JACKSONVILLE – Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence is in his first NFL season, but he already has figured a few things out.
Working with limited options at wide receiver – and with backups on the offensive line and in the backfield – he said the game is on the players and not the coaches.
"I don't think it's all about creativity; it's about execution," Lawrence said Wednesday as the Jaguars (2-8) prepared to play the Atlanta Falcons (4-6) at TIAA Bank Field Sunday at 1 p.m. "That's something we talk about a lot and it's something we've met about as an offense.
"We have to execute and no matter what's in the game plan we have to know it like the back of our hand, and I think that's the starting point. Once you get there you can add wrinkles or whatever, but that's where we have to start. It's not about creativity."
The Jaguars were hamstrung late in the preseason when rookie running back/wide receiver Travis Etienne Jr. was lost for the season with a broken bone in his foot, robbing them of one of their fastest and most explosive players. A month later a broken ankle in Cincinnati removed wide receiver DJ Chark Jr. from the lineup, taking away their only other offensive speed.
Since then, the offense has struggled to stretch the field and essentially has stalled.
The coaching staff isn't simply waiting for next season and the arrival of faster players. The Jaguars last week signed former Arizona speedster John Brown and this week claimed Jaydon Mickens from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' practice squad. Such in-season moves aren't ideal, but they're the only options to try to get the offense on track.
"It's different, it takes a little bit of extra work in practice," Lawrence said. "You have to get used to seeing a bunch of different guys in there at times and really just have to communicate well if you want something a certain way or if you need to correct something. The new guys who have come in have been great and picked it up quick.
Lawrence added, "First time seeing Jaydon today and he looks really good, have to get him up to speed. He's another weapon and I'm all for that."
Another weapon for sure, but one with limitations. A wide receiver who goes through the offseason, training camp and the preseason has a much greater role than either Brown or Mickens can play – and the expectations must be tailored to that reality. They aren't going to be miracle workers.
"When you're game planning you have certain situations and personnel for when he's in the game," Lawrence said. "You can plan for what he's going to do and talk about it during the week and usually by the end of the week you have a good idea of which plays he's going to be in and make sure you're on the same page. You can't teach them the whole offense in a week. You've just got to try and get them a few plays and mix it up.
"It's not the easiest thing but you want any weapons you have on the field. We got another new one today, so we have more work to do."
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