Doug Pederson says Jaguars confident in Trevor Lawrence despite recent struggles

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- In the past two weeks, Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence has two touchdown passes and seven turnovers -- one of them an end zone interception in Sunday's 13-6 loss to the Houston Texans -- and has led his offense to just 20 points.

It's largely due to Lawrence's poor play against Houston and the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 4 that the Jaguars (2-3) have gone from potential AFC South favorite to once again battling to remain out of the division's cellar. Yet Jaguars coach Doug Pederson isn't concerned about his second-year quarterback's psyche or confidence.

"He's going to get better," Pederson said Sunday. "He's going to get better. I'm not worried about that at all. We have a lot of faith and trust in him and he can definitely do the job. We've seen it this season. We've just got to keep working on it."

Lawrence was pretty darn good before the past two weeks happened. He had the NFL's best Total QBR (86.7) and completion percentage (76.8) to go along with 497 yards, five touchdown passes and no turnovers in victories over the Indianapolis Colts and Los Angeles Chargers in Weeks 2 and 3. He was rolling -- and so were the Jaguars, winning back-to-back games for the first time since October 2019.

Then he turned the ball over five times in the loss at Philadelphia -- becoming the first player to lose four fumbles in a game since 1979 -- and twice more in Sunday's loss to the Texans. He's sitting at eight touchdown passes and eight turnovers, which isn't what you expect out of the former No. 1 overall pick five games into his second season.

Especially when he responded to Sunday's end zone interception, which came in the third quarter on a second-down play from the Texans' 7-yard line, by going 10-for-23 for 91 yards and an interception the rest of the way.

Despite Lawrence's inconsistency over the past month, Pederson said he doesn't walk onto the field wonder if he's going to get the good Lawrence or the bad Lawrence.

"I feel comfortable and confident [in what I'm going to get from Lawrence]," Pederson said. "He always has a good week of preparation. He is always in a good spot. I do feel good when we go out there and the way we start the game and the openers. Again, it's just how we start. And that's part of the quarterback, too, getting him comfortable and settled down into the game to where he can get himself into a rhythm."

Lawrence admitted that he got a little impatient early in Sunday's game and tried to force some throws down the field instead of taking some of the underneath throws or checkdowns, but he said he settled into a rhythm later in the opening quarter. That's something he battled as a rookie, too.

To be fair, Lawrence also had four passes dropped against the Texans, which gives the Jaguars nine drops in the past two games.

"I haven't lost any confidence," Lawrence said. "You look at some of the stuff we did. We moved the ball great. Guys made plays downfield. I thought I was confident, ripped a few in there, had some good plays, but it doesn't matter if you don't win. At the end of the day, we have to finish games. We're going to learn from it. It hurts."

A side effect of Lawrence's struggles is that receiver Christian Kirk has just three catches for 71 yards in the past two games combined after catching 18 passes for 267 yards and three touchdowns in the first three games.

"I don't worry about Trevor," Kirk said. "He's so mature in just his approach, his mentality and the way he goes about things. He's already critical on himself. I know he's going to do everything in his power to be the best that he can be and putting this team in the best position to win, so I don't worry about him at all."

Lawrence has no doubt he's going to fight through this and get back to the way he played against the Colts and Chargers.

"I'm seeing it. I feel good about that," he said. "I work hard during the week to be prepared and to see the looks and to be able to react whenever I see certain coverages. I thought for the most part I saw them, but I've got to be quicker in some of my progressions and just be more accurate overall."