After Trevor Lawrence’s rookie NFL season, many questioned whether he would develop into the quarterback he’s been predicted since high school. After a chaotic campaign (mostly because Urban Meyer’s behavior) in the NFL, many analysts and fans were ready to dismiss Lawrence. But the second year has gotten off to a much better start as Lawrence and the Jaguars are leading 2-1, winning head-to-head games for the first time since Weeks 3 and 4 of the 2019 season.
Lawrence has undergone a drastic change in just three games this year. In three weeks in 2121, Lawrence made five touchdowns down to seven interceptions, posting a QBR of 22.6 and Jacksonville a 0-3. In the same number of games this season, Lawrence has six TDs to one INT with 71.1 QBR, and the Jaguars are 2-1. Small sample size, like at Costco, but ask fans in Jacksonville how good it is.
Lawrence is hardly the first #1 pick to struggle out of the gate. Famously, Peyton Manning broke the record for most INTs by a QB rookie in ’98, and everyone knows how his career went. Peyton was also predicted to be the next big QB to hit the NFL, and he is now a Hall of Famer and considered by many to be the most regular season QB of all time.
The jaguar has a gem in Lawrence and slow down his growth initially by making Urban Meyer his first head coach. Jacksonville seems to have corrected that by bringing in new head coach Doug Pederson, a former NFL QB and Super Bowl-winning head coach. You can say whatever you want about Pederson as a coach, but you can’t take that Super Bowl experience away from him. So it seems that whatever bit of wisdom he gives Lawrence, is working.
Jacksonville won its last two games by 52 points combined. Lawrence completed over 71 percent of his throws in their Week 3 win over the Chargers and 83 percent the previous week in a shutout victory against the Colts. Lawrence threw five TDs and zero picks in those games and recorded passer ratings of 121.5 and 115.5.
Saying Lawrence is off to an incredible start this season is an understatement. He looks like the guy we’ve expected to see all along. Jacksonville’s biggest test thus far will come in Week 4 when the Jags travel to Philadelphia to square off against the undefeated Eagles. The Eagles rank fifth in points scored, while the Jaguars are seventh. Both teams are top six in total yards, with Philly ranking first in that category. This game also marks the return of Pederson to Philly as an opposing head coach. Just one more storyline to keep in mind.
Win or lose this week, Jacksonville has a chance to win the AFC South and could become the favorite to do so should they get past the Eagles. The Jaguars did just beat up on the Chargers, a team that had actual expectations coming into the season. Philly has been accused of taking advantage of a favorable schedule in their first three games, which is what they’re supposed to do. That also means that while they are one of only two 3-0 teams in the league, some view it as fool’s gold, but others call Philly the best football team.
A win over the Eagles would put Jacksonville at 3-1 for the first time since ‘18. That season fell apart as the Jaguars lost seven straight after the hot start. But if Lawrence continues to progress as he has, Jacksonville will be a tough team to beat this year. After facing Philadelphia, the Jags have a reasonably tame schedule on their hands. They won’t meet another really good team until Week 10 against the Chiefs in Kansas City. Before the Chiefs, the Jags play the Texans, Colts, Giants, Broncos, and Raiders. That should be at least another three wins, if not four, for Jacksonville.
Even if the Jags can’t defeat the Eagles, I’ll be very interested to see what Lawrence can produce against that Philly defense. The Eagles haven’t allowed more than eight points in their last two games against the Vikings and Commanders. It feels like Lawrence and the Jaguars should be able to do more damage than that. Regardless, it feel as something special could unfold with Lawrence and Jacksonville.