JACKSONVILLE – Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence is off to a rough start in 2021, at least by his own standards.
Lawrence, selected No. 1 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft after a record-setting college career at Clemson, has completed just 50 percent of his passes in two games with five interceptions and a passer rating of 57.1.
But the quarterback who never lost a regular-season game – and who never lost consecutively— in college or high school doesn't seem fazed to have added both experiences to his resume.
"The thing I have to keep reminding myself is that it's still a game, the same game I've been playing since I was a kid – a game I happen to be good at," Lawrence said Wednesday as the Jaguars (0-2) prepared to play the Arizona Cardinals (2-0) at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville Sunday at 1 p.m.
Lawrence, after completing five of seven passes for 73 yards and a 25-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Marvin Jones Jr. on the opening drive, completed 14 of 32 passes for 118 yards and a touchdown with two interceptions in a 23-13 loss to the Denver Broncos at TIAA Bank Field this past Sunday.
“I have to keep reminding myself that I belong here,” he said. “I know I’m young, but I can play. I can play with all these guys. I think building that confidence for me and throughout the whole team [is key] and I feel we’re headed towards that. Quaterback Trevor Lawrence
"You saw the way we started the game and obviously you have to finish, but we feel good and it's disappointing (that we didn't win) but we're getting there."
Jaguars Head coach Urban Meyer sees a quarterback who is pressing at times – but as he's getting to know more about his rookie signal caller, he sees a kid who can handle the job.
"You've got to know the quarterback and you put your arm around him, we're all still getting to learn one another because it's our first year together," Meyer said of helping Lawrence calm down in a rough patch during a game. "I've had quarterbacks, you've got to pick them up. So far that's not happened."
If the transition to the NFL has been a difficult one, that's something Lawrence expected.
"Everyone is just better, especially in technique, fundamentally," he said. "The corners are much better. There is not as much separation. Even the touchdown to Marv … when I threw it, there was no separation. Marv did a great job of making a play and separating a little bit. That's just the way it is.
"[I] still have to keep getting used to that and being more accurate. That's the main thing, giving my guys a chance, being more accurate consistently. But I kind of knew everyone was going to be better before I got here so that's nothing new as far as that goes, I've always had that mindset.
Lawrence is more than just a top talent because of his arm and athleticism. His understanding and perspective stand out when asked about a particular play or situation. He was asked Wednesday about a main topic of discussion around the Jaguars this week – whether he should check down more rather than throwing aggressively downfield.
"I can do a better job of that," he said. "I threw a few checkdowns in the game that we actually lost some yards on, so if they're only rushing four and covering everyone underneath and they've got two guys deep there is probably a good run lane for me.
"Those are things I'm learning. As the game went on you saw me use my legs a few times. I'm getting better at that, but I have to keep getting better at that."
Lawrence sounds remarkably patient for a young quarterback, but make no mistake: He wants to win.
“We’ve got a great team and I love the locker room,” he said. “Everyone gels, gets along great, everybody works their butt off. But I will say: Obviously you don’t want to be 0-2 at this time, you’d rather have won at least one game – hopefully two – but I know we’re getting better. Quarterback Trevor Lawrence
"I know it's frustrating for people out there and it's frustrating for us too. We want to win. We're in here every day working our tail off to get better, we want to win. But I can feel it's getting better, and the morale is really good. We've got a great culture and a good environment here and it's going to take a little time but we're getting there."