INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Let's get to it …
Zac from Austin, Tejas
It finally happened and came from none other than my two icons, Pete Prisco of CBS Sports and Hall of Famer Tony Boselli (although he walked it back towards the end). Pointing to last year as "not counting." I personally hate that argument, because it flies in the face of the logic that reps are how players get better and that growth has actually happened. It just seems like when we are blaming last year and calling mulligan … it's like we rob from Trevor Lawrence the work that he did put in last year. What say you? Do you write off last year and call this Trevor Lawrence's real rookie year or is it you and me against NFL media?
You seek a simple answer to a complex question. You're not alone – but while it's understandable that fans want to be able to call this Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence's second season or rookie season, the better way to frame it is it's sort of a little of both. Lawrence indeed got 17 games worth of repetitions/experience last season and there certainly is value in that. At the same, those repetitions came in difficult enough circumstances that it's fair to wonder if Lawrence benefitted as much as otherwise might have been the case. There's also the added element of Lawrence now being in his first season in Head Coach Doug Pederson's offense as opposed to many second-year quarterbacks who stay in the same system their first two seasons. Is Lawrence a second-year player? A rookie? Maybe somewhere in between. Perhaps that's why he's clearly better than he was as a rookie and not yet as good as many observers/fans hoped. It realistically doesn't matter all that much. Whatever the label, he's going to be the Jaguars' quarterback the rest of this season. He's going to be the Jaguars' quarterback next season. Pederson clearly is going to give him that kind of time. That's not "writing off" anything. It's just how the Jaguars have to approach Lawrence's development.
Dave from Ontario, Canada
Hi, John. While I do not agree that Lawrence can be labelled a bust this early in his career, I would argue that based on his play to date and his draft expectation as a generational quarterback, he has definitely not lived up to those expectations. Last year can be written off for many reasons, but he got tons of reps and therefore shouldn't be making some of the terrible decisions he keeps making. Some of the intangibles everyone assumed he had perhaps are lacking more than people thought. I know there is still time to turn things around but with the talent around him and a former quarterback as a coach, if he doesn't get things right this year, I think his ceiling is definitely lower.
Lawrence has thrown eight touchdown passes with four interceptions this season. He had one so-so game (Week 1, Washington), one fumble-marred game in difficult conditions (Week 4, Philadelphia), two really impressive games (Weeks 2/3, Indianapolis/Los Angeles Chargers) and one game in which he threw for decent yards and had a terrible end-zone interception). Either way, for argument's sake: Were this Lawrence's rookie season, would you take eight touchdowns, four interception and one AFC Offensive Player of the Week performance? Would you see signs? Would you have confidence? Almost certainly. I don't know Lawrence's end game, but that's a way to look at his season to date and have a lot of hope.
Steve from Nashville, TN
We have more than a handful of starters who are rookies or in Year 2. The difference between winning and losing in the NFL is razor thin and can hinge on a few mistakes, which is what happened this past Sunday. We have a talented group of core players under contract through 2023. Our young team will mature, learn and become grizzled savvy veterans for next season. I believe you will start to see this in the games played in December and January this season. All the losses this year are by one score and our scoring differential through five games is plus-29 compared to minus-59 through 5 games last year.
Experience absolutely is a factor for the Jaguars. The team's longest-tenured core player who has played his entire career with the team is left tackle Cam Robinson, who is in his sixth season. Next is outside linebacker, Josh Allen who is in his fourth season with the team. There are other players with more experience in the NFL, but this team's core has not been together long. Lawrence has played 22 games in the NFL. No receiver has been on the roster longer. It's a young team. The players are still comparatively new to each other. That doesn't mean they can't succeed, but it is a factor.
Andry from Halifax
I think we are looking at a team that can compete with anyone but that is by no means consistently dominant (ala Buffalo Bills, Kansas City Chiefs, etc.). This is still better than years past and they are still in the very thick of the division despite some stinkers. I am happy with this?
Jim from Jagsonville
The vitriol you endure over a quarterback who has played two dozen NFL starts ... it's a wonder you bother every day. Trevor has a rookie contract to play out. If by the end of next season it hasn't worked, look to the draft again. Then you got Doug. No NFL coach has won with two teams. Trends being what they are this past decade it's hard for a Jaguar fan to see hope. Then we have you: Mister "I'm Not a Fan," speaking reason and such. The critics tell you to not be a company shill, then deride you for corny pizza jokes and Eugene myths. Fans will fan, and this fan will never falter, but admit it. Ofunk, you're enjoying this season and that makes you a fan!
I admit nothing. I will be beholden to no man. And longtime Florida Times-Union sports columnist and Northeast Florida cultural icon Eugene P. "Gene" Frenette is no myth. He's real. He's sooooo real.
Ryan from Apopka, FL
Let's give Lawrence a breather from the bashing and talk about the defense for a second. They had 17 missed tackles on running back Dameon Pierce last Sunday! That is inexcusable. And we had probably another 10 or so the week before. That number needs to come down.
The Jaguars' tackling could be better. There have been a few too many missed tackles. Pierce also is really good at breaking tackles and the Jaguars allowed just 248 yards and 13 points Sunday, so I don't know that we need to overemphasize the Jaguars' defensive troubles from that game.
Corey from Madison, WI
I'm starting to think that nobody knows where to find you...
How awesome would that be?
Geoffrey from Orlando, FL
_Trevor is special. If you can't see that, you don't know what special is. The NFL is a steep learning curve, even for generational guys like Trevor. Quarterbacks that succeed early in their career are the outlier, not the norm. Yes, he makes mistakes. Yes, he trusts his arm too much. Yes, occasionally he forces balls where they should not be. He will learn to check down. He will learn to manipulate defenses. He will calm down his mechanics. He will improve his accuracy. He will be great. _
One fer Lawrence …
David from Orlando, FL
KOAF - Some fans think that Trevor Lawrence is a bust. I'm going to go with the other extreme and predict that at this time next year Trevor Lawrence is a Top 5 QB.
… and another fer Lawrence.
Scott from Atlantic Beach, FL
Personally, I'm over the moon to have TL. But accuracy and throwing straight to a defender on second-and-one one inside the ten have absolutely nothing to do with playing in a new system. His accuracy is clearly an issue. Both short and long. I haven't seen him hit a "long ball" yet this year. He has missed screen passes and short dump offs. I think accuracy is first on my list of quarterbacks traits, that or vision and processing. "Bust" is early but to act like it's absurd to think is extreme in the other direction. …
Accuracy actually can have a lot to do with being new in a system. If a quarterback is thinking too much and not playing instinctively it can cause him to be slow to get his feet set and body positions right to make an accurate throw. Maybe that affects Lawrence's accuracy. Maybe not. But it absolutely can have an effect.
Brad from The Avenues
I'm sticking with my bold prediction from back in August, John: Week 18, Titans and Jags, for the division. Getting flexed to Sunday Night Football may have been a little overly ambitious, though.
You keep being you.