JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – I actually thought it would be a competitive game Sunday.
Wrong. Jacksonville looked as bad as its record in a 41-17 blowout loss to the Bears. But the best news for the franchise came in the minutes after the team lost its 14th straight game.
The Jets beat the Browns and that solidified the No. 1 pick in next year’s draft for the Jaguars.
If you want to be a good team in the NFL for the next era, say 10 to 15 years, you need to secure your quarterback. You need that quarterback to sustain your success and be a contender. You have to have that guy.
On Sunday, it looks like the Jaguars got that.
They’re 1-14 and have lost 14 in a row going into next week’s finale against the Colts. Thanks to the Jets’ surprising resurgence, that means Jacksonville is positioned to draft that guy, Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence. That makes Sunday a potentially historic day for the franchise.
Two other pieces need to fall into place.
Too many times, teams don’t surround their young quarterback with what’s needed to be successful in the NFL. How many guys have we seen come into the league as potential saviors, only to fail spectacularly because they didn’t have the right infrastructure in place? Hiring the next general manager is an absolutely critical piece of the franchise rest.
We’ve seen Jaguars general managers underachieve constantly in that department.
Missed draft picks. Awful free agent signings. Re-signing the wrong players. We’ve seen that up close for too many years.
The coaching situation is just as critical, too. You’ve got to put a staff together to make sure they develop Trevor Lawrence and help him be the best quarterback he can be. He’s going to need some good coaching, some good teaching in the NFL.
Looking at Trevor Lawrence, I don’t see a glaring weakness at all. But he still has to be developed. I know there’s a thought process that as the most hyped and NFL-ready quarterback prospect since Andrew Luck, Lawrence is going to be Day 1 ready for the league.
He’s not going to be a finished product when he gets to the NFL. There is a development period and he’s going to need that.
As excited as I am about Trevor Lawrence, for me, there’s still a long, long way to go to put him in a situation where he can be everything you want in a franchise quarterback.
Step 1 in that process came Sunday.