JACKSONVILLE – Turnovers remain very much a thing.
They're not only an important thing around the Jaguars these days, they're the thing that must get fixed – and fast – to correct what has been going wrong lately.
"That has been the reason for the slide we've been on," offensive coordinator Press Taylor said Wednesday as the AFC South-leading Jaguars (8-7) prepared to play the Carolina Panthers (2-13) at EverBank Stadium Sunday at 1 p.m.
Head Coach Doug Pederson this week cited giveaways along with tackling as a main area of improvement needed to end an ongoing four-game losing streak. Taylor on Wednesday called the team's ranking of fourth-most giveaways in the NFL this season "unacceptable."
Quarterback Trevor Lawrence agreed, discussing the area extensively during his Wednesday media availability and saying "I'd be wrong if I said I didn't think I could be better."
Lawrence this season has lost seven fumbles – tied for the most in the NFL with Minnesota Vikings quarterback Joshua Dobbs and New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson.
"Obviously I've had a lot of turnovers this year," Lawrence said. "Mostly in the pocket this year, I've had some fumbles. That's something I've got to improve on. Every game there's going to be some guys back there. I'm going to have to take care of the ball and not give the ball away in those situations.
"That's something where I've got to get better. I have to take the responsibility and accountability for that. I know I've got to be better."
Lawrence's 12 interceptions are tied for fifth in the NFL. He threw four interceptions during the Jaguars' 6-2 start, throwing eight in the last seven games. He threw three interceptions in a loss to the Cleveland Browns playing six days after sustaining a high-ankle sprain and threw two more in a loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this past Sunday after spending the week in concussion protocol.
"Just decision making," Lawrence said. "There are plays where things happen and maybe I saw something and the defense gave a certain look. Maybe you chalk it up to the defense making a good play or making a bad decision or miss a throw. It's unfortunate, but you've got to be able to move on. You can't do anything about it. You can't change it."
Taylor said of Lawrence, "I think he takes that very personal. He's very accountable. That's one of the things that we really like about Trevor. He understands where his responsibilities lie in terms of protecting the football for this team. He takes responsibility of that."
The Jaguars this season have committed 28 turnovers, including 10 in the last three games. They have committed 15 turnovers in the last seven games, winning two of five games during that span.
The turnovers also have hurt more tangibly in terms of points as the season has continued. The Jaguars' 13 giveaways in the season's first eight games led directly to 19 points for opponents. Fifteen giveaways during the last seven games have led to 69 opponents points, with all three Buccaneers touchdowns this past Sunday coming off turnovers.
"That has been our Achilles Heel as an offense this year, just understanding how important it is to hold onto the ball and just making it even more of an emphasis," Lawrence said. "That gives us the best chance to win more than anything, if we can hold onto the ball and make all of our possessions count."
- Defensive coordinator Mike Caldwell on the Jaguars’ recent struggles with missed tackles: "It's something that it's hard to put your finger on. We work it every Wednesday. We have to get back to tackling. The only way you get back to it is you go out there, you drill it, you focus on it, you get guys to take the extra step and it's all 11 guys. It's not just one guy missing that tackle, all 11 guys have to get there to get the guy on the ground. They're going to come back, they're going to work hard, they're going to do what we ask and they're going to get another opportunity to right the ship."
- Left tackle Cam Robinson on snapping a four-game losing streak: "There definitely needs to be a sense of urgency, but not a sense of panic. We know what we need to do. We know what we need to do to get better and we know we need to work on. It's simple — just going out there, doing exactly that, working on it and getting better."