Given Jaguars’ quarterback Trevor Lawrence’s preseason woes, the best strategic decision team coach Urban Meyer could have made is call an audible and sit his prized rookie to start the season – – but instead Meyer is going to throw him to the wolves in week one of the NFL regular season.
The team announced the puzzling decision Wednesday.
Lawrence has looked lost through two preseason games and the Jaguars’ offense has looked discombobulated when he has been in the games.
Lawrence has not been able to put together drives, going 5/13 on third downs and he has only managed to put three points on the scoreboard, outside of that he has not been able to get Jacksonville even close to scoring position the rest of the time.
It has added up to Lawrence not looking remotely ready to be named the starter, however, Meyer has closed his eyes and hit the gas on what will be looked back on as the worst decision of his coaching tenure in Jacksonville.
As an aspiring NFL general manager (GM), and as someone who pursued the Jaguars’ GM spot this past off-season, this is not the logical or the prudent strategic decision that needed to be made at this point.
At best, it is grasping at straws to give a rookie a vote of pseudo confidence when his play has not warranted it.
I would have never drafted Lawrence to begin with, which is why I put a 90% bust rate.
However, if I inherited this situation or found myself stuck in it, there is just no way to justify starting Lawrence based on what he has shown on game film. Meyer’s body language during the New Orleans’ game Monday night confirmed what I am saying.
So how does he turn around and name Lawrence as the starter two days after that dreadful performance, and a day after first round running back Travis Etienne is lost for the season with an injury?
It is beyond me.
Just when you think it might be time to go back to the drawing board, regroup and take another swing at it next year, Meyer does the polar opposite.
Confidence is more fragile than bones in the National Football League and once a QB loses it, I do not care if he can throw a football through a tire from 80 yards away, he will never get it back. To risk Lawrence from the neck up before he is ready or shown himself to be ready is reckless.
New Orleans’ defense beat the hell out of Lawrence playing basic vanilla preseason defense, I cannot imagine what Houston will cook up.
Simple defensive game plan, pressure, pressure, pressure, mess up his hair and play tight man coverage = easy win for the Texans in week one.
The only way a move like this makes sense, is if there is pressure being applied to Meyer to go with Lawrence before he is ready, opposed to going with either of their two other more seasoned options, QB Gardner Minshew or QB C.J. Beathard. Both have looked noticeably better and more prepared to play in the regular season than Lawrence has to date.
It would be better for Lawrence’s psyche to let him catch his breathe and maybe start a few weeks down the road, if there is pressure to start him rather than risk him getting his body and ego crushed right out of the gates with a supporting run game that has shown no big play capability and only averaged 3.8 yards per carry.
There goes Lawrence’s play-action fake crutch he used to manipulate and hold defenses in college to create route leverage.
How does Meyer respond?
He starts Lawrence week one of the 2021 NFL regular season.
I have not seen anything like this decision since Mike and Kyle Shanahan sent that clunky looking steel knee brace and RGIII out onto the field to face Seattle in the playoffs and we all know how that ended.
Daniel Kelly is a former NFL scout with the New York Jets. He was hired on the regime which featured Bill Parcells, Bill Belichick, Scott Pioli, Mike Tannenbaum, and Dick Haley. He currently writes for Sports Illustrated Detroit Lions and he is a contributing evaluator for Draft Diamonds. For more information about him visit his website at whateverittakesbook.com. He can be followed on Twitter @danielkellybook and his Facebook page is WHATEVER IT TAKES NFL TALK.