JACKSONVILLE – Trevor Lawrence is the key.
Jaguars Head Coach Doug Pederson discussed it last week, and the coach Pederson hired to coordinate the offense – Press Taylor – discussed it, too.
"We're hopeful that in Year 2 he'll make some good strides," Pederson said of Lawrence.
Taylor spoke to local media Friday as he and defensive coordinator Mike Caldwell were introduced a day after Pederson finalized his 2022 coaching staff. Taylor spoke on multiple issues that day. Among them:
His early thoughts on Lawrence, and how the young quarterback's maturity and leadership should help the offense moving forward.
"Character is a huge aspect to the success of a lot of people, I feel like particularly the quarterback," Taylor said. "It goes a long way in terms of winning over a locker room, just the way you handle things, you handle life, you handle success, adversity on the football field, off the football field. I think that matters."
The Jaguars' 2022 staff includes two former NFL coordinators: Pass-game coordinator Jim Bob Cooter and quarterbacks coach Mike McCoy. Cooter coordinated the Detroit Lions' offense in 2016-2018. McCoy, the San Diego Chargers' head coach from 2013-2016, coordinated the Denver Broncos' offense from 2010-2012 and in 2017 – and the Arizona Cardinals' offense in 2018.
Pederson called the relationship of McCoy, Cooter and Taylor with Lawrence "huge" and "one that I encourage."
"I encourage all my staff members to reach out to the guys this time of year and really start building a relationship with them," Pederson said. "It's going to be a really good dynamic because what I understand of Trevor is his mindset, how he thinks. He's eager to learn. He wants to grow.
"I've got great teachers in the room that can help him and help him be successful. That's not only on the field but off the field as well. That's what I'm looking forward to in April when we get the guys in here."
Pederson was the head coach in Philadelphia when then-Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz – the No. 2 overall selection in the 2016 NFL Draft – improved dramatically in his second season. Wentz, after throwing 16 touchdowns and 14 interceptions as a rookie, threw 33 touchdowns and seven interceptions in 2017 before sustaining a season-ending torn anterior cruciate ligament.
Lawrence threw 12 touchdowns and 17 interceptions as a rookie, though Pederson noted that the Jaguars' coaching change this offseason means Lawrence's situation this season will be different than Wentz's in 2017.
"After Trevor's first year, things got disrupted: new head coach, new offense, everything," Pederson said. "But the one thing that is consistent, I think, is the growth that Carson made in year two and the growth that we anticipate and hope that Trevor can make in year two.
"That just comes from him communicating to us, us communicating to him, starting in OTAs when we get the guys in here and get on the grass and really start working the fundamentals. That's where you start seeing the growth in young quarterbacks in that second year into Year Three.
"It'll be on Trevor a little bit to come in, learn some new terminology, pick up some new ideas, things of that nature."
Taylor: "As coaches, that's our job – to find a way to reach that individual best and put them in position to maximize his abilities. All these guys are really talented or they wouldn't be at this level, and it's on us to build their confidence to where they can go out and succeed at whatever we ask them to do, but at the same time we should be finding what it is they do well, and those are the things we're asking them to do at a high level. That's kind of the art of coaching, where you reach everybody a little differently."
Taylor: "The number one thing you ask for from somebody is accountability. I have no problem if I make a mistake of standing up here admitting it. Part of that is a little bit of self-awareness, a little bit of maybe just confidence in yourself. At the same time that's what I would expect of players. If you make a mistake, stand up, say you made a mistake, we evaluate from it, we evolve, we adapt."