The Jacksonville Jaguars are in no rush to publically proclaim No. 1 overall pick Trevor Lawrence the team's immediate Week 1 starter, even if it is an inevitable decision.
A week ago, Jaguars passing game coordinator Brian Schottenheimer pushed back against the idea the Jaguars had already named a starting quarterback. Now, Schottenheimer's boss has more or less done the same, with Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer adding his own thoughts to the discussion and Lawrence's readiness this week during a recent interview on 'Sports Seriously', a USA TODAY Sports' show hosted by Mackenzie Salmon.
"He's not ready yet, but he doesn't have to be ready yet," Meyer told Salmon when asked if Lawrence was ready to start in Week 1 against the Houston Texans. "We got a long training camp coming up. He's probably advanced maybe a little quicker than we would've thought, which was a positive."
Lawrence, who the Jaguars selected with the team's first-ever No. 1 overall pick in April, is the universal favorite to take the first snap of the season for the Jaguars' offense.
But for now, the Jaguars, Meyer, and his veteran brain trust of Schottenheimer and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell is slow playing Lawrence's ascension to the top of the depth chart, at least from a public perspective.
The Jaguars and Meyer decided on Lawrence early in the draft process, with Lawrence being a major factor in Meyer taking the Jaguars' job in the first place. Meyer has gone on to point out several times throughout this offseason that the Jaguars began to teach Lawrence their offense and terminology before the draft even took place. This isn't something a team would do for a quarterback who will be a backup, even if Meyer isn't stating Lawrence is ready in June.
"One thing that we worked on — when we made a decision that Trevor was going to be our No. 1 pick, we went from the evaluation stage to the preparation stage," Meyer told Salmon.
"And that means that I want to see — I can't remember the exact date, but we started installing the playbook with him well before the draft. So you can see the retention, he's got a really good work ethic and he's progressed very well."
Ultimately Meyer will be the one making the decision when to name Lawrence the starting quarterback, both to the media and to the team. But for now, Meyer's decision is clearly to let the Jaguars continue to grind it out in the meeting rooms and on the practice field ahead of Week 1.
"But you know, we’re not in a position where we’re saying 1, 2, 3, 4. We’re letting them all roll, everybody is getting reps, we want this thing to be really competitive," Schottenheimer said last week.
"Ultimately, when we name a starter, we’ll name a starter. Urban will do that when he’s ready, but I’ve just enjoyed watching these guys compete."
Lawrence was 34-2 as a starter at Clemson, having only lost in the College Football Playoffs (as a sophomore, to LSU in the Championship and as a junior to Ohio State in the semifinals). As a freshman, Lawrence defeated the Alabama Crimson Tide for the National Championship. To Lawrence's credit, few quarterbacks enter the NFL with as much starting or big-game experience as he is.
In his career, Lawrence completed 66% of his passes for 10,098 yards (8.9 yards per attempt, 9.8 adjusted yards per attempt) for 90 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. He also rushed for 943 yards and 18 touchdowns.
While the Jaguars have been purposefully coy about Lawrence's status as the top quarterback on the depth chart, they have not been afraid to sing his praises throughout the offseason. Lawrence had several standout practices in OTAs and minicamp, leading to Schottenheimer admiring his progress last week.
“He’s learning and he’s learning quickly. He’s a terrific student of the game, he loves the mental preparation, he’s getting a feel for how we do things here, he’s just a true pleasure to coach because he loves it," Schottenheimer said.
"He sits on every word, every phrase and every sound bite that you give him in meetings. And although he has played so much football, there [are] a lot of things that he continues to learn and be like, ‘Oh okay, that’s a good way to say that, I like that.’ So, you see growth from him every day and as a coach, you get excited about that because you see he’s getting better, he’s stacking good days on top of one another.”