JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – As the season kickoff approaches on Sept. 11, the Jaguars continued molding the roster, including adding a new kicker. But the season’s success will hinge on quarterback Trevor Lawrence taking the next step in his career.
After throwing 12 touchdowns and 17 interceptions as a rookie, Lawrence didn’t turn the ball over during the preseason. But he threw just one touchdown pass. Still, he looked in control of the new system and said Wednesday, he’s ready to go.
“Preseason is just to get your offense in and add wrinkles, and now we get to plan for an opponent. So that’s been fun the past couple of days,” Lawrence said. “I think we look great. The guys are ready to roll. Everybody is itching to play. We’re all excited.”
Lawrence has made a big impact on many of the Jaguars’ new coaches, including first-year offensive coordinator Press Taylor.
“I did not personally know him spending time with him seeing how mature he is, how professionally is how important kind of mastering his craft is to him,” Taylor said. “Just the things like that, that you wouldn’t know from the outside not knowing the kid. I think that’s just been even more impressive than what I thought.”
Taylor also said that Lawrence has established himself as a leader on the offense, but that he’s pleased to see the way other players have taken ownership.
“The cool thing is, there’s a lot of different guys. In the offensive line room, the first name that comes to mind is Brandon Scherff, Tyler Shatley has been a leader since day one. The tight end room that that group as a whole, they all have leadership capability,” Taylor said.
“They do a good job in the receiver room, Marvin Jones, Christian, Kirk, Zay Jones, they all have leadership ability there. So it’s been cool to just kind of see everybody take command of their room to start with and then how that all works together in terms of the dynamics of our unit together.”
Typically, players show their biggest improvement between their first and second seasons. Considering the dysfunctional season Lawrence and the Jaguars endured in 2021, it’s logical to expect a substantial leap forward in 2022.
“A little bit different. More comfortable obviously in the NFL in general, understanding how everything goes,” Lawrence said. “I’ve got a little more confidence. I like where we’re heading and feel like our offense has looked really good. Just excited. That’s the main thing. Excited to get going.”
The Jaguars will begin the year with a defensive coordinator in the role for the first time. Mike Caldwell admitted that he had to work out some kinks in playcalling in the preseason opener, but felt confident and ready to go as the preseason progressed.
“I’m good,” Caldwell said. “I’m studying and we’ve done a good job going against our offense, been able to understand different schemes and going down practicing against Atlanta and preseason games. We’ll be ready to go.”
Caldwell also said that they were still working on a plan for how to utilize rookie linebacker Devin Lloyd, who made his preseason debut in the Jaguars’ final preseason game against the Atlanta Falcons.
Jacksonville made five waiver wire claims, including kicker Riley Patterson, who lost a kicking battle in Detroit in the preseason after making 14 of 16 field goals and all of his extra point attempts last year with the Lions. Other waiver wire additions include Tyree Gillespie a defensive back who was waived by the Titans, running back Jamycal Hasty, who had been with San Francisco, wide receiver Kedric Pryor, who was with Cincinnati this preseason and linebacker Ty Summers, waived by Green Bay.
The addition of Patterson came after the Jaguars coaches and scouts followed several kicking competitions during the preseason.
“I think it’s consistency. He’s done it. Had a great year last year,” said Jaguars’ special teams coordinator Heath Farwell. “When you really study the tape the ball comes off his foot very consistently every single time. It is very clean coming off his foot and he’s done it at this level. I think Riley gives us the best chance to win and he does it at a high level and I think consistency to help us win is going to be the biggest thing.”
The Jaguars also announced the addition of 11 players to the club’s practice squad: defensive tackle Israel Antwine, wide receiver Kevin Austin Jr., offensive linemen Coy Cronk, Nick Ford and Darryl Williams, cornerback Gregory Junior, linebacker Grant Morgan, safety Ayo Oyelola (International Player Pathway Program practice squad exemption), quarterback E.J. Perry, tight end Gerrit Prince and running back Mekhi Sargent.
We have made the following additions to the practice squad.— Jacksonville Jaguars (@Jaguars) August 31, 2022