JACKSONVILLE – Trevor Lawrence could play Sunday.
Lawrence, the Jaguars' quarterback who as of Friday remained in the concussion protocol, practiced on Friday – and could play Sunday if he is cleared in time.
Jaguars Head Coach Doug Pederson emphasized that because Lawrence remains in protocol it's difficult to predict his chances of playing.
"This is Friday and he's still technically in the protocol until he can clear," Pederson said as the AFC South-leading Jaguars (8-6) prepared to play the NFC South-leading Buccaneers (7-7) at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., Sunday.
"You really can't even compare it, it's not really a coin flip. It has to be yes-or-no type of deal."
Pederson added, "If he doesn't clear by tomorrow, we wouldn't take him."
Lawrence sustained a concussion in a loss to the Baltimore Ravens Sunday. He missed practice Wednesday and Thursday before practicing limited Friday. He was listed as questionable on the final injury report of the week. Pederson said the plan for Friday practice was to give Lawrence "as much as he can tolerate."
"Part of protocol and where he's at in the stages is he can practice today," Pederson said. "That still doesn't mean he's cleared, but part of it is to actually go through a practice and the stress and all that stuff on him. He'll be out there today and going through it. We'll give him as much as we can."
Backup quarterback C.J. Beathard practiced full with Lawrence out Wednesday and Thursday. If Lawrence can't play Sunday, Beathard would make his 13th NFL start in seven seasons. He was 2-10 as a starter with the San Francisco 49ers from 2017-2020.
"C.J.'s been a pro," Pederson said. "It's what you expect in your backup. He's no stranger to this situation this year and in his career, but he has handled the week well."
Pederson said the team overall also has handled this week's quarterback uncertainty well.
"For the most part, there have been no distractions," Pederson said. "Not a lot of questions or wondering if, ands or butts. Guys just focus on their job. With situations like this, when any player's in a concussion protocol, it's just up to the player himself, the healing and, and then going through the proper steps. I think it's just business as usual."
Pederson on Friday also said wide receiver Zay Jones is unlikely to play Sunday after sustaining a hamstring injury against the Ravens.
"He is trending well," Pederson said. "He's working off the side of our trainer and medical staff. With a hamstring, it's a touchy situation. I don't want to risk anything further as we continue our season, so probably not."
The Jaguars enter Sunday in first place in the AFC South with tiebreaker advantages over the Houston Texans (8-6) and Indianapolis Colts (8-6). They will win the South if they win their remaining games against the Buccaneers, Carolina Panthers (2-12) and Tennessee Titans (5-9).
The Jaguars won their last five regular-season games last season and clinched the AFC South title with a victory in the regular-season finale over the Tennessee Titans.
"It seems like this is a comfort level of theirs, to play like this," Pederson said. "That's OK, as long as they go out and play well and compete. That's all you can ask for and let the chips fall. They've handled this week well. They've had a couple of good days of preparation and it's just a matter of going and playing."
- Jones practiced limited Friday after not practicing Wednesday or Thursday and was listed as questionable on the week's final injury report. Other Jaguars players listed as questionable after practicing limited all week: Cornerback Tyson Campbell (quadricep), safety Andre Cisco (groin), cornerback Christian Braswell (hamstring) and tight end Brenton Strange (foot). Left tackle Walker Little (hamstring) and left guard Ezra Cleveland (knee) were not listed with a game status after practicing limited all week and are therefore expected to be available to play Sunday. Beathard (left shoulder) was not listed with a game status after practicing full all week and is therefore expected to be available to play.