JACKSONVILLE – After the first week of Jacksonville Jaguars summer practices, new Jaguars coach Urban Meyers talked to media about his rookie quarter Trevor Lawrence, who is in a 1-2 battle for …
JACKSONVILLE – After the first week of Jacksonville Jaguars summer practices, new Jaguars coach Urban Meyers talked to media about his rookie quarter Trevor Lawrence, who is in a 1-2 battle for the starting slot with veteran Gardner Minshew.
“He looked great,” Meyer coyishly told media after Day 6 two hour Organized Team Activities (OTA) at the Dream Finders Homes Practice Complex in downtown Jacksonville. “He had a really good day today. He’s just making steady progress.”
The No. 1 overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft, Lawrence, out of 2020 NCAA runnerup and 2019 NCAA national champion Clemson University, was accurate throughout team drills Thursday – completing multiple long passes, including touchdowns to wide receiver DJ Chark Jr. and tight end James O’Shaughnessy.
Jaguars’ wide receiver D.J.Chark, with seasons of 73 catches in 2019 and just 53 last season, spoke via videoconference for the first time in OTAs and for the first time since Lawrence began practicing with the team last month, said while Lawrence is still learning.
“The talent is definitely there,” said Chark. “He doesn’t mind throwing it; he don’t mind slinging it. That’s something that’s going to help this offense for sure.”
Lawrence and the Jaguars’ offense had struggled at times in the red zone during last Thursday’s Day 3 OTA practice, the only previous session of Jaguars 2021 OTAs open to the media. Lawrence and the first-team offense appeared far more efficient Thursday working in a team drill that allowed for more deep passes and work all over the field.
“I think he did well,” Chark said of Lawrence. “If I’m not mistaken, he threw me some really good balls today, which is cool. I like catching those. Every day is a step. One thing I’ve learned during these OTAs is we have a very competitive team. Our defense is not going to make it easy for us at all. We have to go out there and take it.
The Jaguars, after ranking sixth in the NFL in total offense in their 2017 AFC South Championship season, have ranked 27th, 20th and 28th the last three seasons.
While the Jaguars are in the third week installing the offense that will be coordinated by new coordinator Darrell Bevell, Meyer said coaches began working with Lawrence “a good month” before offseason practices began.
“He’s been great,” Meyer said. “His retention has been great. Execution has improved. I speak on behalf of [passing-game coordinator Brian] Schottenheimer and Bevell: His seriousness and his approach to this has been fantastic.”
Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew II, who has 20 starts in the last 23 games for Jacksonville, and guard Andrew Norwell were absent from Thursday’s voluntary practice. Meyer called Thursday “a light day for veterans,” with that group on the field from noon to about 1:15 p.m. Meyer said Minshew missed with a personal day and that both players are expected to return Monday.
Minshew has a career 93.1 passer rating which is highest in Jaguars history with 21 touchowns and 3271 yards as a rookie still the franchise record. Minshew’s rookie season finish with 21 touchdowns and six interceptions is only equaled by three other quarterbacks in NFL history; Dan Marino, Robert Griffin III and Dak Prescott.
In 2020, Minshew played nine games with 16 touchdowns and five interceptions with a 95.9 QB rating.