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Bill Belichick on Facing Trevor Lawrence: ‘He’ll Be a Solid NFL Player, Maybe Great’

The Patriots (9–6) can clinch their spot in the playoffs Sunday with a win against Jacksonville (2–13), along with some help from other teams in the conference.

When New England takes the field at Gillette Stadium, the Patriots will be tasked with limiting the production of Jags rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence, who coach Bill Belichick said Saturday he believes will be a “solid” NFL player and maybe has a chance to be among the elite.

“I think he’s gotten more comfortable as the season’s gone on and gotten comfortable with the offense,” Belichick told reporters on Friday. “I’d say the offense has gotten comfortable with the things that he does best. Definitely, a good level of execution there. They did a good job last week against the Jets, mixing in different varieties of passes: quick throws, moving pocket throws, deep balls, third down conversions, red area plays. He’s pretty good at all of them and continues to get better. I think he’s had a good year and I think he’ll be a solid NFL player, maybe great. I don’t know, but he’s certainly made a lot of progress this year.”

Whether or not Belichick is simply singing Lawrence’s praises ahead of the game, the former No. 1 pick enters the game coming off a solid game where he threw for 280 yards on 26-of-39 passes and no interceptions. It marked the third consecutive game that Lawrence has not turned the ball over in the air.

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Against the Patriots, Lawrence—who leads all rookie quarterbacks with 319 completions—will look to record his fourth consecutive game throwing for 200-plus yards. He has thrown for 3,225 yards and needs 47 more yards to secure the most passing yards ever by a Jaguars rookie quarterback.

However, Lawrence could be in for a long day as rookie quarterbacks are 8–24 all-time against Belichick-coached teams, according to NFL Research. In the 2021 season, rookie quarterbacks—Jets’ Zach Wilson twice and Texans’ Davis Mills—are 0–3.

Against first-year quarterbacks selected No. 1 in NFL drafts, Belichick is 1–2. Lawrence has thrown nine touchdowns and 13 interceptions while recording a  70.6 passer rating, which is 31st among NFL quarterbacks this season.

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