JACKSONVILLE – Christian Kirk has high confidence in the Jaguars' offense these days.
One reason is the expected improvement of a group of players with a year of experience in an offensive scheme. Another reason is Trevor Lawrence.
"The light switch is on," Kirk said of the Jaguars' third-year quarterback.
Kirk, a sixth-year wide receiver entering his second season with the Jaguars, spoke to the media Monday following Day 5 of 2023 Training Camp at the Miller Electric Center. He discussed multiple topics, including the idea that the Jaguars' offense could be one of the NFL's best in its second season in Head Coach Doug Pederson's scheme.
"That's the goal," Kirk said. "We step on this field to be the best offense in the league and that's our mindset."
The Jaguars ranked 10th in the NFL in yards and points in their first season in the system in 2022, with players such as Lawrence, Kirk, wide receiver Zay Jones, tight end Evan Engram and running back Travis Etienne now entering their second season in the scheme.
"That's a big thing that people talk a lot about: Year One to Year Two within a system," offensive coordinator Press Taylor said Monday. "Even our guys that are third, fourth year players, it's Year One to Year Two in a system. These guys are very comfortable with what we're asking them to do.
"They understand the context. They know where to line up, they know what they're going to do. They know the adjustments if need be."
Kirk, who caught 84 passes for 1,108 yards and eight touchdowns in 2022 after signing as an unrestricted free agent in the 2022 offseason, said the cohesion already is evident.
"The first four practices were really good for us," Kirk said Monday. "Where we're at right now, it's pretty encouraging with the way we were able to come out and execute. Even guys that are new to the system and whatnot, just being able to pick it up and play fast.
"I like the starting point, but it gets a little harder [Tuesday], throwing the pads on. It's going to get a little hotter and days are going to start adding up. I'm excited to see how we're able to face some of that, the dog days of camp, and be able to perform at a high level."
Kirk said there are multiple areas the Jaguars must improve offensively in 2022, including red-zone offense and starting games more quickly. The Jaguars rallied from double-digit deficits to win their final five home games last season – including rallying from a 27-0 deficit for a 31-30 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers in an AFC Wild Card Playoff game.
"It's fun having some comebacks, but it gets exhausting after a while," he said. "We want to make sure we come out, start fast, and when we get up, we keep our foot on the pedal."
The development of all skill players is key to that improvement. And if Lawrence's development remains the Jaguars' No. 1 storyline, Kirk said the young quarterback's grasp of the offense bodes well for the upcoming season.
"Everything is so quick, the way he's able to go through his reads," Kirk said. "Last year, maybe he wasn't able to get his third progression. Now he's able to get to that. That's a big thing of what we do: If the first and second reads aren't there and he's able to back to that third one. Maybe we're able to look at some things on film that we haven't taken advantage of, he's really working that.
"He's doing a great job leading as a vocal leader, but most importantly, his progression and how he's able to get through each read."
- Kirk on how the addition of wide receiver Calvin Ridley will help the position group overall: "It does a lot. He's been great, just his intensity, how he's approached every day, the extra effort and time he puts into his craft and taking care of his body. Everybody has seen the way he approaches practice and the way he competes. It just brings up the level of competition in our room and our standard. If you're coming out here and you're maybe a little sore, a little tired, and you got a guy like that out there, running at full speed and performing at a high level – naturally, it brings everybody up."
- Taylor on rookie RT Anton Harrison: "He gets better every single day. You want to continue to push him, continue to see that growth just keep coming. We don't expect where he is today to be where he is going to be Week One. We want to see a lot of growth from that time and so far we've seen that day to day with him."