Skip to main content
Updated date:

Grading the Jaguars: Lawrence's Improvement Boosts Quarterback Room

Trevor Lawrence has turned his play up a notch in recent weeks, giving the Jaguars a solid grade at the position moving into the bye week.

The Jacksonville Jaguars are headed into the bye week with a win under their belt and momentum off which to build. After six games—and 11 to go—where does this team stand? The first five losses painted a picture of a team with lots of places to improve, but some positives that can be taken away as well.

Through this series, we'll examine each unit; what's worked, what hasn't and what grade they've earned thus far. Next up, the quarterback room, following a strong showing from the running backs.

Positives

Where to begin? While this looks at the team by position, this section is clearly only about No. 1 overall pick and rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence. Lawrence has taken every single snap at quarterback for the Jaguars this season, one of three rookie quarterbacks who has started every game to this point. And through 391 snaps, Lawrence has already shown growth, maturation, and development beyond what many rookie quarterbacks experience over an entire season.

To get excited about where Lawrence is currently at, just look at how far he has come since his first NFL start. Lawrence's first three starts were marred by turnovers, risky decisions, and some poor showings of accuracy. But in the three starts since then, the Jaguars' entire offense has improved its productivity and overall efficiency thanks to Lawrence taking a massive leap. 

Weeks 1-3Weeks 4-6

54.24% completion rate (34th)

66.33% completion rate (16th)

5 passing touchdowns

2 passing touchdowns

9 turnovers (7 INTs, 2 fumbles)

2 turnovers (1 INT, 1 fumble)

60.3 QBR (33rd)

93.8 QBR (20th)

5.67 Y/A (34th)

8.08 Y/A (8th)

3.85 AY/A (32nd)

8.07 AY/A (13th)

-0.030 EPA/CPOE composite (34th)

0.106 EPA/CPOE composite (17th)

-0.140 EPA/Play (32nd)

0.148 EPA/Play (16th)

42.9% Success Rate (30th)

54.3% Success Rate (8th)

-9.8 CPOE (34th)

1.3 CPOE (19th)

Simply put, Lawrence has been a revelation in recent weeks, at least compared to the version of Lawrence we saw against the Texans, Broncos and Cardinals. Lawrence has done a better job of not putting the ball in harms way, with his lone interception in the last three games coming on the final play of a meaningless game-ending drive against the Titans. Overall, Lawrence has looked more comfortable reading the defense, going through his progressions, and trusting both his protection and the Jaguars' skill players. 

Lawrence has arguably been at his best when on the move. Per Sports Info Solutions, Lawrence is fifth in the NFL in passing yards and sixth in the NFL in air yards when on the move, producing outside of the pocket or when his feet aren't fully set at the same rate as players such as Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Justin Herbert, and Dak Prescott. Lawrence hasn't been unafraid to let the ball rip when he is moved off his spot, and the Jaguars are seeing these plays turn into explosive gains or clutch conversions on a weekly basis.

Aside from Lawrence's ability to beat defenses on the move, Lawrence has also given the Jaguars a dual-threat at the quarterback position. He has scored two touchdowns on the ground and is recording 4.65 per carry, giving the Jaguars an added element to their offense that they haven't had in years. Lawrence has become comfortable with running option plays and the Jaguars have mostly found success with isolating Lawrence with slower defenders in space. 

In terms of what Lawrence has done best from a technical standpoint, his work navigating the pocket and his pre-snap command of the offense each deserve some credit. Lawrence is one of the NFL's fewest-sacked quarterbacks, going down just 10 times in the first six games. Only seven quarterbacks with six starts have been sacked fewer times than Lawrence. Sacks are a quarterback stat and often show a quarterback's ability to make quick decisions both mentally and physically, so Lawrence's low sack rates is a major testament to his work in the pocket.

Read More

Finally, Lawrence has already been given complete control of the Jaguars' offense at the line of scrimmage. He has been able to seamlessly lead the offense from a vocal perspective, already earning the trust of the Jaguars' coaching staff when it comes to checking to runs or passes and setting protections.

“I think it depends on who it is, but definitely confidence can waiver in games, and I really haven’t seen that from him," Jaguars offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said about Lawrence this week. 

"He believes in himself, he’s a very confident guy, and the poise is I think something that really stands out to me. Just him in all the moments he’s been in, he’s learned from all the moments. But in game situations, nothing’s been too big for him, and he’s handled it really well.”

Negatives

If there is any negative to Lawrence's play right now, it is likely his short accuracy. Lawrence was given full opportunity to test the NFL waters early and see what h could get away with in terms of making throws against NFL defenses, which explains his early turnover issues more than anything else. Lawrence is an aggressive quarterback, so the fact that he turned the ball over often early on isn't a surprise or a concern. The fact he has already seemingly curbed this issue also speaks volumes.

But the area where Lawrence has shown genuine struggles that have still reared their head in recent weeks is short accuracy. Lawrence ranks 17th in on-target throws with 10 air yards or fewer, per Sports Info Solutions, and three of his interceptions have come on these plays. Throws like a missed touchdown to Laviska Shenault against the Titans and missed throws to James Robinson in Weeks 4 and 6 come to mind. 

With that said, there isn't much else to negatively say about Lawrence. He has answered so many questions in so many different areas and is already advanced in terms of his ability to manage the line of scrimmage and winning outside of the pocket. The Jaguars have been able to run a traditional drop back offense with Lawrence because he has been able to essentially do everything they have asked of him, something that can't be said for all rookie quarterbacks. 

Lawrence will have to continue to do a good job of taking care of the ball after his nine turnovers over the first three weeks, but to this point, even that negative seems like a distant part of Lawrence's past.

Overall Grade: B+

If Lawrence can find the end zone through the air a bit more over the next 11 weeks, this is an easy A. As things stand today, Lawrence has been exactly as advertised. He has rookie moments at times, but he is an top-tier athlete and physical specimen whose mental understanding of the game and position is just as impressive as his tools. 

The Jaguars have a franchise quarterback. Even after six games, this much is already true. Lawrence has to get better if the Jaguars want to compete week in and week out, but so far he has been everything the team could have hoped for at quarterback.