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This season was always going to be a rebuilding year for the Jacksonville Jaguars. For that matter, more years than not have been rebuilding years for this franchise. But the 2021 season in particular includes a new, first time NFL head coach, a rookie quarterback, a fresh coaching staff and a litany of roster moves. 

Through a third of the season, this Jaguars team is 1-5...but technically on a one game win streak after breaking a 20-game losing streak. But after three preseason games and two opening games that featured a lackluster offense with little to no tangible progress, quarterback Trevor Lawrence and the coaching staff have spent the past four games putting together a foundation. 

From week to week, this team—specifically the offense—has found areas to improve and have played three current divisional leaders (Arizona Cardinals, Tennessee Titans and Cincinnati Bengals) by a 9.3 point average differential.   

Despite the complete offseason overhaul and two-thirds of the schedule still remaining, Head Coach Urban Meyer is done with the "building process." The taste of a win—and what his team is capable of in those circumstances—has him ready to take the next step. 

"I feel good about the second run we’re going to go on here, about just the efficiency," Meyer told media on Monday. "And now we’ve been in the system for a while, now the excuse of a new system, the excuse of a young quarterback, that’s all gone, because our young quarterback is playing pretty good.”

"Pretty good" might be putting it lightly. Lawrence has been phenomenal, showing marked improvement from game to game and a grasp of NFL defenses that are notable for a rookie passer. While his passing touchdowns have teetered down as the season wore on, so did the turnover's. Furthermore, his rushing touchdowns have risen (two on the ground the past three games). 

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Lawrence is leading the way with an offense that's ever changing. Before the season even began, the Jags lost fellow first round pick, Travis Etienne, a pass-catching back who played with Lawrence at Clemson. 

In Week 4, the club lost wide receiver DJ Chark to injury, taking a hit to a unit that was/is still with holes. But as guys like Jamal Agnew have stepped up, and running back James Robinson continues to build on a record breaking rookie season, the offense has been able to build with Lawrence at the helm. Part of that, according to Meyer, is because he as the head coach has progressed alongside his rookie passer. 

 Meyer has maintained from the get-go that he didn't see this season and team as a rebuild. He wants to win now. Obviously that didn't happen. But with a third of the season under his belt, Meyer admits he has a much better understanding of the challenges. As such, this next portion of the season is amplified because there are no more excuses for a "rookie head coach" either.

"It magnifies," said Meyer of the expectations. "Now that I witnessed and experienced it. Because I could say I knew it, I knew it from afar, now I know it because I’m in it and that’s why I hired certain NFL-experienced coaches." 

Those expectations are magnifying because of not only Lawrence, but of the others Meyer purposely brought in. Even without Etienne and Chark, the coach feels confident in those that are helping to fast pace this building process and the No. 1 overall pick in Lawrence. 

"That’s another reason why I signed a guy like Marvin Jones and some older players." 

At the beginning of the season, the first four weeks looked like the easiest stretch for this young club. Instead, they ran into—as mentioned above—teams that now lead three separate divisions. And as the market settles and we learn more about each team, the back half of this schedule suddenly looks more manageable. The San Francisco 49ers, the Seattle Seahawks, the Houston Texans, the New York Jets, even the New England Patriots, are all beatable teams. That was never assumed to be the case for the Jaguars in September. And as the trajectory for those teams trends downwards, the Jags are trending up, at least in production and product on the field. 

Will that manifest itself in more wins? That remains to be seen. But the excuses are gone for Urban Meyer and the Jacksonville Jaguars. Now it's time to really get to work.