TAMPA, Fla. – Senior writer John Oehser examines Jaguars Head Coach Doug Pederson's post-game press conference following the Jaguars’ 30-12 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a 2023 Week 16 game at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., Sunday
- Wait and see. Topic No. 1 in Pederson's post-game press conference not unexpectedly was the health of quarterback Trevor Lawrence, who cleared concussion protocol Saturday and started a 49th consecutive game to start his career Sunday. Lawrence, who completed 17 of 29 passes for 211 yards and a touchdown with two interceptions Sunday, left early in the fourth quarter with a right shoulder injury sustained late in the third quarter on the Jaguars' first scoring drive. Pederson said Lawrence will be further evaluated Sunday or Monday. "At the time, it was severe enough he couldn't continue," Pederson said. "That's all I know." Pederson said after the game he never considered not starting Lawrence Sunday once he cleared protocol. He also said he didn't consider removing Lawrence from the game before his shoulder injury.
- Frustrating day. To see and hear Pederson following Sunday's loss was to see and hear a frustrated head coach – and with reason. The Jaguars now have lost four consecutive games after an 8-3 start – and while they remain in first place in the AFC South, the momentum of winning seven of eight games early in the season is long since gone. When the Jaguars trailed 30-0 late in the third quarter Sunday, they had been outscored 53-7 in the last three seven quarters. While Lawrence did not practice Wednesday or Thursday because of the concussion protocol, Pederson said of Sunday's loss: "You can't pin this all on the quarterback. Everybody else practiced. As a team, it wasn't good enough. The sense of urgency wasn't there. We didn't execute very well on offense. The turnovers keep piling up, the run game – all that kind of stuff just affects the whole process. It's not one guy. It's the coaches, myself, players – all in this together."
- Crisis? The Jaguars (8-7) despite the four-game losing streak remain in first place in the AFC South, with the Indianapolis Colts (8-7) losing to the Atlanta Falcons Sunday and the Houston Texans (8-7) losing to the Cleveland Browns. The Jaguars have tiebreaker advantages over the Colts and Texans. If they win their final two games against the Carolina Panthers at home in Week 17 and against the Tennessee Titans on the road in Week 18, they will win a second consecutive AFC South title. "I would say, 'Yes,''' Pederson said when asked if this was a crisis point. "A four-game skid? Crisis? Our goals are still in front of us. Nothing has changed there, but somewhere we have to stop this dam from busting wide open."
- Sense of urgency. The Jaguars not only fell behind quickly Sunday, but the Buccaneers also continued to build on the early lead because of multiple mistakes offensively and defensively. The Jaguars committed four turnovers and forced none, trailing 20-0 at halftime and 30-0 before wide receiver Calvin Ridley caught two late touchdowns – one from Lawrence in the third quarter and one from backup quarterback C.J. Beathard in the fourth quarter. All three Lawrence turnovers led to the Buccaneers' only three touchdowns. "You want to see a win," Pederson said. "You want to see the guys come into this game and have that sense of urgency. I give Tampa a lot of credit. They came ready to play. They're playing for the same things we're playing for in their division. It just has to mean something to everybody. Today I just didn't it meant much to us as it did to them."
- Frustrating Sunday. The Jaguars' four turnovers Sunday marked the third time in the last seven games they have had four giveaways in a game. They also had four turnovers in a Week 14 loss to the Cleveland Browns and a Week 10 loss to the San Francisco 49ers. They have 28 turnovers for the season. "I can't go out there and do it," Pederson said. "[Offensive coordinator] Press [Taylor] can't do it. [Defensive coordinator] Mike [Caldwell] can't. The players at some point have to have enough pride to not turn it over. Listen: They're not trying to turn the ball over. But there has to be a sense of urgency to have the ball security to protect the football. It's not there right now."
- Pederson: "The message is still our goals are still in front of us. Everything's still right there. Obviously, the division is kind of wide open. We kind of opened that door, but we have to focus on one game at a time. That's what we're going to do. We have a lot of things to fix."