‘Now we get to go play for real’: Jaguars ready to begin regular season against Colts

Jaguars open the season on the road at the Colts on Sunday at 1 p.m.

JACKSONVILLE, FL - AUGUST 26: Trevor Lawrence #16 of the Jacksonville Jaguars throws a pass against the Miami Dolphins during warm ups at EverBank Stadium on Saturday, August 26, 2023, in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Perry Knotts/Getty Images) (Perry Knotts, 2023 Perry Knotts Photography)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Finally, the season has arrived.

“We’re on the road, week one, division opponent, in the dome,” Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson said. “It’s going to be a great atmosphere.”

Months of off-season workouts and an undefeated preseason slate are complete.

“I was pleased. They met my expectations,” Pederson said. “The team is in a good place. They had a really good training camp. Coming out relatively healthy heading into week one.”

Now all attention is on the first opponent of the season: the Indianapolis Colts.

“Now we get to go play for real,” Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence said. “See what we got, see what type of team we are and prove it on the field.”

“We didn’t handle the road great last year,” Pederson said. “We didn’t handle this opponent on the road great last year.”

Last season, the AFC division rivals split the series with each team winning in their home stadium. The last time the Jags opened the season against the Colts was in 2020 with a 27-20 home win.

“It’s almost like the division games are worth double,” Lawrence said. “We all know how important it is to win your division and when you can start with one, it’s a big opportunity to either get ahead or fall behind a little bit in your division.”

The Jaguars are practicing for their week one opponent with some unknowns.

The Indianapolis Colts have a rookie starting quarterback, former Gators QB Anthony Richardson,and a rookie head coach, Shane Steichen. Preparing for a new team has the Jags taking a trip down memory lane.

“It’s the offensive side that might be a little different,” Pederson said. “That might look a little different obviously a young ascending quarterback, but I think you can prepare just by going back and understanding the history of their coaches and where they’ve been and who they’ve coached.”

Richardson, a first-round draft pick, is expected to make an impact in the NFL.

“These are big, physical, strong quarterbacks that can also throw the football and they’re athletic,” Pederson said. “He can break arm tackles and then he can run for 15, 20, 30 yards. We have to stay disciplined obviously defensively. We have to be a good tackling football team against guys like this.”

The Jags have an even record in season openers all-time, 14-14. But the team is 3-5 against AFC South opponents on Kickoff Weekend.

“We understand it is week one and emotions are going to run high, but I don’t put a lot of emphasis on that,” Pederson said. “I try to keep these guys just in the moment.”

There is a lot of excitement surrounding the Jags organization. Fans are hoping for another playoff run. But the team is focused on one thing — each other.

“I think it’s more dangerous to have people praising you than to not have any expectations, but with the group we have it doesn’t worry me at all,” Lawrence said. “We know how to work. We come to work every day with the same mindset.”

About the Author:

Alessandra Pontbriand joined WJXT4 as a sports anchor and reporter in May 2023. She is excited to join the extremely talented sports team and have the opportunity to tell stories across Northeast Florida and Southeast Georgia from local high schools, universities, and pro teams!