JACKSONVILLE – Senior writer John Oehser examines Jaguars Head Coach Doug Pederson's postgame press conference following the Jaguars' 34-31 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals in a 2023 Week 13 game at EverBank Stadium in Jacksonville Monday
- No news – and a tough night. The Jaguars on Monday sustained multiple significant injuries – including a right ankle injury sustained by quarterback Trevor Lawrence with just over 5:25 remaining in the fourth quarter. Lawrence did not return, and Pederson following the game said no detailed information was available yet on the situation. "We're still evaluating him," Pederson said. "He'll have more tests and things done here tonight and tomorrow." Other Jaguars players injured Monday: Wide receiver Christian Kirk (groin), left tackle Walker Little (hamstring), cornerback Tre Herndon (concussion) and defensive tackle Foley Fatukasi (ankle). "We had position players go down," Pederson said. "That's part of the game. It happens. It's unfortunate. Next guy up has to be ready to go and play. I thought the guys that filled in were just that. They were ready to go." The Jaguars visit the Cleveland Browns Sunday. "It's a challenge," Pederson said of preparing on a short week. "Again, it's part of the game. It's why you have 53 and you have your practice squad. You have to get the next guy ready to go. It's going to take everybody this week. We don't have much time. We're back on the field in less than two days. We just got to get the next guy coached up."
- Confidence high. Jaguars quarterback C.J. Beathard played the Jaguars' last two series Monday, leading a 53-yard drive that led to kicker Brandon McManus' 40-yard field goal that forced overtime and completing a 43-yard pass to wide receiver Calvin Ridley that appeared to give the Jaguars a first-and-goal at the Bengals 2-yard line on the first possession of overtime. The pass to Ridley was negated by a holding penalty on rookie right tackle Anton Harrison and the Bengals drove for their game-winning field goal on the ensuing possession. Beathard, a seventh-year veteran, completed 9 of 10 passes for 63 yards on the two series. "We have 100 percent confidence in C.J," Pederson said. "He did a nice job getting us down the field there, tying the football game. We have a lot of confidence in C.J. He's a veteran player. He's played a lot of football. If he happens to be the guy, then we get behind him and support him."
- Playing to strengths. Beathard, Lawrence's backup in each of Lawrence's three NFL seasons with the Jaguars, has 12 starts in seven NFL seasons with all his starts coming as a backup with the San Francisco 49ers. Beathard, who is 2-10 as a starter, has completed 312 of 524 career passes for 3,614 yards and 18 touchdowns with 14 interceptions. "I don't think we have to change up a whole lot [if Beathard starts]," Pederson said. "You just have to utilize C.J.'s strengths. I don't want C.J. to be Trevor either. C.J. has got to be C.J. That's something moving forward, if C.J. plays next week, that's the game plan. You utilize his strength, tailor the offense around that."
- Not their night. The Bengals' 491 yards offense marked the most allowed by the Jaguars' defense this season. Bengals quarterback Jake Browning, making his second career start, completed 32 of 37 passes for 354 yards and a touchdown – but it was the Bengals' 156 rushing yards that Pederson emphasized afterward. That also was the most allowed by the Jaguars this season. "We didn't stop the run," Pederson said. "That's the strength of our defense, is stopping the run. We just didn't do that. We failed there. We got too many explosive plays we gave up."
- Impressive "debut." Rookie Parker Washington, a fifth-round selection in the 2023 NFL Draft from Penn State, played in his fourth NFL game Monday and caught six passes for 61 yards and a touchdown in his most extensive action to date. Washington's role increased following Kirk's injury on the Jaguars' first offensive play, and his highlight came in the third quarter when he caught a 14-yard pass from Lawrence for his first career touchdown. "He did a nice job," Pederson said of Washington. "When Christian goes down on the first play of the game, it's not what you expect. But I thought Parker filled in nicely. He made some really nice plays for us. Obviously, the touchdown catch and a couple others. Something he can build on and continue to gain confidence as he plays."
- Pederson on whether the Jaguars were "shell-shocked" Monday considering the multiple injuries: "We're too far down the road. We have about a month, little over a month, of football left. It's full steam ahead. We've got to get the guys that are hurt treated. We got to get the next guy ready to go."