The Jacksonville Jaguars will be just fine.
They will have to start somewhere; however, expect them to improve now and season to come. There is no turning back. This was evident in their preseason finale.
Jaguar’s rookie No. 1 overall Trevor Lawrence completed 11 of 12 passes for 139 yards and two scores in three possessions against Dallas reserves, and the Jaguars beat the Cowboys 34-14 Sunday.
“It felt great out there, obviously,” Lawrence said. “We executed better than we have in the past two games. It was great to see, good feeling, lot better feeling coming into the locker room today, as opposed to last week.”
C.J. Beathard, the expected backup to Lawrence after Gardner Minshew was sent to Philadelphia for a late-round draft pick, took over in the second quarter and directed a drive to Josh Lambo’s 45-yard field goal in the third quarter. Jake Luton was 16 of 18 for 137 yards with an 11-yard scoring toss to Laquon Treadwell that capped an 80-yard drive in the third.
Though not known for running ability, only the lack of NFL experience can be considered Lawrence’s weakness. Mixing mostly quick drops and rollouts, the Jaguars kept their prized QB safe except for Ron’Dell Carter’s roughing penalty when he appeared to make contact with Lawrence’s facemask on a hit just as the QB threw a pass.
Pharoh Cooper caught Lawrence’s first TD toss on the opening possession for Jacksonville (1-2), an 18-yarder on the sideline in the end zone set up by an amazing 38-yard toe dragging reception Phillip Dorsett II.
After a holding penalty called back a short touchdown run from Carlos Hyde, Lawrence connected with Laviska Shenault Jr. on a 4-yard out in the end zone for a 14-0 lead early in the second quarter.
“Just one step in the right direction, just have to keep getting better,” Lawrence said. “Now they are going to count for real.”
The last 13 quarterbacks drafted first overall have gone winless in their first career start; David Carr was the last to win in 2002 (Houston Texans win over Dallas Cowboys).
Jaguars open their season on the road at Houston. Lawrence will be blitz tremendously then and all season. He will learn to adjust with the protection, but winning and losing will balance the talented quarterback’s mindset. In the meantime, he will only want to have fun.