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Jaguars QB Coach Talks Trevor Lawrence's Rookie Season, Impressive Offseason

Former head coach and offensive coordinator Mike McCoy is going to spend his first year as quarterbacks coach with the Jaguars helping Trevor Lawrence take a step in his development. So, what has he seen from Lawrence so far?

For Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence, the 2022 season offers a chance to reset. 

A whole new coaching staff, from head coach to offensive coordinator to quarterbacks coach, is in place. As is a renewed focus to the offense after the Jaguars signed four starters in free agency in right guard Brandon Scherff, wide receivers Zay Jones and Christian Kirk and tight end Evan Engram.

Among those working closest with Lawrence in his clean slate is quarterbacks coach Mike McCoy, who will be tasked with developing Lawrence on a day-to-day basis along with assistant quarterbacks coach Andrew Breiner. And so far, McCoy sees Lawrence using the 2021 season to his advantage to be better in his second go around.

"There's nothing like experience. That's the only way you can learn," McCoy said during a media availability at the end of OTAs earlier this month. 

Lawrence got that experience and then some last season. He is one of only two rookie quarterbacks who started games last season who is entering 2022 with a new coaching staff, along with Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields. This is a direct reflection of the supporting cast on and off the field for each as rookies, and even a bad landing spot for a rookie quarterback like the Bears was a much better situation than starting games for the Meyer regime. 

“Last year helped me a lot. That was really my first time really dealing with checking in and out of things, getting us in the right play, good matchup, route, whatever it is. So last year, it was tough to think about all those things. You have all these options and figuring out which one’s best," Lawrence said. "Now that I’ve had that experience, it helps a lot because I know I have a few things. You can’t do everything, so you have a checklist in your mind, these are the things I want to do today based on last week what they did, last practice, whatever it may be. 

"These are some things I want to get to and if we get the right look, get to them. If not, then you just do the best with what you have and do the next best thing. That’s what [Offensive Coordinator] Press [Taylor], and [Head Coach] Coach [Doug] Pederson and [Quarterbacks Coach] Coach [Mike] McCoy all talk about is if we’re not in the perfect play, just do the next best thing. Take a completion, throw the ball away, whatever it is and that’s just something that I’ve been trying to work on. I think it’s helped a lot.”

Starting all 17 games in Jacksonville's 3-14 campaign last year, Lawrence completed 59.6% of his passes for 3,641 yards (6.0 yards per attempt) for 12 touchdowns and 17 interceptions, which included a lengthy period where Lawrence didn't throw a touchdown pass.

Lawrence flashed throughout the year, showing off the talent that made him the No. 1 overall pick and regarded as a generational talent. He also thrived as a leader, establishing himself as a key voice and figure in the locker room and organization. But like most rookie quarterbacks, he has to weigh the positives with some of the negatives. 

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"It's tough. The quarterback position is as tough as there is in any business in professional sports because you don't have to just know your position, you gotta know everybody's position," McCoy said. 

"And so I think he learned so much about this game at this level, you know. Very successful in college, but quarterbacks, they struggle with their rookie season. There are so many different things. You're learning the new system number one, and the offseason program is only so long for rookies. And then you get into training camp."

Lawrence has impressed the Jaguars' staff this offseason with the way he has embraced Doug Pederson's culture and offensive system. Listening to the way McCoy described his offseason so far, it is hard not to think the Jaguars expect big things from Lawrence. 

This was the first true offseason for Lawrence after he went right from the NFL Draft to hitting the field in the spring last season. And this fall will be his first training camp getting 100% of the first-team reps after he had to split them with Gardner Minshew during last year's training camp. 

There is expected improvement to come along with that experience. But one reason the Jaguars are also expecting improvement is because, so far, Lawrence has looked the part in each phase of the offseason.

"I think he's done an outstanding job of number one, learning the system and buying into the way that we want to run and we want our quarterback to play in the system," McCoy said about Lawrence's offsea 

"And, you know, not only the leadership part of it, but the way, you know, from day to day on how we work, you know, in the way he's bought in and really, each day kind of learned something new through each install, you know. We have a number of installs we've done, and he's taking it one day at a time and tried to master the system." 

What was perhaps most convincing and encouraging for McCoy was the fact that he saw Lawrence take strides in OTAs alone. As the second-year quarterback got more reps inside of Pederson's offense and developed his comfort level, the rest of his game caught up in terms of speed.

"The last couple of days through the OTAs, you see some of the checks that he's made the line of scrimmage," McCoy said. "He's making quicker decisions now."

And that's the key thing. As each phase you go through in the offseason program you want to see that progress made not just by the quarterback, but the entire offensive, of guys playing faster, and being more comfortable in what we want to do. Because it takes time it takes time, and then it's going to be make the next step and training camp when you're playing in pads, and the game picks up, the tempo and the speed of the game picks up a little bit as each phase you go."