JACKSONVILLE, Fl. – Trevor Lawrence is at the Super Bowl as a fan this year.
Next year, he wants to be on the field.
The Jaguars quarterback is in Glendale, Arizona taking part in the Super Bowl festivities throughout game week. On Friday, Lawrence was a guest on ESPN’s First Take, a testament to his ascending star power. It’s a far different position than Lawrence and the Jaguars found themselves in after his difficult rookie season and a year with Urban Meyer.
Lawrence said on the show that Jacksonville followed the lead of coach Doug Pederson in how it handled the ebbs and flows of a long season. The result was a blistering finish to the regular season, an AFC South title and one of the biggest playoff comebacks in NFL history.
Now, there’s momentum in Jacksonville like there hasn’t been in years. Pederson finished third in balloting for the Coach of the Year and Lawrence actually finished seventh in voting for the MVP award, won by Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
“Can’t carry anything over, good and bad. You know, it’s like, everyone’s going to start the same spot the next season. So, you got to earn it,” Lawrence said.
“The biggest thing is just, we have a good group of core guys that we want to keep together … you got to keep your guys together, that you had these experiences with, that you’ve won with. So next year when we start, we got most of our guys back and you can pick up right where you left off. All that momentum that we built, all that chemistry, that’s where we got to start because it’s a long season and we got to start a little bit better.”
The Jaguars’ run to the AFC championship game in 2017 didn’t have the same type of feel, largely because the franchise was still unsettled at quarterback. Blake Bortles received a contract extension following that unexpected run, but Bortles never seemed like the long-term answer in Jacksonville. Lawrence will enter his third year in the league as a legitimate superstar and top 10 quarterback in the league.
Lawrence said the goal is the be a more consistent team in how it starts out.
“We’ve got a lot of confidence and I think that was the goal,” he said. “And making that step from year one to year two and just do the same thing in year three and keep improving.”
The Jaguars had a miserable October, going winless that month. Jacksonville reached its bye week at 3-7 and nowhere near playoff contention. But Lawrence spoke even back then about the team still having a lot to play for. Jacksonville won six of its last seven games, including a 20-16 comeback win over the Titans to win the AFC South in Week 18. The Jaguars then stunned the Chargers, 31-30, in the AFC wild-card game, a win that capped a comeback from a 27-point deficit.
Lawrence said that can’t be expected year after year, so the goal is to play like they did down the stretch from the start.
“We had challenges and we got to see how coach responded, how our team responded,” Lawrence said. “And we just got tighter and tighter. ... When you when you lose a lot of games in a row it can go one of two ways. And we really just stuck together. It was cool to be a part of. And our culture got tested a little bit and I think that was that was good for us.”