JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – In the closing moments of Sunday’s 30-10 loss to the San Francisco 49ers at TIAA Bank Field, Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence stood with his arm around coach Urban Meyer’s shoulder.
The rookie just wanted to let Meyer know that he’s okay.
He’s not happy that the offense is underperforming and the Jaguars (2-8) aren’t winning, but he wanted to let Meyer know that he doesn’t have to worry about him.
“I just told him I’m going to keep fighting,” Lawrence said. “Like, it doesn’t matter the situation. I’m always going to be me. You don’t have to worry about me, so I’m going to keep being the same guy, going back every day and grinding. We’ve got a lot of guys like that.
“And there’s not a magic pill, like this is what we need to do to fix it. We all just have to take ownership and be better. Until we do that, it’s going to be the same thing. Got to keep going, keep going back to work, and it’ll come, but it’s definitely disappointing.”
But Meyer and the Jaguars should be worried about Lawrence.
Not because he hasn’t thrown a touchdown pass or thrown for more than 200 yards since Halloween and hasn’t completed at least 60% of his passes since Oct. 17. Those are concerning, yes, but they’re symptoms of the bigger problems with the offenses: A lack of playmakers, a group of receivers that struggles to get separation and drops way too many passes (19) and the worst third-down conversion rate in the league.
So now the Jaguars will be asking Lawrence to pretty much single-handedly carry an offense -- with its best offensive player limited and the team’s only legitimate deep threat possibly done for the season -- for the next seven weeks.
“I’m not going to panic,” Meyer said after the game. “That was a very poor display of football in so many areas, but [we have to] go back to work and try to beat the Falcons next week.”
The thing is, there’s nothing the Jaguars can do – no player they could sign – to make things better until the offseason. Lawrence is going to have to take an offense that is accounting for a league-low 14.7 points per game and has scored just four offensive TDs in their past four games and … somehow find a way to get something going.
It’s possible to bust out of their offensive slump, but it will require someone to make a big play or two – something the Jaguars haven’t done much of since the bye. They’ve had just seven plays of 20 or more yards and only one – a 66-yard touchdown run by Agnew – longer than 28.
The Jaguars’ longest play against San Francisco (5-5) was a 22-yard completion to Marvin Jones Jr., which came when the Jaguars trailed 30-3 late in the fourth quarter.
“Something definitely that’s helped in the past is you just need a spark,” Lawrence said. “You need guys to make plays. All of us. It’s me, it’s receivers, running backs, wideouts, O-line, it’s just everybody. Someone make a play, get some momentum.
“We didn’t make any big plays [Sunday], so we’ve got to be better. We could have used a few sparks. You saw we were starting to do that as the year went on, and then the past few games offensively haven’t been great.”
It could be for a quarter or half or game at times over the next seven weeks. Lawrence could get hot, get a couple lucky breaks, take advantage of a short field because of a turnover -- but to consistently expect the offense to start pounding out yards and points, that’s unrealistic.
So Meyer should absolutely worry about the unfair burden and pressure that they’ll be placing on Lawrence the rest of the season. He knows there’s nothing they can do about it now, but he also knows they’ll get through this and believes better days are ahead soon.
“I just love that guy,” Meyer said. “How do you not? The guy, it’s all good, it’s all work. It’s all positive.
“… You get your ass kicked, and there’s going to be a day we don’t get our ass kicked here. That’s coming. I know that guy’s going to be part of it, the 6-foot-whatever-he-is quarterback. I care deeply for that guy.”