JACKSONVILLE – Trevor Lawrence understated the obvious Wednesday.
"It adds some challenges for sure," he said.
Lawrence, the Jaguars' rookie quarterback, was talking about the most challenging part of yet another challenging week of a challenging 2021 season – the rapidly evolving COVID-19 situation that has turned this into a week of unknowns around the Jaguars.
The Jaguars had 25 players on the reserve/COVID-19 list as of Wednesday, a list that has changed daily and could continue to change moving forward – and a situation that prompted Interim Head Coach Darrell Bevell to hold team meetings virtually Wednesday.
"You would rather have everybody together," Lawrence said as the Jaguars (2-13) prepared to play the New England Patriots (9-6) at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., Sunday at 1 p.m.
"It makes things easier and you get more time with your guys to be together, talk about different things and go over the game plan. Everyone's kind of going through similar things. Maybe not at the same time, but through this whole season everyone's kind of been faced with the same challenges."
Five players – linebacker Myles Jack, guard Ben Bartch, defensive end/linebackers Jordan Smith and Josh Allen, and wide receiver Laviska Shenault Jr. – missed a loss to the New York Jets Sunday on reserve/COVID-19. Players placed on the list this week include guard Andrew Norwell, safety Rudy Ford, defensive tackle DaVon Hamilton, linebacker Damien Wilson, defensive lineman Malcom Brown, left tackle Cam Robinson and center Brandon Linder.
"Obviously, it's hard when you lose a lot of guys and you're not sure who's going to be back for game day," Lawrence said. "That's more challenging than the Zoom aspect of it. We're working through that. We did as much as we could [Wednesday]."
"We had a good mental day. We're just trying get all those guys ready, whoever can play."
With the Jaguars' head-coaching search officially beginning this week with seven candidates reported as possibilities, Lawrence on Wednesday was asked about focusing on the final two regular-season games rather than future leadership: "Obviously, you hear things. I try not to dive too deep into all that right now. That's not my focus. I need to just work on trying to win these last two games. It's going to take everything we've got. We have two really good teams coming up these last two weeks. I'm just focusing on that right now."
Tight end James O’Shaughnessy missed practice Wednesday with a hip injury and offensive lineman Will Richardson Jr. missed with a finger injury. Linebacker Dakota Allen practiced limited with a shoulder injury. The three were the only players on the Jaguars' injury report Wednesday.
Lawrence: "We need to score more points in general. Obviously, that goes with throwing touchdowns. It all goes together. I'd love to get some more. Hopefully, these next two weeks we can get some."