NFL

Lawrence: Jags starting QB gig won’t be a ‘given’

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Trevor Lawrence never expected to automatically become the Jacksonville Jaguars‘ starting quarterback, even though they drafted him first overall.

He should have to beat out Gardner Minshew, C.J. Beathard and Jake Luton in order to take the first snap in the Sept. 12 season opener in Houston. Just like Lawrence had to beat out Kelly Bryant, who led Clemson to the College Football Playoff the year before, as a freshman in 2018. As he put it, “that’s just the way football works.”

“It’s always a competition,” Lawrence said Saturday. “When I was at Clemson when I first came in, it was a similar situation and that’s how it has to be. It has to be a competition — nothing can be given. When you start giving things to people, you set the wrong precedent for the team.

“I have a lot of respect for the coaches, the way they’ve handled everything and my job is to just come in every day, go to work and try to make this team better and that’s hopefully getting close to the season, we can all gel and get some more work together, but right now, I’m just doing my job.”

Lawrence has alternated repetitions with the first-team offense through the first four days of training camp. He has completed 79% of his throws in 7-on-7 and 11-on-11, followed by Beathard (75%) and Minshew (72%). Those high completion percentages are in part due to the fact that the defense is prohibited from playing press coverages and going after throws, a decision Meyer made after he and the team were fined for being excessive during OTAs.

However, that was only for the first four days of camp. When the Jaguars return to the field on Monday after a day off, it’s full-go for the defense. That said, Meyer has been pleased with what he has seen from Lawrence.

“He’s good. His skill set is there,” Meyer said. “The thing that everybody has to remember [is] that defense is not allowed to make a play on the ball right now. That’s what happened in spring. … I told them today it’s over now. Now go make a play, next week we can start that.

“So, all you can evaluate now is retention and skill set, [and Lawrence’s are] plus-plus. The real stuff starts next week.”

Every player who has spoken to the media this week — receiver DJ Chark, cornerback Shaquille Griffin, running back James Robinson, safety Rayshawn Jenkins, defensive end Josh Allen, center Brandon Linder and linebacker Joe Schobert — have all said they’ve been impressed with what they’ve seen from Lawrence.

“My biggest impression is when he throws the ball, the ball gets to where it’s supposed to go, quick, and when he needs to have touch with a pass, he has a lot of accuracy,” Schobert said. “He’s made a lot of good throws this week. Now, the defense hasn’t been allowed to touch the ball, but we will break up some of those. He is going to make some rookie mistakes, but I have been most impressed with his poise and his command in the huddle and meetings.

“Just the way he carries himself, because coming in as a rookie in the NFL is not easy in general, coming in as a rookie quarterback where 75 percent of the people in these stands are probably here to see Trevor Lawrence or get an autographed football from him after practice, he is taking it all very well and he has been very impressive in that aspect.”

Lawrence didn’t have his best day Saturday — six incompletions, which is just three fewer than he had in the first three practices combined — but he still led the offense to two touchdowns in two-minute work.

“It was a really good week,” Lawrence said. “I didn’t have the best day today, but that’s what training camp is about — working out the kinks and really just owning our offense in the situations that were going in and against.”


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