JACKSONVILLE – The Trevor Lawrence watch continued Thursday.
Lawrence, the Jaguars' starting quarterback, practiced limited Thursday after not practicing the previous day. He sustained a high-ankle sprain in a Monday Night Football loss three days ago, making his status for Sunday uncertain.
"It's probably a little bit more difficult than a normal week," Jaguars offensive coordinator Press Taylor said as the AFC South-leading Jaguars (8-4) prepared to play the Cleveland Browns (7-5) at Cleveland Browns Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio, Sunday at 1 p.m.
Backup C.J. Beathard has practiced limited with a shoulder injury the last two days and is expected to start if Lawrence is unavailable.
"They have different strengths as a player," Taylor said of Lawrence and Beathard. "They're not built the same. The athleticism is different. C.J.'s experienced. C.J. has a big arm. Not to say Trevor doesn't, but like any player to player, there's just a different skill set that they operate with.
"Depending on who the quarterback is, the system doesn't necessarily change, but the things you'll emphasize – the things we know Trevor does well versus what we think CJ does well – you would just change within a game of what you call, what you get to, what you're trying to emphasize."
Lawrence in three seasons since the Jaguars selected him No. 1 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft never has missed a start. He has five passing touchdowns and four rushing touchdowns in the last three games. Beathard has started 12 NFL games in seven seasons, throwing 18 touchdowns with 14 interceptions.
"For the most part, the plan will be in place, then we can adjust based on who the quarterback is, what their strengths are, or how the course of the game's going," Taylor said.
- Wide receiver Christian Kirk as expected missed a second consecutive practice Thursday with a groin injury sustained Monday; Head Coach Doug Pederson on Tuesday said Kirk is out. With Lawrence practicing limited, three players aside from Kirk missed practice Thursday: Cornerback Tre Herndon (concussion), tight end Brenton Strange (foot) and left tackle Walker Little (hamstring). Eight Jaguars players aside from Lawrence practiced limited Wednesday: Beathard, cornerback Tyson Campbell (quadricep), safety Andre Cisco (shoulder), running back Travis Etienne Jr. (ribs), defensive lineman Foley Fatukasi (heel), running back D'Ernest Johnson (knee), wide receiver Zay Jones (knee) and cornerback Christian Braswell (hamstring). Braswell was added to the injury report Thursday because his window to return from injured reserve has opened.
- Mike Caldwell sees urgency in the Jaguars’ defense this week, and with reason. "It's a good thing it's a short, week," the Jaguars' defensive coordinator said Thursday. "We're chomping at the bit to get back out there and give it another go." The Jaguars against the Bengals had one of their worst games of the season defensively, allowing 491 yards including 156 rushing. Both totals were season-highs allowed by the Jaguars. Caldwell called the run defense against Cincinnati in particular a "big surprise. We weren't right. We didn't get in our gaps, didn't tackle as well as we needed to, it's a bunch of things. It's our job to get that corrected. We get another opportunity to go back out there and do it. But again, the guys understand what we ask of them, they're able to do it, it's just another opportunity for us to go out there and do it." The Browns this season are seventh in the NFL in rushing at 135.1 yards per game. "As a defense, we have to understand that we get another opportunity to go out there and help this team get the victory," Caldwell said. "That's the only thing we're focused on. All the other stuff, we'll let it take care of itself. It's good that it's a short week because it's time to get back out there. It's not a good feeling and we're trying to get rid of it."
- Taylor on Thursday also discussed the loss of Kirk, who is expected to miss significant time after sustaining a groin injury on the Jaguars' first offensive play Monday. Kirk has 57 receptions for 787 yards and three touchdowns with 141 receptions for 1,895 yards and eight touchdowns since joining the Jaguars as an unrestricted free agent from the Arizona Cardinals in the 2022 offseason. "There's a certain trust he has from the quarterbacks," Taylor said. "He and Trevor have the most time on task together. Christian has a certain skill set that we feel like we've really identified, honed in on things he does well, things the quarterbacks can trust. We have other guys that have skillsets that we'll do our best to maximize and utilize in certain situations, but it's a big loss for us with a player of Christian's caliber physically, but also mentally what he can do and the flexibility he has within the game, within the system, to be able to move around a little bit."