-4) prepared to play the Tennessee Titans (2-2) in an AFC South game at TIAA Bank Field Sunday at 1 p.m. "He was up front with us. That was the best way to handle it, which he did.
"That's where you can go, 'All right. Next. Let's move on.' We're in a good spot as a team."
Meyer had addressed the issue with players in individual groups Monday.
"We all really appreciate it," Allen said. "He has owned it – just like we all do. He's a great coach. He's a great man. He's going to bounce back. We're all going to bounce back. We're all going to play even harder for him."
"We're ready to play. He has our back and we're going to have his back."
"I still respect him," he said. "Regardless of what happens, we're still a team. We're figuring it out. We're all good. We had a great day of practice today and we're all still working."
The Jaguars, who lost 24-21 to the Cincinnati Bengals on a last-play field goal last Thursday, can pull to within a game of first place in the division with a victory Sunday. They have lost their last three meetings with Tennessee and seven of the last eight dating to the 2017 season.
"We're focused," Lawrence said. "That hasn't changed. When we get out there, it's time to work. Our meetings have been great. Communication has been really good. We've got to get better at finishing. I feel like every week we've gotten better. We're excited to put a full game together and go finish it."
Allen: "We're locked in. As soon as we step in the building, it's football. All the distraction's everybody's dealing with at home, whatever … as soon as you step in the facility, it's all about football, the team and winning. Our main focus is the Titans. We've kept that and that's where our mind's at. That's where we're going to be this Sunday."
Sunday's matchup features a Jaguars team that has improved against the run this season against a Titans team that has been one of the NFL's best running teams in recent seasons. "It's strength on strength," Meyer said. The Jaguars are 13th in the NFL against the run, allowing 106.3 yards per game – 88.3 over the last three games. The Titans are fourth in the NFL in rushing at 163.8 yards per game, with Titans running back Derrick Henry – the NFL's rushing leader the past two seasons – having rushed for 510 yards and four touchdowns on 113 carries. "It's going to be a challenge, but our job is to stop the run," Allen said. "This is another opportunity to show how good our defense us. Meyer called Henry "a monster. He's one of the best combinations of size and speed," Meyer said. "We can't let him get started. Everybody says it. It's much easier to say. Their offensive line is really good. Their scheme is really good. This is a very good offensive team, led by one of the best players in the NFL." Meyer also emphasized that just stopping an opposing running back isn't enough. "The area we have to get better is the boots off of the run," Meyer said, referring to a quarterback faking a handoff and running – or throwing – off the fake. Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow did this effectively Thursday. "We had a couple mental errors against Cincinnati. You can't have that this week. The quarterback (Ryan Tannehill) does a nice job. First of all, he can run it. Second of all, he finds the open players."
Defensive lineman Roy Robertson-Harris (ankle) and defensive end/outside linebacker Lerentee McCray (hamstring) both missed practice Tuesday. Running back Carlos Hyde (shoulder) worked full and rookie cornerback Tyson Campbell (toe) practiced limited.
Lawrence: "We're a team. We're sticking together. Just because something happens that puts a little stress on it, that doesn't mean you just give up and go your separate ways. You figure it out and work through it. That's what we're doing. I feel good about our team. Nothing has changed. We're really tight."